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AVACHA BAY. The second largest bay in the world, surrounded on all sides by fells and snowy mountain peaks. Avacha Bay is so large that it can accommodate all the world’s fleets. It offers a view of the Koryak, Avachinsky and Vilyuchinsky volcanoes. At the entrance to the bay stands the "Three Brothers" rock, an official monument of nature and the symbol of Avacha Bay and the city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
KUNGUR ICE CAVE. One of nature’s unique monuments, this cave was formed by the Great Perm Sea. Scientists estimate that it is 10-12,000 years old. Today, experts consider Kungur Ice Cave to be the world's only gypsum cave with extensive glaciation and the seventh-longest in the world. Each year, it is visited by more than 10,000 tourists.
VALDAI NATIONAL PARK. Valdai National Park was created in order to preserve Seliger, a unique system of lakes and forests of glacial origin. Seliger is described as the “pearl of Russian nature.” It is located in central Russia, between Moscow and St. Petersburg, among the forests of the Valdai Hills, 360 km north-west of Moscow. The lake area is 260 sq km, of which Seliger’s more than 160 islands make up around 38 sq km.
BASKUNCHAK SALT LAKE. A unique natural depression at the top of a huge salt mountain, penetrating miles deep into the earth and covered with sediment. The largest and most famous of all the world’s salt lakes, Baskunchak is 3 m deep and about 115 sq km in area. It is located in Astrakhan Oblast, 53 km east of the Volga.
BELUKHA MOUNTAIN. This mountain is in the Ust-Koksinsky region of the Altai Mountains, and is the highest point in Siberia at an altitude of 4.5 km. The locals revere Belukha as a sacred mountain.
MAN-PUPU-NER PLATEAU. These giant stone statues located on the Man-Pupu-Ner plateau in a remote area of the Northern Urals in the Komi Republic were formed by selective weathering of the surrounding rocks. With a total of seven pillars, each rising 30-40 m high, the Man-Pupu-Ner plateau is a popular site for sports tourism.
WHALE ALLEY. A unique monument of ancient Eskimo origin on Yttygrane Island located in the Strait of Senyavin off the south-eastern tip of Chukotka. The structure is formed of two rows of enormous bones of bowhead whales, dug in by the shore. The dimensions of the alley, which runs 500 m along the northern coast of the island, and its complex structure, are truly amazing.
KRASNOYARSK PILLARS. “Krasnoyarsk Pillars” State Nature Reserve is sited 4 km from Krasnoyarsk on the right bank of the Yenisei River in the spurs of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. The "pillars" are volcanic rocks of gray-pink syenites stone, rising above the beautiful mountain Taiga. The rocks here reach 60-90 m high. Many centuries of action by water, wind, and temperature fluctuations have produced some bizarre shapes. Almost all the rocks are named after their appearance: "Feathers," "Lion Gate," "Grandfather," "Elephant," and "Chinese Wall" are just a few of them.
BOILING LAKE. The Kuril Islands are home to about 40 active and many extinct volcanoes. The region’s lakes are renowned for their extraordinary beauty. The southern part of Kunashir Island, 541 m above sea level, is home to the boiling Ponto Lake, located inside the caldera of Golovin Volcano. The water seethes and bubbles, releasing jets of gas and vapor that whistle over the coast. In 2005-2006, a study was conducted of the volcanism on Kunashir Island. Scientists discovered that the lake formed as a result of a phreatic explosion in the center of the caldera that produced a crater, about 350 meters in diameter, which then filled with water.
WRANGEL ISLAND. This island in the Arctic Ocean, located at the intersection of the Western and Eastern hemispheres, is divided by the 180th meridian into two roughly equal parts. In 1976, Wrangel Island Reserve was set up to study and protect the natural systems of the Arctic islands, including the small neighboring island of Herald. The island is about 7670 sq km in area, of which about 4700 sq km in the central part is covered by mountains. Small glaciers, average-size lakes, and Arctic tundra are also found. Between the ridges run valleys with numerous rivers. The island is home to more than 140 rivers and streams each more than 1 km long, plus 5 rivers that stretch for more than 50 km.
ELBRUS. Mount Elbrus, located in the Caucasus, is in fact not a mountain, but a stratovolcano. It is the highest mountain in Russia. Elbrus has two summits: the western peak stands at an altitude of 5642 m and the eastern at 5621 m. The last eruption dates back to 50 B.C. ± 50 years. Because of its symbolic value as Europe’s highest point, Elbrus was the scene of fierce fighting during the Great Patriotic War, which involved units of Germany’s Edelweiss Mountain Division.
LAKE CHEDDAR. Located in the south of Tuva Basin, this lake lies on the border of Russia and Mongolia in a drainless basin flanked by Jurassic-era sand and clay rocks. The basin is surrounded by a rolling treeless plain. Since 1932, the lake has been the site of a resort. The main curative delights are brine and mud.