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Bashkiria: Arsky Stone
January 12, 2015 18:08


Arsky Kamen (“Arsky Stone”) is the name of the village in Beloretsk District of Bashkiria, the tourist centre next to it and the natural monument near the Belaya River.

A white-gray sheer limestone cliff covered with green plants has long attracted curious travelers: they say the “peasant king” Emelyan Pugachev hid weapons and treasures looted from the landlords in its cave.

However, they say this almost about every cave in Pugachev places. Treasure hunters were attracted by the “golden glow” of Pugachev’s alleged treasure (of course, not a single coin has not been found), until they sorted the things out with the cave in a radical way in 1930: the stones hanging over the entrance to the cave were blown up.

According to the official version, it was done in order to prevent the ceiling from falling to the heads of visitors. Now the entrance to the cave is represented by painted fragments, so treasure hunters cannot do without expert devices and financial investments.

The name of the rock, if we believe a legend, is also associated with a peasant war. Allegedly there was some Arsky – a cruel manager or a severe landowner, or a tsarist general who battled with Emelyan Pugachev in these places. Whoever he was (official historical documents don’t mention any man with such name), as a result, Arsky dropped off a cliff to the Belaya River. Either the river was much more full-flowing in those days or the general landlord flew in a forty-meters graceful arc to the side, nowadays Belaya is flowing pretty far from the cliffs, so it’s hard to imagine how its waters closed over the head of the ill-fated Arsky.

The river here is very shallow, these are its upper reaches, it has yet to get into full swing. Horse riders easily ford through it, even without wetting the stirrups. A slightly more realistic version is associated with the nearby village of Arovo (or Arskaya) founded in 1767 by the immigrants from Penza Province. Beloretsk plant which required manpower already operated in these places. Seven years later Pugachev seized the plant and ordered to make guns for him. The manager refused, and the rebels threw him off a cliff again. Hence came the legend that Pugachev hid weapons in a cave. The nearby village Arsky Kamen is also quite modest - 127 residents.

Until 2007 it had a more complicated name: the Village of the Resthouse “Arsky Kamen”, for a tourist centre of the same name popular during the Soviet era was situated there. Now it is still loved by tourists and in demand in all seasons: horse riding, hiking, rafting, an educational ski trail in the winter, just having rest, tours of the surroundings, an entertainment centre with a disco and concerts. Rental of all kinds of equipment for outdoor activities is provided.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Arsky Kamen Arsky Stone Emelyan Pugachev Bashkiria  

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