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Bashkiria: Sterlitamak Sheehans
January 15, 2015 16:54


(Source: http://strana.ru/places/196383)

Not far from the town of Sterlitamak, in the valley of the Belaya River, one can see  famous lone mountains, Sterlitamak sheehans. The highest mountain is Tratau (Horse Mountain), the longest one - Kushtau (Bird Mountain), a smaller one - Yuraktau (Heart Mountain)... and the former biggest of the four Shakhtau (King Mountain).

These four mountains are unique (on a worldwide scale) geological monuments of nature. Former giant coral reefs emerged about 300 million years ago, when the whole territory of Urals was the bottom of the ocean.

Today this place is among few places in the world with the preserved surface traces of ancient marine fauna of the Lower Permian period (fossilized corals, bryozoans, sponges, algae). For geologists it is a real open-air museum where you can study geological past of the Earth’s crust and deep layers’ structure right on the Earth’s surface.

For biologists it is a unique reserve of rare plants. And for ordinary people of Bashkiria it is a natural wonder: it’s no coincidence that people put the mountains forward to participate in the project “Seven Wonders of Russia”. The height of Tratau (other names - Toratau, Tra-Tau, obsolete - Tura-Tau) is about 275 meters above the Belaya River and 402 meters above sea level. There is a lake – Tugar-Salgan - at the foot of the mountain, the locals performed pagan rites on its shores in the old days.

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During the Stalin era these places had another use: one of the areas of the Gulag (Soviet labour camps and prisons) for women repeat offenders was situated at the foot of Tratau. Only the walls of the barracks are preserved until now, paragliders enjoy flying above them today. Kushtau sheehan got its name, “Bird Mountain”, for the similarity with the silhouette of a soaring bird.

Kushtau has a second name, Long Mountain - for the long line of its slopes. The absolute height of Kushtau above the sea level is 357 m, the height from its foot makes up 251 m. A resthouse “Sheehany” is located at its foot, and the trails of the ski complex “Kush-Tau” are located on the eastern slope. The Yuraktau Mountain is the most distant one. Its name is translated as “Heart Mountain”: the shape of this sheehan really resembles a heart. The length of Yuraktau is 1 km, its width - 850 m, its height above the Belaya River - 220 m, its height above its foot - 200 m, its absolute height above the sea level - 338 m.

The lake named Moksha is located at the foot of the sheehan, and there are springs on its slopes. The fourth sheehan, Shakhtau or King Mountain, once stood 210 m high above the Belaya River.

Today we have a giant pit instead of King Mountain. And this can be blamed on us, people: limestone deposits were found here in the 1940s, and after more than 60 years of industrial development of the mountain only a stone quarry remains.

Read more about Bashkiria...

 

 




Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Sterlitamak Sheehans Bashkiria Republic of Bashkortostan   

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