Somewhere in the middle of nowhere, far from civilization, in the heart of the Ural Mountains stretching from north to south, 7 mysterious stone pillars are standing.
These are The Manpupuner rock formations or Seven Strong Men Rock Formations, or one of The Seven Wonders of Russia.
A place of power and of incredible energy, which keeps many legends of the peoples of the Russian Far North and attracts travelers from all over the world.
The Manpupuner Legend
Once upon a time, very long ago, the Mansi tribes lived here. They sacred this place and guarded it, and only tribal shamans were allowed to visit the sacred territory. For others the access was strictly prohibited; furthermore it was considered a great sin for an ordinary person to set foot on the holy land.
According to the Mansi legend, the seven pillars are seven giants-samoyeds who went through the Ural Mountains to Siberia to destroy the Vogul people.
Once, having reached the top of one of these mountains, their main shaman saw the sacred mountain Yalping-ner and suddenly in horror threw his drum away, and at that very moment all the giants turned into stone and remained staying on this mountain up to this day.
The mysterious name that the stone pillars have comes from the language of the Mansi peoples and means “Small Idol Mountain”.
How Did The Manpupuner Rock Formations Form?
It would seem, how is it possible for motionless pillars to appear on the top of the mountains? Previously, there were mountains that could be compared in height with the world’s greatest mountain ranges.
But for thousands of years heat, rain, snow and permanent wind destroyed the weakest parts of the rocks until only the hardest and most extant pieces remained in their place.
It is considered to be one of the most inaccessible places in the world, it is not so easy to get there, and no matter what kind of transportation you choose, no one can guarantee that you will succeed in reaching the place on the first try. So are the laws of the northern harsh mountain climate.
Where Is The Manpupuner Located?
The Manpupuner Plateau is located in the north of the European part of the Russian Federation, in the heart of the Ural Mountains.
The coordinates of the rock formations for GPS: 62.258910, 59.295146
How To Get To The Manpupuner Rock Formations?
There are several options to see The Manpupuner for yourselves.
- the most convenient and comfortable:
by helicopter, as a part of an organized group. Quickly and without a personal meeting with the severe northern weather.
In addition to seeing the stone pillars, during the excursion you can visit other mysterious places in this area, for example, the Dyatlov pass, the “Dead Mountain” or the terrible remains of the former GULAG territories.
- there are more options for self-guided tours, fitting every taste of extreme travelling lovers:
first of all by any type of transport (plane + bus / car) you should get to the cities of Troitsko-Pechorsk, or Komsomolsk-on-Pechora, or Ivdel town, or directly to the Yaksha village, where the Pechora-Ilychsky Nature reserve is located.
Further travel by car is prohibited, so tourists do hiking or rent a boat from here in summertime; in winter the distance can be covered on skis or snowmobiles. Such an option is suitable only for well-prepared and strong people, because depending on the starting point, the total distance of the walking route can be from 50 to 200 km.
Besides, the northern weather is very unpredictable and definitely it will test you for strength. You should always be prepared for strong winds, fogging, and very low temperatures in winter. Local guides do not recommend going on such a trip alone and advise to join an organized tourist group, which will be accompanied by an experienced instructor.
The Manpupuner Entrance Fee
In any case, either managing a helicopter booking, or organising a self-guided tour, in order to get to the stone idols, you will need to get a pass to the territory of the Pechora-Ilychsky Nature reserve.
Pechora-Ilychsky Nature reserve coordinates: Russia, Komi Republic, Troitsko-Pechora region, Yaksha village, st. Laninoy, 8
You can get it by filling an application on their website in advance, it is also worth considering that no more than 300 permits are issued per year, so it is better to send a request beforehand.
The cost of the pass is 300 rubles, in addition the reserve authority offers accommodation on its territory, tour guide services on the routes and transport renting (for example, there you can rent a motorboat or a snowmobile). If you are going to visit the rock formations as part of a tourist group, then usually the tour organizers are in charge of obtaining a group pass.
So difficult, so energy-consuming, so hard to reach this place, but the moment when you get to the final destination you will remember for the entire life.
Be prepared (although it is impossible to be prepared) for a meeting with a place that will make you speechless, make you feel like a tiny particle in our vast universe, help you to become more open-minded and to see the world with a different light.
Get ready for a trip that will change you!
Approximate price list for excursions and other important things (the cost is indicated per person):
- helicopter tour booking: from 42,000 rubles
- reserve pass: 300 rubles
- entrance ticket to the museum of the reserve: 50 rubles
- excursion around the museum: 110 rubles
- excursion along the eco-trail: 280-450 rubles depending on the route
- accommodation on the territory of the reserve: 740-1700 rubles per day, depending on the type of housing chosen
- accommodation in a guest house on the Manpupuner plateau*: 2300 rubles
- car rental: 1370-1800 rubles per hour
- motorboat rental: 910 rubles per hour
- snowmobile rental: 1790 rubles per hour
- Khivus motorboat rental: 3200 rubles per hour
- helicopter deck rental: 1000 rubles per landing.
*a guesthouse of a camp type: dishes, bedding and personal hygiene products should be taken with you. Be prepared that it has no shower and a restroom is outhouse.
The Manpupuner When Is It Best To Go?
The best and the only possible time to visit the mysterious pillars is from June to September or from February to March. In other months, going there is quite dangerous due to weather conditions, so the reserve authority will simply reject your request for getting a pass.
Even in the permitted months, however, you should always be prepared for sudden weather changes. For example, in July it is possible for a snowstorm to start here, even if it was hot and sunny the day before. It might rain without stopping for several days or weeks, and permanent wind is the main companion of these mountainous regions.
So you definitely have to prepare clothes for different weather conditions.
The Manpupuner, What To Expect In Summer?
Those who have never seen it before and those who did will enjoy white nights until the beginning of August. Rains and thunderstorms are possible or maybe not (you never know for sure). Temperature drops range from +20 +25 degrees during the day to 0 and minus 5 degrees at night.
In June, you can still enjoy spring vibes here. Most travelers come to explore this area in the second part of summer, and at the end of August, you can get a good harvest of berries and mushrooms as a bonus.
In September, the weather can be completely unpredictable, so this period is more suitable for experienced and skilled travelers.
The Manpupuner, What To Expect In Winter?
Those who plan to explore the plateau in wintertime must be prepared for extremely low temperature conditions.
For example, there might be periods when the temperature does not rise above minus 20 degrees.
Remember about a permanent wind – yes, this is the Russian Extreme North, in all its glory. Daylight hours are very short, it gets dark early and snow breaks are possible.
End of February – beginning of March is a more comfortable time for skiers to visit this area. If you are lucky, during this period you can see the pillars, beautifully powdered with snow, and if you are really lucky, you can see the famous Polar lights.
What To Prepare And To Take With You?
No matter what time of year you are traveling, be sure you put in your backpack or take with you or directly put on yourself multilayered clothes, including wind- and waterproof jackets or outfit and thermal underwear.
If visiting the plateau in winter, it is best to use ski outfits that can hold very low temperatures. This is the very case when it is better to take more warm clothes and not use them than to take not enough clothings and to freeze in the mountains.
Shoes should be comfortable for long walks and waterproof.
Enough food for all the time you plan to spend on the route, including snacks and a thermos with hot tea. You should have sunscreen and personal care products, including a travel first aid kit in your backpack.
In summer there is an invasion of gnats, midges and mosquitoes in the mountains , so repellents are really advised. If you plan to do a hiking tour, tents, sleeping bags that can hold cold temperatures, flashlights and fire-starting supplies should be added to the list.
One Small Tip…
In the end, in order to get fully pleased with visiting the mysterious mountain giants, we recommend you try the national ethnic Komi cuisine.
Since ancient times, the inhabitants of these lands have been engaged in hunting and fishing, for this reason, as well as because of the harsh climate, the dishes of the Komi cuisine mostly include meat and fish.
One of the most popular dishes here is the Cherinyan fish pie, which is cooked from different types of fish, such as pike, burbot, grayling or salmon. Lovers of delicacies might be excited about trying venison or elk. From the drinks menu you can try bread kvass (yrösh) or steamed turnip and rutabaga compote.