Gate to Eastern Siberia.
Leaving the grey Novosibirsk to Krasnoyarsk I’m also moving from Western part of Siberia to the Eastern one, maybe the most interesting because of its wild nature and peculiarity. A good start is the town of Krasnoyarsk located by the river Yenisey. Region of Krasnoyarsk extends until the Arctic Ocean but part of it is still forbidden to the foreigner. Somewhere on the way to north there is Tunguska, the place where a mysterious explosion occurred in 1908. There are several reasons why visit Krasnoyarsk. The town itself is nice and has a strong character, there are many excursion that can be done to the nearby mountains and of course is perfectly located to break the long trip from Novosibirsk to Irkutsk and the lake Baikal. I spent two days here, the first one going around the town and the second one exploring its beautiful surroundings. Here below a report about most interesting things to see in town and nearby.
A very communist town.
The very first thing that impresses me about Krasnoyarsk are the names of the streets. Beside the quite common Lenin and Marx street, here there are streets named after the Paris commune, the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, do not forgetting a Red Army street and, of course, the street of Communism. In general I think that this is the town with the higher amount of Communist symbols I’ve seen since Tiraspol in Moldova. The centre of the town is quite compact, enclosed by the big river Yenisey and the small stream Kacha. Railways station is about two kilometres far but is well connected by bus. I’m right in the centre, just next to Intercession Cathedral, a nice church with green roof that is of course the first sight I see. The itinerary I drafted in my mind starts from the Yenisey riverside and it ends up with the Chasovnya Chapel located on a hill on the other side of the Kacha stream. River bank in the central part of the town doesn’t seem to me to be developed as it could be. There is the nice building of the former river station but that is now almost abandoned and there are no quays as someone could expect. Life starts once you reach the Sv.Nikolay ship, a small museum celebrating two notable past passengers: Lenin on the way to his exile in Shushenskoe and Nikolay II cruising on the Yenisey. Right after it there are a bunch of shashlyk restaurants and a cafe. This area is relatively busier because from here, through a pedestrian bridge is possible to reach the Tatyshev island, the place where the locals sunbath and swim in the huge river. There are a lot of people in spite of the working day. Nearby Karl Marx, Lenin and Mira streets host a lot of beautiful wooden house. Instead, hidden among some big concrete building, there is a small Synagogue. Streets running close to stream Kacha are unpleasant to walk, being chaotic and with a lot of traffic but is enough to move upward from the foot of the hill to enter in a completely different scenario. This quartier is made entirely by wooden house and is very peacefully. The uphill walk to the chapel is hard so, entering in a small shop for buying waters I have the chance to see the snack corner they have. It is made of taps for beer, kvas, lemonade and big boxes of snacks including nuts and dried fish. My goal is very close. However in the end I have to say that the chapel is nothing special. It should have probably some special meaning from the religious point of view because its image is also on the 10 rubles banknote. There are no many other sights in town. Surrounding area, it is said, offers the best.
Stolby reserve and Takmak peak.
The most interesting sight to see without going too far from Krasnoyarsk is the vast Stolby natural reserve. During cold season this is a popular winter resort with at least two cableways allowing to easily reach the top of the mountain but of course the park is absolutely enjoyable also in Summer when the beautiful slope of Sayan Mountains can be walked using the many hiking trails. The area can be reached by the centre of the town using local bus number 50 that it covers almost entirely the nine kilometres distance to the resort. Last kilometre can be done walking or with another bus would. From the resort best option is to take one of the two cableways to go up to the mountain. Landscape is beautiful, and the mountain breeze is perfect for me after many days spent in big towns. From the top of the cableway there is possible to take one of the trails. The longest, about seven kilometres, allows to go through the entire reserve until hotel Snezhnaya Dolina. I preferred instead to go in the direction of the Takmak, the highest peak in the area. The path is not easy because is steep and slippery because of the fine gravel. In this case the grass helps a lot to keep the grip. In the area there are several “Banya”, the Russian sauna, that can be rented but it is surely more popular during cold winters. The Takmak peak actually cannot be reached by walk. Without climbing you can only arrive about 20 meters below but is ok. Even from there the view is absolutely amazing. Buying the ticket for the cableway I met a Russian guy speaking a quite good english and so we shared part of our path. I understood from him how much Russian people love the nature. I have to say that from this point of view, Russia seems to me one country where respect for nature is nowadays really a common feeling and this is good because they host a considerable part of the natural resources of the planet. On the way back, I took a lift from the Russian guy since he also had to go back in town to work. And with this excursion to the mountain my two-days stay in Krasnoyarsk ends. Some word about eating out. First evening I tried one of the simple Shashlyk place by the river and it was quite fine. On second day I decided to go for better and I went to a wonderful pan-Asian restaurant serving food from Caucasus, Central Asia and far east. It was a great dinner eating some of my favourites: fried Laghman and Kachapuri. On the way back I saw many stamps on building wall depicting Nikola Tesla’s face. I was wondering why and the only explanation I’ve found about popularity of one of the greatest mind ever in this town is that one of the hypothesis about Tunguska’s incident, connects it to Tesla’s experiment on wireless transfer of energy. Tomorrow I will keep on in my search of nature’s beauty getting closer to the lake Baikal. I will tell you about it soon. Before of it, as usual, please take a look at Krasnoyarsk gallery here below.