Krasnoyarsk is a new addition to our tour stop-over options for 2012 and is a destination in the heart of Russia sitting pretty much in the centre of the line in terms of both the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolia train routes.
This alone makes a place worth visiting for a few days. Uncharacteristically mountainous for a Siberian city Krasnoyarsk sits on the banks of the Yenisei River and is surrounded north and south by a ring of mountains. Although Krasnoyarsk may not have church highlights or an imposing Kremlin the city is one of the more appealing and welcoming Siberian cities and there is definitely enough to fill a city tour along with some of the best museums and concert halls of the region. With mountains within minutes of downtown it is the nature that makes this such an appealing stopover. A new ski mountain fun park draws the adrenalin puppies while the unique towering rock formations of Stolby Nature Reserve are the highlight for the hiking and climbing community. Splitting your accommodation between a night in the city and a night in Stolby Nature Reserve or even better at a countryside dacha will be the highlight of any Trans-Siberian adventure.
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The city is the administrative centre of the Krasnoyarsk Krai (state or region) which is the third largest sub-national region, by land, in the world (after the Sakha Republic in Russia and Western Australia). Situated at the mid way point of the Trans-Siberian Railway, 4,000km from Moscow, the city sits on the banks of the Yenisei River. The Yenisei River is feed by both the Tuul River that you may have noticed running through Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia, and the Angara River that you certainly can’t have missed, as the only river flowing from Lake Baikal. From Krasnoyarsk you could navigate the Yenisei north all the way to the Artic. Check out the National Geographic film of Ben Kozel’s and Colin Angus’s complete navigation of the river.
The city was initially constructed around a fort on the confluence of the Yenisei and Kacha rivers. Krasnoyarsk grew as a buffer between the native peoples of the river who fell under the protection of the Cossacks and the Mongolian nomad tribes to the south, who often engaged in raids into the area. The fort was named Krasny Yar (Кра́сный Яр) meaning red steep riverbank, after the local name for the area on which it was built. In 1822 the village received official town status and became Krasnoyarsk.
To the south of the city sits Karaulnaya Mountain, offering a perfect view over the flatlands to the northwest. The Cossacks constructed a watchtower on the peak, formerly the site of a Tatar pagan temple. On the site today you will find a small chapel dedicated to Paraskeva Pyatnitsa (Paraskevi of Iconium), who in Russia is the patroness of traders, fairs and marriage. One story owes the chapel to the grateful generosity of a merchant by the name of Novikov, who was saved from drowning and in gratitude had a wooden chapel built on the site at the turn of the 19th century. Also of interest is a small memorial plaque found on the chapel in memory of the Russian scientist and one of the early inventors of the radio, Aleksander Popov, who in 1887 observed the solar eclipse from the chapel.
The chapel offers stunning views over Krasnoyarsk and the surrounding mountains and holds a special place in Russian life since it is depicted on the 10 ruble note along with the Communal Bridge of Krasnoyarsk.
Highlights and Excursions
Explore or relax in the charmed setting of a countryside dacha, a traditional Russian holiday cottage community amongst the taiga forest. Pick wild mushrooms and berries to accompany your BBQ super, explore the area or sit on the porch with a good book. Stay overnight or visit for the day before returning to Krasnoyarsk for a night in the city. (The dacha is not offered during May and June due to tic season)
Stolby Nature Reserve
One of the main reasons for a visit to the area is the unique volcanic pillars that dot the Stolby Nature Reserve, making it a popular destination for rock climbing enthusiasts. Day or overnight excursions hike along well maintained trails and take in spectacular views. Our guide can arrange specially arrange guest accommodation in the climbers cabins or the more comfortable guesthouses.
Part of the Stolby Nature reserve these great pinnacle towers offer great hiking close to the city. Take the chairlift or hike for wonderful views of the city and Stolby Nature Reserve. Ideal for a morning excursion before heading to an overnight dacha experience or returning for a night in the city.
Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Station
One of the world’s largest hydroelectric engineering projects along with its unique canal inclined plane as part of our guide’s very entertaining ’10 ruble’ tour.
Most tours can be organized as half day, full day or overnight excursions and can be taken separately or in combination. Have a look at the following pages for full details of the accommodation and tour options we offer in Krasnoyarsk and the surrounding countryside.
page last updated 6th March 2012.