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The Zyuratkul Lake
February 3, 2015 23:18


(Source: http://zuratkul.ru/about-park/nature/lake)

The Zyuratkul Lake on the territory of the eponymous national park has been a natural monument of federal importance since 1969. This is the highest mountain lake, not only of the Urals, but of the entire European part of Russia.

The lake and its surroundings are considered the cleanest place in Chelyabinsk oblast notorious for its environmental problems (Karabash, Bakal, Techa River) ... They say you can “drink water” that from Zyuratkul - but the lake water is seemingly unclear. However, this is not dirt, but clay silt - which, by the way, has an exceptionally refined, homogeneous composition and even has healing properties.

But many tourists are attracted not to healing properties of the silt, but to the exceptional beauty of the lake surrounded by Zyuratkul, Nurgush and Moskal ridges. Brochures on the lake often called it “Ural Ritsa” comparing it with the famous Ritsa Lake in Abkhazia. 29 rivers and streams fall into Zyuratkul, and the large Satka River which is a hydrological monument flows out of it.

Fishers choose a trip to the Zyuratkul Lake because of burbot, perch, pike, rudd (roach), ide, bream, ripus and royal whitefish living in the lake. The fans of the “Zyuratkul” National Park were frightened by the story about the closing of the most popular facility of the lake, Kitova Pier, in the summer of 2012.

The whole situation is described in more detail on the web-page of the National Park. The developments can be seen in the News section. There are no equipped places for swimming at the lake. But the tourists are not stopped by it, especially in the summer heat. Although you should really be cautious when swimming here.

The lake is frozen for more than six months a year, and the water does not have enough time to warm up even in summer. It is cold enough even in hot weather, which constricts muscles. The bottom is rocky, there are some underwater cliffs.

The name “Zyuratkul” is often translated as “heart-lake”, but this is only partially true. Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century the lake was called differently: Yurak-kul and neighboring ridge - Yurak-tau, “heart-mountain”. Then the name gradually transformed into “Zyurak-kul”, and then into Zyuratkul. Zyuratkul has been inhabited since ancient times.

The study of the Zyuratkul lake by the expedition of Matyushin G.G. (1969) opened 8 man sites dating back to XIII-XII centuries BC and an Iron Age site of VII-III centuries BC.  Everyday objects were found on all sites, the remains of ancient settlements were discovered on two sites. All kinds of silicon and jade crafts, fragments of vessels with ornamental paintings were found in those settlements. A total of 12 archaeological monuments were discovered here at the end of the 1960s.

All of them belonged to the Stone Age - the Mesolithic and Neolithic epochs (VIII - V centuries BC). The oldest man site of the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic) was found on the “Dolgiy El’nik” cape. Its age is from 15,000 to 6000 BC. Apparently, this was the first attempt of the Stone Age people to get into the mountains and up to the open the territory of the inaccessible high mountains regions.

The Chelyabinsk writer and ethnographer Moiseev A.P. examined the history of Zyuratkul by the footsteps of toponymy. This “language of the Earth” has kept the memory of the ancient shrines, especially in the names of the mountains. If the mountain are named “witch’s”or “damned” - earlier they were sacred. Thus the pagan shrines were condemned by both Christians and Muslims.

There are Chertovy Vorota (Devil’s Gate) at Yurma, Chertov Palets (Devil’s Finger) at the Ai River. The witch’s Moskal Mountain in the Zyuratkul mountain centre is called Myaskyayly-tau by the Bashkirs. “Myaskyay” means “witch”. There was a pagan temple here in XIX century. No wonder that the crowds of occultists, shamans, followers of Zoroastrianism come to on Zyuratkul...

They come here to “recharge their batteries” with powerful energy of these places. Zyuratkul and Nurgush are considered “places of power”, the sacral centre of the Ural Mountains. The Zyuratkul Lake is also famous for abnormal activity - tourists often talk about the UFOs hovering over the water. Enthusiasts even send “expeditions” to Burgush taiga urmans and uremas in search of Yeti.

History

The name “Zyuratkul” is often translated as “heart-lake”, but this is only partially true. Prior to the beginning of the twentieth century the lake was called differently: Yurak-kul and neighboring ridge - Yurak-tau, “heart-mountain”. Then the name gradually transformed into “Zyurak-kul”, and then into Zyuratkul. Zyuratkul has been inhabited since ancient times.

The study of the Zyuratkul lake by the expedition of Matyushin G.G. (1969) opened 8 man sites dating back to XIII-XII centuries BC and an Iron Age site of VII-III centuries BC.  Everyday objects were found on all sites, the remains of ancient settlements were discovered on two sites. All kinds of silicon and jade crafts, fragments of vessels with ornamental paintings were found in those settlements. A total of 12 archaeological monuments were discovered here at the end of the 1960s.

All of them belonged to the Stone Age - the Mesolithic and Neolithic epochs (VIII - V centuries BC). The oldest man site of the Middle Stone Age (Mesolithic) was found on the “Dolgiy El’nik” cape. Its age is from 15,000 to 6000 BC. Apparently, this was the first attempt of the Stone Age people to get into the mountains and up to the open the territory of the inaccessible high mountains regions.

The Chelyabinsk writer and ethnographer Moiseev A.P. examined the history of Zyuratkul by the footsteps of toponymy. This “language of the Earth” has kept the memory of the ancient shrines, especially in the names of the mountains. If the mountain are named “witch’s”or “damned” - earlier they were sacred. Thus the pagan shrines were condemned by both Christians and Muslims.

There are Chertovy Vorota (Devil’s Gate) at Yurma, Chertov Palets (Devil’s Finger) at the Ai River. The witch’s Moskal Mountain in the Zyuratkul mountain centre is called Myaskyayly-tau by the Bashkirs. “Myaskyay” means “witch”. There was a pagan temple here in XIX century. No wonder that the crowds of occultists, shamans, followers of Zoroastrianism come to on Zyuratkul...

They come here to “recharge their batteries” with powerful energy of these places. Zyuratkul and Nurgush are considered “places of power”, the sacral centre of the Ural Mountains. The Zyuratkul Lake is also famous for abnormal activity - tourists often talk about the UFOs hovering over the water. Enthusiasts even send “expeditions” to Burgush taiga urmans and uremas in search of Yeti.

The Zyuratkul Ridge

The Zyuratkul ridge on the territory of the “Zyuratkul” National Park is considered very convenient for familiarizing children with the joy of tourism. Climbing the ridge begins with the ecological trails. It is impossible to fail to find it: it is denoted with a bright sign at the entrance to the tourist village of Zyuratkul.

There are only 5 km from the beginning of the trail to the peak of the ridge, and three of them pass through this wooden eco-trail. Three pavilions where you can rest stand along the way. It is uncomfortable to stop on the trail itself - it is too narrow, and the tourists go in a continuous flow. The ridge height is 1175 m, the trip from bottom to top and back takes about five hours. The top of the ridge is crowned with a kurumnik – a kurum, a “stone river” or a “stone field”.

There are a lot of “living” moving stones here, a piercing wind always blows on the top, its gusts that can knock even an adult down. The mountains, even low ones, do not stand careless attitude. Quartzite rock pillars “Stolby” (“Pillars”) stick out on the top of the Zyuratkul ridge to the south of Golaya bald peak. The columnar rock formations up to 30 meters high were once venerated as sacred, but those fabulous days have long gone.

However, despite this, the “pillars” became no less impressive. The best time for climbing is summer. But there are those who wish to climb Zyuratkul in winter. The trails get swept in snowfalls; there is a risk of getting lost. The ridge is steep in some places, so in case of a winter ascent you will need spiked boots or reliable sticks. The telephone receives network only on the top. The users of “Megaphone” are the luckiest. Other communications provides work intermittently.

The name of the ridge is connected with a linguistic curiosity. A hundred years ago it was called “Yurak-tau” (“tau” means “mountain” in Bashkir). Over the time the name was transformed into Zyuratkul, although “kul” means “lake” as translated from Bashkir, and “zyurat” cannot be translated at all, there is no such word. The Zyuratkul ridge (former Yurak-tau) is situated on the territory of the eponymous national park in Satka district of Chelyabinsk oblast. And the name “Yurak-tau” belongs to one of shikhans in the neighboring Bashkiria near Sterlitamak.
 
 




Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Zyuratkul Lake Ecotourism Russian National Parks   

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