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Arkaim: History and Travel Specifics
February 5, 2015 19:01



Of course, at the time of the ancient settlement Arkaim had a different name, if any. The modern name was “copied” from the mountain standing 4 km to the south from the settlement. In 1987 the expedition of the Chelyabinsk State University came to Bredinskiy district in order to promptly extract the artifacts of at some historical value from under the ground – it was planned to flood the valley.

Then the scientists discovered Arkaim, a monument of the Sintashta culture preserved in a very good state. Sintashta archaeological culture received its name in honor of the Sintashta settlement. The scientists could not investigate it because of almost nothing of it was preserved. However, the researchers managed to found out that the settlement had a circular structure, was well fortified, and the people themselves knew a lot of crafts and were well organized.

This was a breakthrough in archeology, because before the opening of the monuments of Sintashta culture it was believed that the people in Southern Urals lived in dugouts three or four thousand years ago, could do nothing, and then the scientists found an entire city. Arkaim is perfectly preserved, but the archaeologists only had one summer to excavate. The expedition leader Gennady Zdanovich decided to bring the problem to the public.

Journalists wrote article after article. Zdanovich himself delivered open appeals and wrote letters. Whether the PR campaign turned out to be successful or the money for the reservoir was spent on other things, but the monument was left alone. And then the adherents of various teachings from around the world began to come here. During the excavations the scientists found that Arkaim was inhabited for only a hundred years. Then the people burned the city and left towards  India. The reason is simple: the residents of Arkaim led a semi-nomadic way of life - when all the trees in a nearby forest were cut down and the grass was trampled down, people went to the East in search of a better life. Thanks to the trails of ashes the archaeologists managed to discover the monument.

Once upon a time two school students from the archaeological club joined the expedition for excavations in Bolshekaraganskaya valley in Bredinskiy district of Chelyabinsk oblast. The scientists were excavating Neolithic settlement there. Boys wanted to go for a walk, and they left to roam the endless steppes. When they returned they were skewed by the leaders of the expedition. The boys asserted the archaeologists that they have found an ancient city surrounded by a huge rampart. Thus Arkaim was discovered in 1987.

There are not so many ancient settlements in Russia of the same age as the Egyptian pyramids. The fortified settlement in the southern Urals is this ancient. The place has been visited by about half a million visitors since the discovery of Arkaim. In recent years the number of tourists coming here annually amounts to 36 thousand people. During the years of excavations the archaeologists found neither gold nor silver on that site. But the tourists are attracted to Arkaim not by the ancient treasures but by the numerous promises of mystical aura and special energy of the space. Yogis, fans of Roerich and Blavatskaya, Osho fans, followers of psychological teachings and astrology are ready to go a long way to “know the truth”.


The main holiday of Arkaim is the summer solstice celebrated on June 21. The peak of visits falls on this date, so it is better to book places in tents and hotels in advance. A semi-dry law is in force in Arkaim: alcohol is not sold in any local retail outlets. Many camps and bases prohibit to drink beer and smoke cigarettes on its territories. At the same time this place is sometimes called “Narcaim”. This is due to the lack of policemen, as well as the interest of the citizens seeking to expand awareness with the help of stimulants. 

The summer in Arkaim is very hot – thanks to the sharply continental climate and to the lack of shade. You can swim in the Bolshaya Karaganka River. Many citizens smear themselves with mud from the banks, but it’s of no use. The mud has no special healing properties. At least, the residents of the nearby Aleksandrovkiy village claim that they have exactly the same mud but in larger amount. The nearest bathing house is located in the same village. Pilgrims can use several showers there. Water snakes and poisonous snakes live here. Killing them is strictly prohibited, as well as picking water-lilies and cutting down trees. Firewood can be purchased from the residents of Aleksandrovskiy (a bundle cost 150 roubles in 2011). The season begins on May 1 and ends on September 30.

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

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