Komi republic – республика коми

The capital of the republic Syktyvkar (Сыктывкар) has been known as a populated place since 1586 but history seems to have bypassed the city. No major events have occurred in this area. Today Syktyvkar is an industrial center as well as a rail road junction. A good place to stay overnight on the way from Kirov to Veliky Ustyug (Russian Santa Claus real estate) in the Vologda Oblast.

The Syktyvkar Hotel.

The railway station in Syktyvkar.

man-pupu-ner plateau – плато мань-пупу-нер

The Komi Republic is rich in natural resources. It is a land of taiga. The most outstanding natural feature of the Komi Republic is the weathered pillars of Man-Pupu-Ner plateau. It is a wonder of the world which still remains little discovered by the traveling public. The sight of the seven erosion quirks towering over the barren hilltop is truly weird. In winter some pillars are completely white. They measure from 30 to 42 meters in height. The pillars are accessible after sailing 200 km down a taiga river by boat and trekking 36 km on foot. Less adventurous well-off travelers can reach the plateau by helicopter which is fast and comfortable but much less exciting and enlightening compared to boating and trekking.

The most dynamic and adventurous way to reach the Man-Pupu-Ner pillars is by a snowmobile. The trip starts in a remote village in the north of the Sverdlovsk oblast and takes minimum 4 days. It is worth every cent you pay for it.

The trip starts in an abandoned village.

Continues through a thick forest.

And across unfrozen rivers.

A short video of crossing an unfrozen river by a snowmobile.

Accidents happen.

The route runs past the Mansi people dwellings.

We stay overnight in an unfinished hut.

By the end of day two you will reach the plateau and the divide between Europe and Asia.

Then you reach a snow-drifted hut, leave your things...

... and enjoy the sunset views of the weirdly shaped pillars.

Having overnighted in the snow drifted hotel ...

... travelers may continue their photo session while the sun is still low.

On the way from the plateau travelers stop for coffee at ruins of a gulag.

usinsk – усинск

The town of Usinsk is located in the northern part of the republic. It was founded in 1966 during the oil exploration campaign in this area. The town is run by one of Russia's oil giants LUKOIL. As of today (February 2021), Usinsk can be reached by road only in winter. Lovers of winter seasonal roads (zimniks) can drive from Usinsk to Naryan-Mar in Nenetsia provided tundra is solidly frozen and weather is good. Sometimes the zimnik to Naryan-Mar is closed for days because of snowstorms and ground blizzards.

The LUKOIL-KOMI office.

The town hall.

The Polar Star Hotel.

The Resurrection Church.

The Arctic Circle sign on the way from Usinsk to Nenetsia.