AskUral.com Hello! My name is Luba. I can show you my Yekaterinburg and Middle Urals in Russia!

10Aug/120

Tours in Yekaterinburg and around

To make it easy for you to decide on what tours you would like to have in the Urals, I've made these pictures with short descriptions in English and in Russian (just click on each picture to read the description)

These are 8 most popular trips in Yekaterinburg and around. Some are short and some take a whole day. So when you travel by Trans-Siberian, make sure to see one of these sights of middle Urals!

Book the tours here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/

09

Plus a special winter tour:

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Book the tours here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/

29Mar/120

Dyatlov Pass. Hollywood interested in the Urals’ mystery

Every Yekaterinburg citizen knows about a mysterious Dyatlov Pass incident and everyone has his or her own version of what could happen to 9 students in Northern Urals in February 1959. Now it looks like Hollywood got its version as well. Local Mass Media wrote that  Renny Harlin, director of films like “Die Hard 2”,“Cliffhanger” and “5 Days of War” about the Russian-Georgian war in 2008 is going to shoot a thrilling movie on Dyatlov Pass. So far he has only revealed that the plot is going to be set in the contemporary world: a young group of American students travel to the Ural Mountains in order to solve the mystery of the Dyatlov Pass incident and get into trouble there.

Meanwhile, Donnie Eichar, a writer and director from L.A. arrived in Yekaterinburg in February 2012 to gather the facts and documents in order to write a book based on facts and possibly to find the truth. Ironically, the Dyatlov Foundation led by Yuri Kuntsevich hopes that an American can do more than the Russians. The foundation has been trying  to convince Russian officials to reopen the investigation of the case for years but to no avail. Donnie became the first American who trekked in extreme conditions (minus 30c degree) to top of mountain where hikers tent and bodies were discovered. I was lucky to assist him in interviewing the relatives and witnesses which was an incredible experience. But I must say that having heard all the terrifying details, I could barely sleep the following nights.

Oder the book Dead Mountain by Donnie Eichar http://deadmountainbook.com/

Four members of Dyatlov's team

Dyatlov Pass in Spring

In the mean time the facts that we know are as follows: It is February 1959 and nine experienced hikers, mostly students, break off on an expedition to the Ural Mountains on skis. Their goal: The Mountain “Otorten”, which in the local Mansi language means “Do not go there!” In fact, they will never arrive there. The “Dyatlov Pass incident“, named after the leader of the expedition Igor Dyatlov, is one of the biggest unsolved mysteries of the Soviet Union.

Two weeks after their disappearance, local search teams find five of the corpses close to the mountain Kholat Syakhl, the “Mountain of the Dead”, barefoot and dressed only in their underwear.

The empty tent found by investigators

Kholat Syakhl, the “Mountain of the Dead”

Investigations reveal that the hikers must have fled their tent for an unknown reason, tearing it open, leaving in a heavy snowstorm and temperatures of -25 decreasing to -30. The officials explain that they died of hypothermia. The real mystery only begins after the thaw when the remaining four corpses are found. All of them are discovered in utterly strange conditions. Two of the corpses have fractures on the skull, a woman is lacking her tongue and the clothes of two corpses contain a high level of radiation. Further, the corpses show signs of aging like grey hair and a deep orange-colored tan.

A plaque on the rock to commemorate the students

The suspicion that the local Mansi, Finno-Ugric people, had killed the hikers for entering their holy lands and mountain, which play a big role in many of their traditional legends, was refuted. No hand-to-hand struggle could be proved. The fractures of the skulls indeed seemed to be caused by a force much stronger than a human being, as if the bodies had exploded from the inside without any harm to the outer organs. Another group of hikers, camping 50 km away from the Mountain of the Dead, later testified that they noticed strange orange spheres at the sky that night. Northern lights, UFOs or the Soviet military? The conspiracy theories vary. Soviet investigators, unable to solve the mysterious circumstances of the deaths, claimed the hikers were killed by an “unknown compelling force”.

For this post I used the photos provided by Nashural.com and the text from the English newspaper Your Yekaterinburg.

28Feb/120

How to meet a shaman in the Ural forest

Nature park Bazhovskie Mesta is one of the largest in Middle Urals. It is also the nearest to Yekaterinburg (60km) that makes it attractive for tourists. At the end of February the managers of the park invited Yekaterinburg guides including me to check out their new route: a hiking tour with a local shaman down to the woods and to the believes of the ancient Ural tribes.

As we got to the park in an authentic Russian UAZ jeep, we were greeted by a shaman by the fireplace. We expected to share a peace pipe but he offered us herbal tea which was a good idea, considering it’s still winter here. Having put on something like Mansi overcoats we followed the shaman to learn what our ancestors believed in.

We weren't alone in the forest, the prints belong to a marten

The tour lasts about three hours. It can be longer if you wish to go swimming in the lake in summer time. We learnt about bad and good spirits that inhabit forests, thanked the god of the winds for guiding us and found out that Mansi newly-weds had a honeymoon too..in a very transparent shelter.

a 'honeymoon' hut

The tradition of tying colorful ribbons on a tree can also be found in Siberia and Nepal

The tour with a shaman is 6000rubles (200$) for a group of 6-10 people. You can also have it at night! In this case you walk with flaming torches which makes a whole experience very exciting.

At the end I could try on the shaman's outfit

Going back to civilization in UAZ

I’ll definitely go there in summer to try out a night tour. If you are interested too, just let me know 🙂

For more summer activities in the park click here:  http://askural.com/2011/06/sysert-eco-tour-on-horseback/

4Oct/110

What to do in the Urals in October?

October is beautiful here but it’s raining a lot and temperatures seldom rise above +10. Usually I watch October from my window. Last weekend I left my cozy flat for a rainy weekend in the mountains with Joao Lamos, a Brazilian expat in China who arrived for the weekend to see some nature. Thanks to him I found out that it’s walking in the rain can be fun besides this golden season in Ural forests lasts for only a few weeks.

Here’s the best weekend out in October:
Saturday: up to the north to Belaya Mountain with two stops in Nevyansk and Visim

Belaya Mountain

It can be windy on top of the mountain (705m) but it's worth it!

Book the tour to Belaya Mt and the Deer Farm here: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/northern-urals

Sunday: to the west for hiking in Olenii Ruchiy (Deer Streams) Nature Park

Nature Park Olenyi Ruchyi

our driver Julia

It was quite a surprise to meet many people in the park that day. Some of them came for fishing in the rain!

Leaving the park stop at the German Biergarten for hot sausages and a glass of beer

Book the tour to the Nature Park: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/deer-streams

October has just started, so don't miss the chance to see some autumn beauties of the Urals before the long winter!

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.

17May/113

Eco-Tour to Nature Park Olenyi Ruchyi (Deer Streams)

As summer is coming soon to the Urals, eco-tours and mountain trekking are in great demand. If you stay in Yekaterinburg for a few days, do find some time to go to Nature Park Olenyi Ruchyi (Deer Streams).  The park is very popular with local and foreign tourists due to its location – 130 km. from Yekaterinburg which is very close in terms of Russian distances.

The park is only 30 km long and 6 km wide, but the landscape is very diverse. You will see the beauty of the Ural Mountains, so very much desired by tourists because there are no mountains within the city. The landscape of Olenyi Ruchyi is mainly Ural forest and taiga along the Serga River.

Book the tour to the Nature Park: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/deer-streams

 

There are no deer nowadays, but plenty of beavers, elks, roebucks, hogs, weasels and martens; the latter like to destroy the hives of wild bees.

There are 48 ancient caves in the park. Finno-Ugric hunters lived in the caves in 4.000b.c. Their traces can be found on the rocks – those are inscriptions and drawings of red deer, hence the name of the Park Olenyi Ruchyi

Take a closer look and you will see a drawing of a deer in the middle

Cave Druzhba (Friendship) is 500 meters long and it’s full of water in spring time. In summer, however, you can find  prints of sea shells there which prove that the sea used to divide European and Asian continents 400 million years ago.

Entrance to Cave Druzhba

make sure you have a torch or at least a cell to walk in complete darkness

Bolshoy Proval (great gap) is a vertical cave. It’s a 33m deep well with temperature +5C., so make sure to take a warm sweater before getting down even on a hot day.

Bolshoy Proval is 33 m. deep and chilly. Requires good footwear

One of the symbols of the nature park is the Angel of Hope.  Similar angels can be found in Canada, Australia, Peru, Hawaii and many other countries.

The project was created by Swedish artist Lena Edval in 2004. Her angels are hugging the planet protecting it from catastrophes and terrorism.

Your wish will come true if you touch the angel's wings, but not a materialistic wish!

There are two trails in the park. The short trail is 6 km (it takes about 4 hours) and the great trail is 15 km (7 hours). In both cases take snacks and drinks with you. There are a few spots where you can make a fire and pitch a tent, should you decide to stay overnight. Alternatively there are cottages to rent at the park entrance.

 

Tel. +79041725565  www.olen.ur.ru

Getting there from Yekaterinburg: by car getting there can be complicated without a navigator. Drive 120 km down Moskovsky Trakt highway. Pass the police checkpoint near Druzhinino and petrol station, then take a right turn towards Nizhniye Sergi. Follow the sign to Mikhailovsk. When you pass Polovinka village drive 2.4 km  to the crossroad then turn to the left and drive 2 km to the car parking.

by bus from bus station Yuzhny Avtovokzal (8 Marta St. 145) take a bus to Mikhailovsk or Arty. Get off before Bazhukovo (tell the driver beforehand where you are going as there is no bus stop) then walk 2 km.

Book the tour to the Nature Park: http://yekaterinburg4u.ru/en/tours/deer-streams