Khanty-mansiysk  – ханты-мансийск

According to written documents a settlement in the place where the modern Khanty-Mansiysk stands already existed in 1582. In the early 1980-s large reserves of oil were discovered all over Khanty-Mansia. This fact drastically changed the entire area. Currently Khanty-Mansia capital is a booming city basking in petrorubles. The city is green, cozy and well kept. The other name for the entire Khanty-Mansi area is Yugra or Ugra.

The central square.

The Rotonda Fountain.

The local government building.

The WWII memorial.

The Pioneers of Yugra monument.

Bronze wildlife.

The Yugra University.

Modern street art.

Apartment houses.

The river port.

Hydrofoils connect Ob and Irtysh riverside towns and villages.

The monument to trail-blazers.

The Molly O'Brian Hotel.

The Red Dragon Bridge across the Irtysh River.

The Resurrection Cathedral with ten commandments cascading down to the Irtysh River.

Thou shalt not create yourself an idol.

Thou shalt not perjure.

The Saint Cyril and Methodius - authors of the Cyrillic alphabet.

The view from the Resurrection Hill over the Irtysh River.

Perhaps, the main attraction of Khanty-Mansiysk is the unique archeopark dotted with life-size sculptures of prehistoric animals which once walked the Earth. The family of woolly mammoths is the most impressive.

nizhnevartovsk – нижневартовСК

Niznevartovsk appeared as a small wharf on the Ob River in 1909. It remained a quiet sleepy village till mid 1960-s. In 1965 a huge oil field was discovered in the vicinity of Lake Samotlor not far from Nizhnevartovsk. In 1972 it became a town and soon acquired an unofficial title of the oil capital of Russia. Novy Urengoy in Yamalia is considered to be the gas capital. The influx of oil money gave the local authorities a chance to rebuild and renovate the city. Many western oil-&-gas companies have offices and bases in Nizhnevartovsk. Among them «Schlumberger», «Halliburton», «Baker Hughes», «National Oilwell Varco» and some others. Nizhnevartovsk can be easily reached by car. The roads in Khanty-Mansia are fairly good and well maintained. The monument to conquerors of Samotlor welcomes travelers arriving at the city by road.

The view of the Ob River quay.

The Nativity Church.

The Pearl of Siberia Hotel.

A concert hall.

The WWII memorial.

A street artist. His brush is stolen.

A street fiddler. His bow is stolen.


The town of Yugorsk is located 380 km west of Khanty-Mansiysk. It appeared on the map in 1962 as a railway station when the railroad to Khanty-Mansiysk was being built. Currently it is a well-developed, neat and clean town taken care of by one of Russia's oil-& gas giants - Gazprom.

Gazprom office in Yugorsk.

The Saint Sergius of Radonezh Church.

The WWII and minor wars memorial.

The railway station where the town originated.

Yugorsk will be the first sizable town you will see when driving from the Sverdlovsk Oblast to Khanty-Mansiysk. For many years Khanty-Mansia being one of the richest regions of Russia had no sign marking the border with the Sverdlovsk Oblast. Finally, in 2019 the sign was installed. And a good one.

sovetsky – советский

The town of Sovetsky is just 15 km east of Yugorsk. It also appeared as a railway station when the railroad to Khanty-Mansiysk was being built. It is rather humble compared to Yugorsk.

To first settlers.

nefteyugansk – нефтеюганск

The city of Nefteyugansk is located 240 km east of Khanty-Mansiysk. It was founded in 1961 due to huge oil reserves found nearby. The rotunda below reads, "The city born by oil".

In June 1998 the then mayor of Nefteyugansk Vladimir Petukhov was assassinated. Allegedly the killing was ordered by Mikhail Khodorkovsky the owner of Yukos oil company. Petukhov opposed tax evasion and arbitrary rule exercised by the oil tycoon in the area. Khodorkovsky currently lives in London.

russkinskaya – русскинская

The village of Russkinskaya is located 190 km north of Nefteyugansk. It is predominantly populated by Khanty and Mansi people thus, it is probably the only place where a traveler can learn a bit about their culture. For this one should visit the national culture center run by a few enthusiasts who will stage a small performance demonstrating characters of Khanty fairy tales, sounds of their musical instruments and dances.

Besides the cultural center there is a very interesting taxidermy museum founded by a local enthusiast who made a thousand stuffed birds, fish and animals of all shapes and sizes.

Next to the taxidermy museum there is a park with samples of Khanty and Mansi architecture and characters of their legends and fairy tales.

Other features of Russkinskaya.

A bus stop.

kogalym – когалым

The town of Kogalym was founded in 1975 and is located 70 km from Russkinskaya. This is the headquarters of one of Russia's oil giants - LUKOIL. The company invests heavily hard-earned petrorubles into local infrastructure. The town is very clean. It has various business, sports and leisure facilities. I always take my customers here for a stroll.

The town hall.

LUKOIL offices.

The Drop of Oil monument.

LUKOIL-AIK company (ЛУКОЙЛ-АИК) once was my employer. AIK means American-Israili Company. That is why you can see Israeli flags flying proudly over Kogalym and forested tundra around it.

A typical landscape around Kogalym.

A visit to a rig site may be arranged.

pokachy – покачи

Pokachy is another LUKOIL run town. It was founded in 1984 and is located 140 km south-east of Kogalym.

An old bridge across the Agan River.

langepas – лангепас

Langepas is another LUKOIL run town. It was founded in 1980 and is located 70 km south of Pokachy.