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Top-7 Russian Sights Very Difficult-to-visit
August 4, 2010 15:45

Russia has plenty of sights and tourist attractions for any taste and budget, but the human nature is always eager of difficulties and many of us believe instinctively that things hard-to-get only are worth looking at. There are some really exciting places in Russia, which are very hard-to-get, on different reasons, from the lack of transportation to the location on the territory controlled by the Federal Service for Execution of Punishment, i.e. on the territory of working camp, or even because they are considered by local public as sacred ones, so they can be aggressive towards unbidden guests. Among these places are deserted capital of Eskimos on Chukotka, unstudied buildings of unknown pre-historical civilization on the bank of Baikal Lake, considered as place of power by shamans, Sindorskoye Lake which is a part of ancient sea, Averkina cave, where somebody very strange lives, Tsoy-Pede Chechen necropolis, a wooden fortress on the Russian North, supposedly yet another centre of the universe and the youngest waterfall in the world. Few people saw these places, very exciting, exotic and beautiful. They are really hard-to-get, but nothing is impossible if you want it. If you are bpred with other tourists, if you have seen everything availiable for public try to reach them:

1. Naukan - Eskimos capital

Naukan is a deserted big Eskimos settlement situated on the Cape Dezhnev (Chukotka), left by all its residents during farm amalgamation company in 1958. Three thousands years different paleo-Asiatic cultures alternated on this place, leaving their marks. The Eskimo were the last ones. Deep-frozen soils do not hide anything, and now you can see whales' ribs sticking out from the seashore, different objects unclear age and use made of bone, ruins of barracks built in 1930-s. The former residents of it partly have revived and saved their customs, others disappeared in the first generation on the new places. Every summer the whales still appear in the waters near Naukan. The folklore specialists can confirm that the whales look for their Naukan love-mates, left this place. Let it drop to the horror films scripts and turn to the ways, leading here.

Getting around:

First of all, you should get to Anadyr (capital of Chukotka) by plane. Then take a plane of local airlines Chukotavia from Anadyr to Lavrentiya settlement. Farther, you get to Uelen settlement (this flight depends on weather condition very much). You also can tale a whaleboat on this section. It goes from June to August in Bering Strait. 

2. Rytiy Cape - shaman place of power on Baikal Lake

Rytiy cape is situated on the north-western bank of Baikal Lake and the tourists may not debark there because this territory belongs to nature reserve. There is one more prohibition, an informal one, and it is more serious: the local public, the Buryats, believe that aliens may not go there. There is however much to see and much to keep on the Cape: it is still unknown, who built a stone wall 333 metres long, who constructed pyramids of stones and oriented them on cardinal points. Visiting this place can be dangerous: the local inhabitants killed biologist Alexei Turuta because he had refused to tie a band on the sacred tree. These people are not only righteous, but pragmatic as well: an engine of the World War II stands in the village of Onguryon, converted into a power station.

If you are ready to be wise and respect the spirits, you can return alive. First, get to Irkutsk. There are many regular flights and railway services. From Irkutsk you take a bus to Zama tourist camp, then walk to the Onguryon settlement, or you can take "Kometa" boat, which makes trips Irkutsk - Nizhneangarsk and go ashore on the Cape Elochin, from there walk to the destination point.

3. Sindorskoye Lake - part of prehistorical sea on the territory of camp

Sindorskoye Lake, remnant of a prehistorical sea and place of an outstanding beauty is situated in the Komi Republic , Knyazhpogostsky District. Many early man sites were detected on its wooded shores in the early 20th century, but it has not become a tourist stronghold, because a penal institution M-222 appeared there rather soon. The camp is known for three reasons: persons involved in the so-called Doctor's plot and condemned were holded here as prisoners (the doctors were accused as conspiratorial assassins of Soviet leaders). The second one is not so gloom: Russian writer Sergey Dovlatov served here in convoy troops as a guardian. This experience is conveyed in his novel The Zone. This Zone has recently stopped functioning. The third reason deals more with ethnography: according to the Komi legends, their culture hero Yirkapa hunter died here, having drowned in Sindor. He lost his magic, because killed the witch's daughter who turned into a deer (or magpie), when hunting.

Getting around: Take Moscow - Vorkuta train from Yaroslavksy Railway Terminal in Moscow and get off at Sindor station. To move farther, you should hitch a railway handcar on the Sindor narrow-gauge railroad moving in the same direction and go to the hostel of M-222 institution. This hostel consists of a few boxes on the territory of former prison camp. The houses are tailored to fishers' overnight stops and stay on the bank of Ug'yum River. From here it is two-three kilometres to the lake. Everything looks rather easy, but warning: all the personnel of the narrow-gauge railroad, including drivers, are prisoners. The railroad, built for needs of the camps is still under the jurisdiction of Federal Service for Execution of Punishment. Be careful.

4. Averkina Yama Cave supposedly with treasures

Averkina Yama Cave is unstudied, but somebody lives there. It is situated in Chelyabinsk Region, Satkinsky District. The entrance to the cave is an almost vertical 20-metres hole in the wooded rock above the right bank of Ai River. It is almost inobservable from outside. There are two rock shelters and underground lake. The waters from it is potable. The temperature in the cave is always above zero. Whole length of underpasses observed reaches 100 metres. All in all, the cave is livable. Just in 1920-s somebody really lived there, and left material evidence of this. The local public used to call the man from cave Averkiy. There were a few opinions, who was that Averkiy. The versions were: escaped convict, Tatar man with disfigured face, or a Man of God, or Old-Believer. But all they agreed in one quality of a cave-dweller, ascribing him superhuman lust and numerous contacts with residents of nunnery not far from there. Moreover, the local public believed that in this cave Yemelyan Pugachev has hidden his gold. Yemelyan Pugachev was a leader of Jacquerie in the 18th century.

An expedition was undertaken by a local feminist organization in 1924, to root all these superstitions out. And they found something. including a wooden door, wooden machine of unknown use, bed and many bones, human as well. Other expeditions found in Averkina Yama wooden tubes, rests of pipeline, looked very old. Its use is also still unknown. The treasures are not still detected. The cave is waiting for explorers, who is not afraid of Averkiy, whoever he was.

Getting around: First of all, you should get to Chelyabinsk (from Moscow by train or by plane), then take the bus 517 to Satka settlement. From Satka take a bus without number to Ailino village, and walk from there. Be aware of Averkiy.

5. Tsoy-Pede - Chechen necropolis

 Medieval Chechen necropolis of Tsoy-Pede is situated in Itum-Kalinsky District of Chechen Republic You need a permission of Federal Security Service of Russia. This unassailable fortress of the Dead is situated in the frontier zone, next to Georgia, and actually you need a special permission on this reason.

Tsoy-Pede is situated on a rocky foreland, formed with confluence of two rivers. Necropolis is surrounded with iced waters from three sides and the only way to is is a narrow neck of land, connecting it with a rocky range. Complex of necropolis includes medieval buildings tied with local funeral tradition with pagan and Christian elements. There are 2 pillar-looking pagan altars, walls, covered with swastikas, solar spirals and crosses. There are rests of a human figure painted on a watchtower. Supposedly it was St. George, and that looks believable, taking into account close vicinity of Orthodox Georgia. The oldest ones of 42 sepulchres date 14th century.

This necropolis could be destined for warriors, and weapons found in the sepulchres speak well for that. Another version tells that necropilis was organized during epidemy, when there was nobody to bury the corpses: the ill people should come here themselves to die. This version doesn't look persuasively, because it is not very easy to climb there.

Getting around: You should reach the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, and from there take a shuttle to Itum - Kali, farther on foot or hitching. Of course, you need a FSS permission, because of close vicinity of Georgian frontier.

6. Porzhensky pogost - wooden fortress on the place of pagan temple, supposedly the centre of universe

The wooden fortress of 18th century is kept by woods from distruction away from prying eyes. It is situated in the Kargopol district of Arkhangelsk Region . The roads to the nearest villages are heavy going and not all the people living there knows them. An empty wooden church surrounded with wooden walls with watchtowers stays alone among the forests, lakes and grey rocks. The complex was constructed on the place of pagan temple, which also could have ancestors, very ancient ones. The point is that two neighboring churches of the same time and the central one lie on an absolutely straight line, oriented south-north.

Mystically-minded people say that Aleph from Borges' short novel is situated in one of watchtowers of Porzhensky pogost. It is something like a keyhole of Universe, where all its points meet.

Getting around: Take a train Moscow - Arkhangelsk (goes from Yaroslavsky Railway terminal) and go to Nyandoma station. From there take a bus to Kargopol. From Kargopol you should go by bus to Maselga village. The last 15 kilometres you will have to walk.

7. Uchar waterfall - the youngest waterfall in the world

 This is a 160 metres waterfall in Altay Republic (Ulagan District), and it was detected in 1970-s only. According to the scientists, the waterfall is 200 years old. Huge pieces of black rocks, splited into pieces by a strong earthquake are bigger than tall pine-trees, growing there. The people look small like insects in this landscape. The path to Uchar is rather difficult and full of mountain streams, which are not recommended for crossing without safety wires. The representatives of local fauna will become plague of you life there as well. Feather-tailed three-toed jerboas, or emuranki, beasts anywhere from ground squirrel to jerboa, they aren't afraid of people, and usually steal and eat tourists' small things.

Getting around: You should reach the city of Biysk (by car or by train ) and from there, by car follow to Artybash settlement. Take into account, that the way disappears in a few kilometres from the point of destination. Further take a boat and cross Teletskoye Lake . From there - on foot. There is another way from Gornoaltaysk: you go to Yaylyu settlement of the territory of Altay Nature Reserve. From there you take a guide (it is obligatory) and walk to the place.


Translated by: Yulia Buzykina

Tags: Russian tourist destinations Baikal    

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