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25
August

Chapter on Natural Wonders of Siberia

Vast and amazing Siberia. This region is over three times larger than the European Union. Its versatility is truly remarkable! But what do people living in other regions of Russia and other countries know about Siberia? Perhaps everyone knows about Lake Baikal. Well-informed ones also may know about Belukha Mountain and the Lena Pillars in Yakutia. But it is just a small part of Siberian treasures. Siberia will continue to surprise and captivate the world time. Now it's time to open your maps!

Open the map and find seven natural wonders in Siberia – here they are.

The first wonder. Crimson Lake

An extraordinary lake in Altai Krai that captivates with its distinct crimson colored water. Only a few dozen such lakes exist on our planet. Their water is saturated with minerals rich in sodium concentrate and the colored pigment is produced by special microorganisms. The hue of the water surface changes depending on the season – from pink in winter to a rich crimson in the hot season.

According to the legend, the pink edible salt extracted from the lake was considered to be endowed with miraculous properties and was presented on the table of Empress Catherine II.

In 2019, the lake's water mixed with the water of other lakes due to heavy flooding and lost its distinct crimson color. It is unknown how long it will take for the ecosystem to self-repair. So far, only two unflooded pink lakes remain at the entrance to the eponymous village of Crimson Lake.

The second wonder. Oglakhty

In South Siberia, within the Khakassky Reserve, lies the Oglakhty mountain range. The eponymous tourist complex is also established in the same area. And it is in that location where you can witness the largest collection of petroglyphs in Khakassia – rock carvings dating back up to 5 000 years.

The most Instagram-worthy location is the 960-step staircase that winds along the mountainside. At the foot of the stairs lies the sacred Shaman Stone, while from the top you can enjoy mesmerizing views of the reserve with burial mounds and traces of a medieval fortress.

The third wonder. Vasyugan Swamp

An unusual area in the Omsk region is one of the largest swamps in the world. Its area covers 55 thousand square kilometers – Switzerland, Slovakia, or Estonia could fit within this vast expanse. The Vasyugan Swamp appeared about 10,000 years ago. It serves as the main source of fresh water in the region and also contains extensive peat deposits.

Tourists can enjoy special helicopter rides organized over the swamps.

The fourth wonder. The Valley of Volcanoes

In Buryatia, within the Okinsky district, lies a mountain valley along the Higol River, where several extinct volcanoes are located. The tallest of them is almost 70 meters. The area is covered with solidified volcanic lava, the thickness of which in some places reaches 150 meters. This area is a popular destination for hiking trails.

A climatic anomaly is noted in the area of Higol gorge, where the so-called Valley of Volcanoes is located. In summer, in the middle of a hot day, it can suddenly get so cold here that it snows and the lakes are covered with ice.

The fifth wonder. Putorana Plateau

The Putorana Plateau is a unique place to the east of Norilsk, one of the most difficult places to travel. Hundreds of millions of years ago, due to tectonic shifts, the basalt plateau formed from layers of cooled lava rose to a height of one and a half kilometers and fractured into thousands of cracks. There are boasts fjord lakes, canyons, waterfalls, and summitless mountains.

The Putorana Nature Reserve is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. This place of incredible beauty, almost untouched by man, is situated in the most remote area of Russia, far from civilization.

The sixth wonder. Altay Mars

This is the name of the Kyzyl-Chin tract located in the Kosh-Agach district of Altai. Kyzyl-Chin, in South Altai, means "Red Gorge". The tract is remarkable for its alien coloring – its rocks contain record amounts of impurities of maghemite (magnetic modification of iron oxide), hematite, manganese, and chromium.

90 million years ago, the slopes were the site of a relict sea. On the slopes of Kyzyl-Chin one can still find ancient artifacts: Fossilized remains of prehistoric mollusks and algae. The Chuya Highway or Chuysky Trakt, known as one of the most beautiful roads in the world, leads travelers to this unique and breathtaking location.

The seventh wonder. Ininsky Stone Garden

In the Barguzinsky district of Buryatia, lies a remarkable garden of stones. Scattered across an area of more than 10 square kilometers, enormous boulders are picturesquely nestled within the surrounding nature. How did they get here? There is no exact answer. However, several theories exist, ranging from sediments left behind by retreating glaciers to the aftermath of an ancient catastrophe. The energy of this place, along with its deep silence and untouched nature, creates a lasting impression.

Siberia is a place full of wonders. Living here, traveling, learning about this land, and responsibly using its natural riches is true happiness.

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