The Ural mountains, stretching from the Arctic Ocean in the North to Kazakhstan in the South, form the boundary between Europe and Asia, between European Russia and Siberia.

Usva, a small village in the Ural Mountains near Devil's Finger, Permskiy Kray, Russia

Usva, a small village in the Ural Mountains near Devil's Finger


Many different indigenous groups live along the Urals’ immense length, on top of which there are hundreds of quaint rural villages such as the one in this photo nestling in their foothills. There are also some spectacular natural wonders, such as the 40m stone pillars of Mann Pupu Nyor in the Komi Republic rising inexplicably out of the grassy ground, the even larger Devil’s Finger near the village of Usva (accessible by many daily 3.5 hour buses from the city of Perm) and Stone City, an area covered in vast, almost mountain-like boulders 6km on foot from Usva. To find either Stone City or Devil’s Finger, both of which are quite a walk from the road, you will need to ask locals for directions. You could also get a taxi almost all the way to Stone City then walk the last 1.5km.

To get to Mann Pupu Nyor fly to Syktyvkar or take the train to Mikun. From Syktyvkar a train runs via Mikun to Troitsko-Pechorsk. It’s then a 2-day boat ride to Ust-Lyaga followed by a 38-kilometre walk to Mann Pupu Nyor. So not easy to reach but spectacular once you’re there!

Click here for my blog about Perm, Usva, Devil’s Finger and Stone City. It’s 817 words and 21 photos.

Click here for my blog about a Russian banya experience in a small village in the Urals. It’s 977 words and 15 photos.

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