Russian winter: 30 most beautiful places in our country. Part I

The most beautiful corners of our country which have to be seen particularly during the winter! Look at these photos and convince yourself that fairy tales do exist!

Chelyabinsk Oblast’: Taganay National Park, Urenga Ridge. Average temperature: −15°C −20°C

National Park Taganay

National Park Taganay

The territory of the national park covers the northern part of the medium-high mountain ranges of the Southern Urals. The park is located in the western part of Chelyabinsk Oblast’, at 130 km from the regional center. The length of the park from north to south is 52 km and 10-15 km from west to east. The total area of the park is 568 square kilometers (56.8 thousand Ha).

The flora of Taganay combines several natural zones. From the north, on the ridges here comes the mountain spruce-fir zone of the middle taiga, from east – south-taiga forests with a mixture of larch and birch, the birch-pine forests. Here can also be seen the mountain steppes, as for the highlands, they occupy the sub-alpine meadows and the mountain tundra.

Ridge Urenga

Ridge Urenga is the longest range of Chelyabinsk Oblast’. It has a 65 kilometers length and consists of quartzite and schists, covered with birch-pine forests. The ascent of the ridge can be started from the central square of Zlatoust and the pass on Chelyabinsk-Ufa highway.

The road to Urenga pass crosses the hills –  Naked (Golaya) and Two Brothers. This road in known in the history by the names of Scythian and Kazan trail.

Perm Krai: Stone town, Belogorsky Temple, White Mountain, Kolchimsky Stone. Average temperature: -7 ° C -17 ° C

Stone Town is one of the main attractions of Perm region. These unique cliffs are called Devil’s Mound. The natural monument is located on one of the peaks of Rudyansky Sing ridge (526 meters above the sea level). The silhouettes of the fine-grained quartz sandstone rocks, cut with deep cracks, remind of the mysterious city – hence the name.

Belogorsky St. Nicholas male Monastery, which is often referred to as Ural Athos, is situated on the edge of the Ural White Mountain, at 12 kilometers of Perm city and 40 kilometers from Kungur city. From here the White Mountains offer some truly spectacular views!

Kolchimsky stone

Kolchimsky (or Pomyanenny) stone – this mountain is situated in Krasnovishersk district, Perm region. Kolchimsky stone is a spur of the ancient Polyudova Ridge. The height of the mountain is 780 meters above the sea level.

Yamalo-Nenets autonomous Okrug. The annual average temperature in the Far North: -10 ° C. The minimum winter temperature lowers to −70 °C.

—This region occupies a vast territory in the lower reaches of Ob River and the eastern foothills of Polar Urals up to the coast of the Kara Sea – says Kirill Uyutnov, member of the Russian Photo Club.

— The main indigenous people living in Yamal are the Nenets, whose main occupation is traditional herding.

Daylight during the polar night is short, but in the south of the district it does manage to rise above the horizon for a few hours. As such, the day never comes, and the magical dawn is replaced by the somber sunset, giving the chance to enjoy the purple twilight for nearly four hours.

The bitter frost wading from within, creates the mystery of the Northern Lights during the nights. The snow needles on the trees and the green flickering in the sky, the ice crust crunching under the feet and the smoke from the warm tent, the smell of the pine and the roaring of the deer – this all creates the unique aura of the forest-tundra during winter nights. In the mornings the dawn twilight in the sky melts slowly, giving its heavenly place to the big pink bird. Spreading its wings, the bird thoughtfully rushes toward the low sun and leaves to the morning yellow rays only the lonely larch in the vast

North-Chuya ridge, Altai Republic. Average temperature: on the slopes and peaks in January (the coldest month of the year) – up to -20 ° C frost; in the basins – up to – 40-50 ° C.

The length of the ridge is about 120 kilometers. It reaches the maximum height in the central part, also known as the mining site Bish-Iirdu, where is concentrated the main glaciation of the ridge. The average height of the ridge is about 3600 meters and some many other peaks are higher than 4000 m (Maashey-bash – 4173 m, Aktru – 4044.4 m). In the central part are concentrated about 200 glaciers with a total area of about 175 square kilometers, the largest one is glacier Maashey. The ridge consists of shales, sandstones, limestones, metamorphic rocks. The deeply dissected topography is predominant. On the slopes, at the altitude of 2200-2400 m is located the larch-cedar taiga, higher – the alpine meadows and the tundra.

The natural complex reserve «Lebedinyy» (Swan), Sovetsky district, Altai Krai.

− Swans are beautiful, but this is not enough. The stars should be aligned in a way that will create sunny and frosty mornings. 

The natural complex reserve “Swan” is functioning since 1973. The area of the reserve is 38.2 thousand hectares. Beside meadows, forests and wetlands it also includes 96 km of the river Katun and about 70 70 islands. This is one of the two swan reserves in Russia (the second is in Chukotka).

The territory of the reserve has some small nonfreezing lakes, with the keys hitting from their bottom and retaining a temperature of +4.. +6°С.
Lake Swan is the only place in Russia where swans stay for the winter in a continental climate zone. The swan population living here is isolated from the other populations, which makes it unique as well. The birds living in the reserve, migrate for summer to Salekhard tundra.

In the recent years the waters of the reserve have been housing about 420-450 swans. Beside them, more than 2 thousand wild ducks and the common merganser stop on these lakes for rest.

Kemerovo region: Green Mountain Sheregesh settlement. Average temperature: -9 -13 ° C

Sheregesh is an urban village in Tashtagol district, Kemerovo Oblast’ and a tourist center at the foot of Mount Green (Zelonaya), located at 26 kilometers from Tashtagol city. The resort with a developed infrastructure, which annually gains more and more popularity not only among the Siberian people, has to offer a wide range of services for active recreation in summer and winter, a great variety of fun activities and accommodation facilities of different comfort levels. In 2013 resort Sheregesh was entered in the Guinness Book of Records, and in 2014 – recognized as one of the most popular ski centers in the country.

Baikal. Average temperature: -15 ° C -20 ° C

Without any doubt it is Lake Baikal – one of the main attractions in the country – beautiful all year round. Baikal is the deepest lake in the world, the largest natural reservoir of fresh water, a unique variety of flora and fauna – and these are not all the advantages of the great Baikal. Locals and many other people around Russia traditionally call it a sea, thus Baikal Sea. The maximum depth of the lake of 1642 m, was established in 1983 by Leonid Kolotilo and Alexandr Sulimov while executing hydro-graphic works.  The average depth of the lake is 744.4 m. Beside Baikal, there are only two other lakes in the world with a depth of over 1000 meters: Tanganyika (1470 m) and the Caspian Sea (1025 m).

Winter Bailak is the pale pink sunrises and sunsets, the deep-blue ice and an endless array of abstract shapes.

Angara, Krasnoyarsk Kray. Average temperature: -18 ° C -35 ° C

Angara is a river in Eastern Siberia, the largest affluent of the Yenisei, the only river flowing out of Baikal. It flows on the territories of the Russian Irkutsk Region and Krasnoyarsk Kray. It has a 1779 km length and a basin area of 1.039 million square kilometers. On the banks of the river Ankara are located such cities like: Irkutsk, Angarsk, Usolye-Siberian, Svirsk, Bratsk, Ust-Ilimsk

Murmansk region: Tuloma River and the Kola.  Average temperature: -8 -15 ° C

Tuloma River

Tuloma is a river situated on the Kola Peninsula, in Russian Murmansk Oblast, with a 64 km length. The basin area is 21,500 km². The source of the river is located at the exit of the Lake Notozero and flows into the Kola Bay of Barents Sea. Tuloma begins in Notozero, located in the northwest of the Kola Peninsula. Into the lake fall such rivers as Nota and Lotta.

Kol’skiy Bay

The Fjord Bay of the Barents Sea on the Murmansk coast of Kola Peninsula washes the following islands: Yekaterininskiy, Oleniy, Sedlovatyy, Sredniye Olen’i, Malyye Olen’i. Rivers Tuloma and Kola fall into the bay. On the eastern shore of the bay are situated the nonfreezing ports Murmansk and Severomorsk, on the west – the Polar port. In 2005 a road bridge was opened across the bay.

Mount Mamay, the border of Irkutsk Oblast’ and Buryatia. Average temperature: −15°C −25°C 

Mount Mamay is situated at the boundary of Irkutsk Oblast and district of Buryatia, at 12 km from Lake Baikal, between the mountain rivers Vydrinnaya and Snezhnaya. The nearest settlement, Vydrino village is located at 10 km, distance from Irkutsk – 195 km, from Ulan-Ude – 275 km.

Due to its climate peculiarities, this place is very popular among freeriders. Forests on the slopes are very rare. In the upper reaches of the river are located a few lakes and waterfalls.

To be continued…

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