Top 10 Remote Travel Destinations – Russia’s Hidden Gems

taimenye lake

 Taimenye Lake – A Turquoise Gem

Taimenye Lake is situated at an altitude of .95 miles above sea level, but the waters still warm up in the summer – up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Frequent, strong disturbances cause layers of water to mix right down to the bottom, producing limited visibility in the water. The water in Taimenye Lake, whose basin was formed by the movement of an ancient glacier, has a bright turquoise gleam. The lake is 3.4 miles long and surrounded by more than 250 small lakes.

Since 1991, Taimenye Lake has been part of the Katun biosphere nature preserve and 15 types of plants listed in the Red Book grow in the vicinity.

Where: In the Altai Mountains – the nearest populated area is Multa village.

Uzon Volcano

 Kronotsky nature preserve

The Uzon volcano is situated in the Kronotsky nature preserve, to the south of the lake of the same name. This district produces the youngest oil on the planet. One of the biggest calderas in Kamchatka – 1 mile in diameter and home to Lake Dalny – is in the eastern region of the volcano’s 93-square-mile crater. On the plateau surrounding the volcano, hundreds of columns of steam shoot out of the yellow fields, which alternate with green thickets and sunburnt tundra.

The crater’s western region has nearly 600 springs and a diverse array of colorful flora and fauna. Numerous algae and bacteria that live quite comfortably in the boiling toxic emulsions are of special interest to scientists.

Where: In the south of the Kronotsky state biosphere nature preserve, Kamchatka peninsula.


Center of the Universe – Porzhensky Pogost

6.  Supposed the center of universe – Porzhensky pogost – A wooden fortress built on the same place where a pagan temple once stood

The wooden fortress of 18th century is hidden in the woods away from prying eyes. It is located in the Kargopol district of Arkhangelsk Region . People who live in nearby villages are the only ones who know how to reach the fortress, the road that reaches the fortress is rough and difficult to navigate but worth the trip. Once you arrive you will find a empty wooden church surrounded with wooden walls and watchtowers that stand as citadels amidst  the forests, lakes and grey rocks. The fortress itself was build where a pagan temple once stood, that was erected by the ancient Peoples that populated the area. On the grounds one will find two neighboring churches built at the same time, the central church lies on an absolutely straight line, oriented south-north.

Mystically minded people say that Aleph from Borges’ short novel is situated in one of watchtowers of Porzhensky pogost. It is thought to be a keyhole to the universe, where all its points meet.

Directions: Take a train from Moscow to Arkhangelsk (goes from Yaroslavsky Railway terminal) and go to Nyandoma station. From there take a bus to Kargopol. From Kargopol you should go by bus to Maselga village. The last 15 kilometres you will have to walk.

Rytiy cape – Lake Baikal

Rytiy cape is situated on the north-western bank of Baikal Lake and the tourists may not debark there because this territory belongs to nature reserve. There is one more prohibition, an informal one, and it is more serious: the local public, the Buryats, believe that aliens may not go there. There is however much to see and much to keep on the Cape: it is still unknown, who built a stone wall 333 metres long, who constructed pyramids of stones and oriented them on cardinal points. Visiting this place can be dangerous: the local inhabitants killed biologist Alexei Turuta because he had refused to tie a band on the sacred tree. These people are not only righteous, but pragmatic as well: an engine of the World War II stands in the village of Onguryon, converted into a power station.

If you are ready to be wise and respect the spirits, you can return alive. First, get to Irkutsk. There are many regular flights and railway services. From Irkutsk you take a bus to Zama tourist camp, then walk to the Onguryon settlement, or you can take “Kometa” boat, which makes trips Irkutsk – Nizhneangarsk and go ashore on the Cape Elochin, from there walk to the destination point. See more information here. LinkLink

city of the dead

Chechen City of the Dead

The Medieval Chechen necropolis of Tsoy-Pede is situated in Itum-Kalinsky District of текст Chechen Republic. You wish to visit this place you must get permission from the Federal Security Service of Russia. This unassailable fortress of the Dead is situated in the frontier zone, close to the Georgian border, which is why you need a special permission.

Tsoy-Pede is situated on a rocky foreland, at the confluence of two rivers. Necropolis is surrounded with icy waters on three sides and the only way to reach it is by a narrow neck of land, connected by a rocky passage. The necropolis is a complex of medieval buildings closely related to local funeral traditions with pagan and Christian elements. There are 2 pillar-looking pagan altars, walls, covered with swastikas, solar spirals and crosses. There are rests of a human figure painted on a watchtower. This figure is supposedly St. George, which by its looks is believable, considering it close proximity to Orthodox Georgia. The oldes of the 42 sepulchres date back to the 14th century.

This necropolis might have been a destination point for warriors, weapons have been found in the sepulchres which supports this theory . Another version is that the necropolis was organized during an epidemic, when there was nobody to bury the corpses: the ill people chose come here and die. But the idea of this doesn’t look persuasive, since reaching the city of the dead was no easy task. For more information see here. Link

Directions: After arriving at the capital of Chechnya, Grozny, take a shuttle to Itum – Kali, you can proceed there on foot or by hitching. Don’t forget to get permission first.


Youngest Waterfall in the World

This is a 160 metres waterfall in Altay Republic (Ulagan District), and it was detected in 1970-s only. According to the scientists, the waterfall is 200 years old. Huge pieces of black rocks, split into pieces by a strong earthquake are bigger than tall pine-trees, growing there. The people look small like insects in this landscape. The path to Uchar is rather difficult and full of mountain streams, which are not recommended for crossing without safety wires. The representatives of local fauna will become plague of you life there as well. Feather-tailed three-toed jerboas, or emuranki, beasts anywhere from ground squirrel to jerboa, they aren’t afraid of people, and usually steal and eat tourists’ small things. For more information see here. Link

Directions: You can reach the city of Biysk (by car or by train ) and from there, by car follow to Artybash settlement. Take into account, that the way disappears in a few kilometres from the point of destination. Further take a boat and cross Teletskoye Lake . From there – on foot. There is another way from Gornoaltaysk: you go to Yaylyu settlement of the territory of Altay Nature Reserve. From there you take a guide (it is obligatory) and walk to the place.


Sindorskoye Lake – A Prehistoric Sea

Sindorskoye Lake, remnant of a prehistorical sea and place of an outstanding beauty is situated in the Komi Republic , Knyazhpogostsky District. Many early man sites were detected on its wooded shores in the early 20th century, but it has not become a tourist stronghold, because a penal institution M-222 appeared there rather soon. The camp is known for three reasons: persons involved in the so-called Doctor’s plot and condemned were held here as prisoners (the doctors were accused as conspiratorial assassins of Soviet leaders). The second one is not so gloom: Russian writer Sergey Dovlatov served here in convoy troops as a guardian. This experience is conveyed in his novel The Zone. This Zone has recently stopped functioning. The third reason deals more with ethnography: according to the Komi legends, their culture hero Yirkapa hunter died here, having drowned in Sindor. He lost his magic, because killed the witch’s daughter who turned into a deer (or magpie), when hunting.

Getting around: Take Moscow – Vorkuta train from Yaroslavksy Railway Terminal in Moscow and get off at Sindor station. To move farther, you should hitch a railway hand car on the Sindor narrow-gauge railroad moving in the same direction and go to the hostel of M-222 institution. This hostel consists of a few boxes on the territory of former prison camp. The houses are tailored to fishers’ overnight stops and stay on the bank of Ug’yum River. From here it is two-three kilometres to the lake. Everything looks rather easy, but warning: all the personnel of the narrow-gauge railroad, including drivers, are prisoners. The railroad, built for needs of the camps is still under the jurisdiction of Federal Service for Execution of Punishment. Be careful.

Ancient Eskimo Settlement – Cape Dezhnev

Naukan is a deserted big Eskimos settlement situated on the Cape Dezhnev (Chukotka), left by all its residents during farm amalgamation company in 1958. Three thousands years different paleo-Asiatic cultures alternated on this place, leaving their marks. The Eskimo were the last ones. Deep-frozen soils do not hide anything, and now you can see whales’ ribs sticking out from the seashore, different objects unclear age and use made of bone, ruins of barracks built in 1930-s. The former residents of it partly have revived and saved their customs, others disappeared in the first generation on the new places. Every summer the whales still appear in the waters near Naukan. The folklore specialists can confirm that the whales look for their Naukan love-mates, left this place. Let it drop to the horror films scripts and turn to the ways, leading here.

Directions: One must reach Anadyr (capital of Chukotka) by plane. Next take the local airlines Chukotavia from Anadyr to Lavrentiya settlement. The next stop is the Uelen settlement (this flight depends on weather conditions). You can also chose to take a whaleboat on this part of the trip. It goes from June to August in Bering Strait.

Unezhma – Forgotten Country

Unezhma, which was founded at the beginning of the 16th century, it was once one of the main stations on the Pomor postal route. At the time, there were 80 households in the village and a population of 500. The original inhabitants – the Pomors – were primarily involved in fishing, seal-hunting and salt extraction. There are still neglected “usolya” (places where salt was evaporated from water) on the outskirts of Unezhma.

In the post-war years at the end of the 1940s, the village began to shrink: only 12 people still lived there, and the only landline telephone in the whole village stopped working when its owner died. After this, the bronze telephone wires laid before the war were sold for scrap. The last female resident in Unezhma, Olga Kukoleva (born in 1914) several years ago. Today the village is only visited in summer and they are the descendants of those who lived here. Travelers who are interested in the village’s mysterious cemetery and the remains of ancient, lopsided, wooden huts.

Where: Twelve miles from Unezhma railway station, on Cape Brannits of the White Sea

Russia’s most Northern Monastery 

Kozheozersky monastery

The monastery is 68 miles from Nimenga station. Travelers are often given lifts to the start of the forest track by lumber truck drivers, if they happen to meet one – but it’s nearly 20 more miles to almost reach their destination. Travelers must make a fire on the southern lake shore and wait until someone notices it on the other side and send a boat over from the monastery to pick them up.

It’s not just the roads that are troublesome, the monastery even today lacks electricity and telecommunications. Nevertheless, the monastery welcomes dozens of pilgrims every year, many of whom stay here for the rest of their lives. The head of the Kozheozersky monastery, Father Mikhei (Micah), was born in Sergiyev Posad. He’s a conductor by trade, graduated from the Moscow Sveshnikov State Choir School and sang in the Holy Synod choir that was created under the Moscow Patriarchate in 1986. Finish with this one since afterward you may not want to see the others.

Where: Kozhozero, Onezhsky district, Arkhangelsk Region.

17 thoughts on “Top 10 Remote Travel Destinations – Russia’s Hidden Gems

      1. Yes, I would still write you something. I am still thinking of what to write. I have two possibilities. Sorry my friend, I have been ill for a long while (about 3 mtgs). Just feeling a little better now/tired mostly. I had other things with my blood and then my right shoulder and arm froze (too much work)..:). Doing physio and chiro at the moment. I will msg you when I have something. Thank you.

      2. Oh, please had no idea, don’t worry about it, main thing is to heal………..get well first…………everything else is secondary. Blessings to you.

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