In every region in Russia there are many beautiful, interesting places where especially willingly travelers go. They go there by car, by foot or swim there. But always there is one the most popular place, which comes to the first mind while mentioning this region. In Kareliya it is the waterfall Kivach, on Altai - Teletsky lake, on Volga - Zhiguli, on Caucasus - the Dombai glade... And the most surprising miracle of the Ural Mountains is considered to be the Kungur ice cave.
There are a lot of caves in our country - both hilly and flat. And our Ural beauty is not the most outstanding between them. In Siberia and on Caucasus, in the Volga region and Sikhote-Alina there are many different caves which are known more, and deeper than our Kungur ice cave. So, in what is the uniqueness of "the Ural miracle"? Why do people go here for two centuries and aspire to see this hardened fairy tale covered in bowels of the Ural Mountains? The matter is that the rare combination of relief, climate and karstic processes has led to absolutely unusual cave shape creation. All underground palaces on our planet are beautiful in their own way, whether they are in the Pyrenees or Dinars, in Crimean mountains or in New Zealand. But the pearl of the Ural Mountains differs from all caves with its unusual frosty ice dress. No one from the well-known caves has the same.
Kungur ice cave is in the Middle Ural, on the right shore of the river Sylvy, which is the most beautiful inflow of the river Chusovaya.
The whole length of the explored part of Kungur cave is over six km. People think the rest part is two times bigger. There are fifty eight caverns and approximately sixty lakes inside.
The main feature of the Kungur cave is that it was formed not in lime stones, as the majority of her sisters, but in soft plaster, and its inclined courses polished by thousand feet became slippery, as an ice rink. That's why it was necessary to cut down steps and to make hand-rails in some places.
The forty-meter tunnel conducts from a surface to the bowels of the Ice Mountain which contains the unique cave. The first grotto - Diamond - makes literally petrify first got here man. Only few minutes ago you stood on the heated summer sun green slope of the valley, admiring the taiga-covered ridges, and suddenly, two minutes later you found yourself ... in the middle of winter! You can feel a real winter cold, and stone arches are decorated from top to bottom with snow curtains and intergrowths of snow crystals, similar to the leaves and flowers of fantastic plants. A little further in depth, you can find hanging icicles-stalactites, they look like glass rain and you can also find standing icy stalagmites which look like white candles. All this is skillfully illuminated by lilac, orange, green, yellow rays of invisible searchlights, it glitters, sparkles, shimmers with iridescent multicolored. In the rays of searchlights ice crystals are flashing, delicate snowflakes are reflecting with dazzling fireworks. Diamond is especially beautiful in March and April.
After passing a sparkling hall, which length is 20 meters, you find yourself in a corridor that leads to a very cold grotto cave - the Arctic. He meets you with huge ice incrustations, quaint blocks of ice. And in the north-eastern part of the grotto goes up an ice-stalagmite pillar. Behind it slides down from a rocky ledge an icy waterfall. Stepping on a large stone slabs, the travelers pass through the gloomy underground passage to the Dante grotto. Silence, a chaotic heap of stones, shapes of fantastic monsters resembles hell described in Dante's Divine Comedy.
The next cave - is Crypt. It is one of the smallest underground cave halls, its area amounts to eighty square meters. People say that once there stood a hermit hut. But constantly dripping from the ceiling water in conjunction with the frost, in the end, hid the cell with ice cuirass, walled the hermit dwelling.
Oblong Cross Grotto, on the contrary, impresses with its size, reaching length of one hundred meters. From the cave goes up the vertical channel - the "pipe", underneath there is a group of stalagmites.
The grotto ruin of Pompeii has two halls with a total length amounts to eighty meters and with a width amounts to thirty five meters. Heaps of boulders on the floor of the cave look really like ancient ruins. This is the last cool grotto on the way to the underground lake. The fact is that in winter cold air moves from the entrance into the cave, and in the summer - on the contrary. Therefore, the closest to the cave entrance grotto is always the coldest.
After the ruins of Pompeii traveler finds himself in a grotto Sculpture. Its openwork hall looks as if it is created by a skilled sculptor-stonemason. It is because of the water which seeped through the thickness of plaster and formed the finest stone lace. The corridor with the length which amounts to fifteen m leads from the Sculptural to the Meteor grotto. In the center of it is a large pile of fallen boulders. Highlight in a particular way, it gives the impression of a rapidly falling meteorite. From this place through the narrow corridor you can get into the grotto Coral Reef, where the plaster bumps resemble coalescent corals.
Finally, a slippery slope corridor, where it is necessary to observe extreme caution, brings down to the Central Grotto. From here through the wet, gloomy and frightening with its echoing Ethereal grotto visitors go directly to the main attraction of Kungur cave - Titanic grotto, also called the grotto of International Friendship. In the middle of a huge underground hall is dimly gleaming in the rays of light a large lake which amounts to eleven hundred square meters and with a depth of three meters. You can boat on this lake. But you probably wouldn't like to swim in it: after all, the temperature of water is only five degrees.
After the lake begins unlit and unequipped for excursions rarely visited part of the cave. Here work scientists, assisted by cavers, they open up new passages and caves. Here you can find several picturesque halls named Long, Giant, Tower. But the most interesting is the largest in Kungur cave grotto of Geographers, it reaches 155 meters in length and contains several small lakes. Here on the walls you can find the sparkling crystals of semi-precious varieties of gypsum - selenite.
Titanic grotto is connected with grotto Khlebnikovykh by the artificial tunnel, its length is 18 m. From here through the grottoes Atlantis and Geologists tourists fall into the familiar grotto Dante, which is located not far from the exit of the cave.
Coming to the surface, travelers usually do not miss an opportunity to climb the Ice Mountain and admire views of the valley Sylvy. On the slopes of the mountain you can see traces of karst processes - funnels, cavities and failures.
But, leaving Kungur cave and going on a long trip to the Ural - to the legendary Chusovaya, fast rapids Usva, taiga Vijay, picturesque two-headed hill Kolpaki or to the ridge Basegi, the traveler will remember, perhaps, not pages of the geological history, but glittering ice stalactites of the Diamond grotto and quiet as if bewitched, dark surface of the lake in the Titanic grotto. And maybe then a traveler would like to visit other caves, which are so widespread in the Middle Urals. But even new seen underground wonders, like a 15 m waterfall of Pashiyskaya cave or ice chandeliers and curtains of Ust-Atavskaya cave on Juruzan will not eclipse the memory of snow-white walls of the Arctic and the primeval chaos of blocks of the Dante grotto.
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