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 Post subject: The Urals
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 08 Aug 2011 08:50 
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The Urals

Perm

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The city Perm appeared thanks to the great 17th century statesman Vasily Tatishchev. Peter I sent him to the Urals in 1720 to start producing copper and silver. Tatishchev built a copper smelting plant near the village of Yegoshikha. Soon a settlement grew up around the works, which later turned into a city. A statue of Tatishchev stands in Perm's Razgulyai park.

The first discovery awaits tourists right at the railway station: The stuffed mammoth, for decades a symbol of the Perm region, is back here after three years of restoration. Paleontological collections gathered in the Perm region have enriched the world of science.

Also of great interest is Perm Art Gallery, which is located in the Holy Transfiguration Cathedral, built in 1820. In addition to an impressive collection of paintings from the 15th to 20th centuries, you can also see wooden sculptures from the 17th to 19th centuries. In the 1920s, a unique life-sized sculpture of Jesus Christ was found by accident in the ruined chapel of the village Ilyinskoye.

Meshkov House

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Built in 1820, in late Russian classical style. Less than a year went by before it burned down. It was rebuilt, but during a fire in 1842 it was damaged again. The building was unoccupied for decades, before being restored in 1889 in Art Nouveau style. At the end of the 19th century it belonged to the patron and major entrepreneur of the time Nikolai Meshkov.

Today it houses a museum with a rich collection of archaeological finds from the Paleolithic period until the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. Especially interesting is the room storing finds from burial sites from the 8th century B.C.

The suburbs of Perm have a number of unique archaeological sites: Turbinsky burial ground (15th to 16th centuries B.C.), Glyadenovskoye bone beds (4th century B.C. to about 1000 A.D.), Mokinsky burial ground (4th to 6th centuries. A.D.).

Kungur Ice Cave

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One of the main attractions of the whole Urals region is the Kungur cave. This natural site of nationwide value is near the town Kungur on the right bank of the river Sylva, in the village Filippovka. The caves are 10,000 to 12,000 years old. As a result of numerous landslides, the roofs of most grottoes are domed like cupolas.

The vaults are given a special beauty by lakes of water connected with the waters of the river Sylva. The length of the cave is approximately 5.7 kilometers, with tourist trails of 1.5 kilometers. The average temperature in the center of the cave is 5 °C. The Kungur caves contain some 50 individual caves, 70 lakes and 146 “organ pipes” — high shafts, rising almost to the surface. On the walls are cave paintings from the Stone Age.

Rafting on the Koiva and Chusovaya Rivers

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Koiva River originates in the heart of the Middle Urals, welling up in the Sinee Boloto (blue marsh), near the Bolshiye Khmely mountains. This right-hand tributary of the river Chusovaya is great for rafting: The upper and middle reaches have many stones on the riverbeds, more than 100 shoals and lots of rapids such as Usvinskiye Tulumy.

It is not by chance that in the language of the Komi, the original inhabitants of these places, Koiva translates as “splashing water.” Chusovaya River is an easier passage for rafting, but no less interesting: It is one of the most picturesque rivers of the Middle Urals and you will have more time to look around. It flows through a narrow and deep valley carved between cliffs of up to 150 meters.

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 Post subject: Re: The Urals
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 08 Aug 2011 11:49 
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Usolye

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Transfiguration Cathedral, Sobornaya Ploshchad, Old Town, Usolye, Perm region

This city on the right bank of the Kama River is located opposite the town of Berezniki and connected with it by a bridge. Usolye was founded in 1606 as a center of the salt industry and remained the main settlement of the Stroganov industrialists on the Kama River until the end of the 18th century. In 1895 there were 40 salt pits. Due to construction of the Kama hydroelectric plant, part of the city was flooded and the residents relocated to higher areas.

One of the most remarkable monuments of the city is the Transfiguration Cathedral, built in 1724 in honor of the announcement of the Stroganovs as barons. The church and its bell tower of red brick are examples of the so-called Stroganov Baroque. Up close you can see that the tower is tilted slightly and avoids collapsing only by a miracle. The cathedral is not preserved in fantastic condition, but even in such a state it makes a very strong impression. The church's architectural ensemble also includes the Stroganov Chambers of the 18th century — the most luxurious buildings of the time.

Vishera Nature Reserve

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This reserve in the north east of Krasnovishersk district is the most beautiful corner of the Northern Urals. The rivers and streams have waterfalls up to 9 meters high. Some rivers and streams plunge into karst cavities, and flow underground for a while before bursting back to the surface. The reserve's rivers are inhabited by grayling, burbot, minnow, bullhead, loach and the Siberian taimen, a typical Siberian species in the salmon family.

A unique point is found on one peak with a height of 1,128.1 meters, which the Mansi call Saklaim-Sori-Chakhl: It is where the watersheds meet that divide the drainage basins of three great Russian rivers — the Ob, Pechora and Volga. The reserve has a nature trail for hiking and skiing. You can also go rafting on the river Vishera.

Vogul Shamans

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n the cliffs along the bank of the river Chanva and in the forests there are many caves that have still not been properly studied. The most famous of them is Chanvinskaya (Vogul) cave. Its grandiose dimensions are truly striking: The height at the entrance is about 15 meters and the width 27 meters. It holds a “power spot” — an ancient sacred site, where for many centuries the local Vogul tribes (Mansi) held pagan rites. Sacrificial objects included both animals and various articles such as furs, arrows, jewelry and clothing. Even fragments of human skeletons have been found. After lengthy excavations, archaeologists found a lot of cult objects, weapons, household utensils and coins from the 10th and 11th centuries at a depth of 2 meters. Sometimes the shamans of the Mansi people still use the cave today.

Solikamsk

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Salt of Russia museum, 2 Ulitsa Gazety Zvezda, Solikamsk, Perm region

This settlement at the confluence of the left-hand tributaries of the Kama (the rivers Usolka and Borovaya) appeared in about 1430 when the Kalinnikov merchant family from Vologda built salt pipes and pots here.

Originally the city was named Usolye na Kamsom (Usolye on the Kama) in the chronicles in 1506, then Usolye Kamskoye, then Sol Kamskaya from the 17th century. Today the river Usolka is calm, but only a couple of centuries ago it was bustling with hundreds of barges, which were loaded with bags of the valuable product.

Ust-Borovsky salt plant is the best-preserved remainder of the huge system that supplied salt to all over Russia. It was built in 1878-82 by merchant Alexander Ryazantsev. Now it is a salt production museum.

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 Post subject: Re: The Urals
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 08 Aug 2011 12:02 
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Churches at the Gates of Siberia

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Trinity Cathedral, 99 Ulitsa Naberezhnaya, Solikamsk, Perm region

Trinity Cathedral, built in the late 17th century, rises above the heart of Solikamsk. Importantly, the western porch of the church is the only one of its type in Russian architecture. It is very wide, on massive pillars that support a low vault. It was right from this building that Babinov road led into the forest, laid by imperial decree in 1597. At that time it was the only road to Siberia, along which first expeditions were sent, and later convicts. The Decembrists also went into exile along this road.

Next to the cathedral is a bell tower about 50 meters high, which was built in the early 18th century. If you look closely, you see it also “falls” or leans, like the bell tower in Usolye. Construction of the Church of John the Baptist, funded by local merchants, took almost the whole century: from 1715 to 1772. It stands out among Russian churches for its appearance, which resembles a ship with masts. Historians and architects consider it the most beautiful church in the Urals.

Lyudmilinskaya Salt Wells

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The surviving Lyudmilinskaya salt well is one of the symbols of the city. This place was once the site of the Trinity salt plant, owned by the Ryazantsev merchant family. Lyudmilinskaya well was drilled in 1906-07 to a depth of 100 meters. At the time drilling was a very labor-intensive and long process. Not for nothing was the magnitude of a plant judged by the number of salt wells it had. The Lyudmilinskaya well was drilled not only for salt production, but rather for geological exploration. Competition was growing on the Russian salt market; the old methods of producing salt by evaporating brine had become inefficient compared to direct extraction from mines. The well now looks like a small pit surrounded by a wooden ring. It is easy to find: Turn off Ulitsa Mira near the Silvinit leisure center to go down to the bank of the river Usolka.

Mine Excursions

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Mountains rise up at the entrance to Solikamsk: land thrown up from the bowels of the earth over many years of exploration and extraction by the company Silvinit. It is Russia's largest industrial mining complex for the extraction and production of potash fertilizers and various kinds of salts. The complex develops the Verkhnekamskoye bed, which is the only potassium and magnesium salt place in Russia and the second-largest in the world. Beneath the ground here is the bottom of the ancient Permian sea, a huge layer of sediment that accumulated over millions of years. Today there are five kilometers of tunnels dug in the strata of the earth. The mining process uses huge machines that bite through the rock with sharp drills, which you can observe by going on an excursion into a mineshaft to a depth of 400 meters.

Grayling Fishing

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Grayling is considered a prestigious fishing trophy, not only because of its excellent taste but because it is a very powerful and tricky fish, which is not easy to catch. And the harder it is, the more rewarding and interesting is the fishing! Like most mountain stream fish, grayling have no air sacs, and so they have to sink to the depths and rise to the surface through the strength of their muscles alone.

Going upstream to their spawning grounds against rapids and strong currents also requires great physical strength. Dealing with such a fish is real fishing fun. Experienced guides can tell you where are good places to catch grayling and Siberian taimen, and can give advice on their habits and on the necessary gear.

The fishing is interesting in both winter and summer, and can be combined with rafting on the many rivers of the Urals among stunning nature.

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