Weathering pillars in the Komi Republic

Boundless Russia is rich in amazing sights, including natural anomalies. The Northern Urals is famous for its beautiful and mysterious place called the Manpupuner Plateau. Here is a geological monument – weathering pillars. These unusual stone sculptures have become a symbol of the Urals.

Six stone statues are on the same line, at a short distance from each other, and the seventh is nearby. Their height is from 30 to 42 meters. It is hard to imagine that 200 million years ago there were mountains here, and gradually they were destroyed by nature – the scorching sun, strong wind and downpours undermined the Ural Mountains. This is where the name “pillars of weathering” comes from. They are composed of hard sericite quartzites, which allowed them to survive to this day.

Numerous legends are associated with this place. In ancient pagan times, the pillars were the objects of worship of the Mansi people. Climbing Manpupuner was considered a mortal sin, and only shamans were allowed to get here. The name Manpupuner is translated from the Mansi language as “a small mountain of idols”.

One of the many legends says that once the stone statues were people from a tribe of giants. One of them wanted to marry the daughter of the Mansi leader, but was refused. The giant was offended and, in a fit of anger, decided to attack the village where the girl lived. But, approaching the village, the attackers were turned into giant boulders by the girl’s brother.

Another legend speaks of cannibal giants. They were fearsome and invincible. The giants moved to the Ural Range to attack the Mansi tribe, but the local shamans called on the spirits, and they turned the enemies into stones. The last giant tried to escape, but did not escape a terrible fate. Because of this, the seventh stone is further away than the others.

Seeing a mysterious place with your own eyes is not so easy. Your path will lie through the seething rivers, through the deaf taiga, with strong winds and freezing rain. This hike is difficult even for experienced hikers. Several times a year you can reach the plateau by helicopter. This region belongs to the Pechoro-Ilychsky Reserve, and a special permit is required to visit. But the result is definitely worth the effort.

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