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20Jun/110

Sysert – eco tour on horseback in Bazhovski nature park

This post is for those tourists who asked me about riding a horse in the Urals.

Nature Park Bazhovskie Mesta (Bazhov’s Places) is located near the town of Sysert 60 km south of Yekaterinburg. The park is named after Pavel Bazhov, a writer from Sysert and an author of fairy-tale stories about Russian gems and jewelers based on the Urals folklore.

The forest became a nature park in 2007 almost accidentally. The government of Sysert decided to reorganize 38 hectares of forests into a park. The real purpose of the officials was to use the park partly as legitimate hunting grounds. Luckily for bears, the area was certified as Nature Park by the Regional Government which means it is now ‘especially protected natural territory’.

Chernaya river is inhabited by beavers

There is a lot to protect there. The pine tree forest is full of animals: squirrels, beavers, minks, roebucks, wild boars, elks and famous Russian brown bears. The river Chernaya, Sysertski pond and small lakes in the park are good for swimming and fishing. One of the park’s main attractions is Talkov Kamen (Talc Stone) – an old flooded talc mine. The mine is popular with divers and a glade near the mine is an ideal place for picnics.

Talkov Kamen (talc stone)

there is still talc on the banks of the lake

There are numerous trails for hiking and riding horses. The park offers short and long riding tours (from 1 to 4 days) and provides the necessary equipment and meals. You can also rent a snowmobile in winter. Bicycle rental is to be opened this summer. 4 hour horse riding tour is 2.500 roubles. Book a tour a few days prior to your arrival. From summer 2012 the park offers short and long kayak trips for groupes of 2 to 6 people.

For more details call the office: +7 34374 74870, +79221235850

www.bm-park.ru (in Russian)

Getting there: from Yekaterinburg down Chelyabinski Trakt, turn right to Kashino and Sysert. Drive through Sysert further to the village of Verkhnyaya Sysert. To date, entrance fee 50 roubles, car park is free.

14Mar/114

Cave diving in the Urals

I’ve been living in the Urals for 31 years but the region keeps on surprising me. The recent revelation was diving in the Urals. As you might guess, Russia is not a diving country. There is Lake Baikal, of course, and the Black Sea, but do you know any other diving places? It turned out the Ural Mountains are a mecca for divers and they come here from all over the world. It is an ideal place for ice diving, free diving and cave diving – a dream for every pro diver. My new friends from DiveXpert Club based in Yekaterinburg opened a whole new world to me and I’d like to thank them once again for the information and amazing photos of the Orda Cave – an absolute gem of the Urals.  

If you are interested in diving and are looking for something unique – the Orda Cave is the place to explore. It’s near the village of Orda in the Perm Region, on the left bank of Kungur river. Orda is . It was formed about 500.000 years ago. The water is incredibly clear and it is cold (the water temperature is +4). Divers call the cave ‘a white bride’ as the walls of the passages are white due to gypsum rocks formed about 200 million years ago. There was a sea at that time. Currently the length of the explored underwater passages is 4850 meters. New small passages and grottoes are discovered in the cave every month.

Russian divers started to explore the cave in 1990ies. Those days they were not very well equipped and the exploration was a dangerous challenge. Now the Ural divers are members of a GUE (Global Underwater Explorers) team. Cave courses are provided all year long and the village of Orda has a necessary infrastructure for tourists. Andrey Dmitirev from Yekaterinburg is now one of 75 Trimix instructors in the world and the only one in the Urals has been exploring the Orda Cave for many years. Last year the underwater photographer Victor Lyagushkin together with Andrey and other world leading cave divers launched a project: Orda Cave, Awareness. It is a book about the cave with more than 100 unique underwater photographs.

Some of the photos you can see here courtesy of DiveXpert Club, Andrey Dmitriev, Victor Lyagushkin and Dmitri Osipov.