In the very centre of Siberia, there is the edge of bizarre rocks formed by solidified magma that almost broke through to the surface of the earth and turned into a series of fantastic statues. This region is called Krasnoyarsk Pillars.
Scientists believe that nature is the creator of this miracle, but recently a hypothesis has appeared about the involvement of some ancient extinct civilizations in the appearance of rocks of a very strange shape.
Stone incarnations of ancient Deities
The state natural reserve “Stolby”, which contains many bizarre stone statues, is located on the northwestern spurs of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. The large Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk is located right next to Stolby, and you can get to the border of the reserve by city bus. It is thanks to the people of Krasnoyarsk, who at once protected this unique creation of nature, that the reserve was founded in 1925. Now its area is 47,219 hectares. The bizarre rocks in this region have been known for a long time.
The Siberian explorer Prokhor Seleznev wrote the following about the Pillars in 1823:
“The rocks are great and wonderful. And they are in a remote desert fifteen miles, and maybe twenty. Only it is difficult to get there, the horse will not pass, the foot will not pass, and there are a lot of wild animals. They tell different stories about them. Perhaps the truth is they say that in other lands you will not see this. And no one will be able to climb these rocks and what they are unknown.”
In ancient times, bizarre stone giants were objects of worship for the local Tofalar inhabitants. They saw in the Pillars the earthly incarnations of the gods because many of the rocks with their outlines resembled people or animals and birds. It is not surprising that the ancient people worshipped such rocks and made sacrifices to them, hoping to earn the mercy of the deities and seeking their protection.
It is worth noting that the above-mentioned researcher Prokhor Seleznev was not the first scientist who saw the Pillars. In between 1720 and 1727, this wondrous place was visited more than once by Daniil Gottlieb Messerschmidt, who, during his seven years of Siberia exploration, visited Krasnoyarsk three times. The famous navigator Vitus Bering also passed Stolby around 1733-1734.
Members of the land detachment of the Second Kamchatka Expedition, naturalists and naturalists academician Johann Georg Gmelin and his assistant (future academician) Stepan Petrovich Krasheninnikov also visited the Stolby Pillars in 1735. The greatest explorer of Siberia, professor of natural history Peter Simon Pallas in between 1771 and 1773, who lived in Krasnoyarsk for almost a year, did not disregard this natural phenomenon.
Nature has tried very hard here
In 1842, the famous geologists A.P. Chikhachev and Hoffman visited Krasnoyarsk, who first of all visited the already famous “Pillars”. Three years later, Chikhachev wrote about them in one of his books:
“The pillars attracted our attention, these are four hilly pyramids, standing in pairs, formed from rounded masses, erected on top of each other with incredible courage: one might say – colossal ruins some cyclopean structure … Here is an area of exceptional granite, often rising in layered slabs … From the height of one of these observatories, or natural watchtowers – which are so often granite peaks – one can appreciate how great the importance of this rock in the study of the structure of the earth.”
It was Chikhachev who managed to understand the nature of the Krasnoyarsk Pillars and established how these unique structure were formed. 400 million years ago, in the Devonian period, in this place, red-hot magma rose from the depths of the planet and scattered on the earth’s surface. However, it never managed to break free, the magma froze in the cracks and voids of sedimentary rocks. Erosion processes with the help of sun, wind, water, ice and frost gradually destroyed the limestone, sandstone and shale that contained these igneous rocks that did not reach the surface.
So these rocks, represented by pink syenite, appeared on the surface in the form of stone pillars of unusual shape. About who these natural “sculptures” look like, their names speak directly – “Grandfather”, “Grandmother”, “Granddaughter”, “Great-grandfather”, “Camel”, “Hippopotamus”, “Sparrows”, “Musk deer”, “Big Berkut”, “Small Berkut”.
The great Russian artist Surikov, also a native of Krasnoyarsk, spoke with enthusiasm about the local sights: “I have seen the Swiss and Italian Alps, but nowhere have I seen such beauty as this… Nature tried very hard, creating a whole gallery of unique figures from stone…”
Natural “trainer” for climbers
It is worth noting that the Pillars are a kind of “simulator” prepared by nature itself for those who are attracted by the tops of inaccessible mountains. It is not surprising that being near the Pillars, many wondered how to climb their peaks. In 1851, one of the young Krasnoyarsk residents was the first to conquer the First Pillar rock. This enthusiast found many followers, one after another were conquered many local rocks, first “Second Pillar”, then “Grandfather”, “Feathers” and other stone “statues”.
Young people climbed the rocks without belay or climbing equipment, local climbing enthusiasts called themselves “Stolists”. A number of unwritten rules arose among them, aimed at preserving the nature of the Pillars.
It is quite possible to say that even before the establishment of a state reserve here in 1925, a reserve regime was already operating in Stolby voluntarily.
In the reserve, there are more than eighty imposing stone “pillars”, which are fearlessly storming the “pillars”, over and over again honing their skills. They are represented by four groups of rocks. The nearest (3 km from the city) of them is called “Takmak”, it contains the rocks “Big Takmak”, “Small Takmak”, “Chinese wall”, “Vorobushki”, “Ermak”, “Glagol” and others. The area with the second group of rocks is called “Kaltatsky”, it is located 1.5 km east of “Takmak”. Its most famous rocks are called “Sunken Boat” and “Bell”.
The most popular among the “Stolists” is the “Aesthetic” region, located 13 km from Krasnoyarsk. It is in this area that you can see the most important and remarkable Pillars – Perja (Plumage), Ded (Grandfather), Pervy Stolb (The First Pillar), Lvinnye vorota (Lions Gate), Mitra (Friend), Savage, etc. are the names of rocks known to every schoolboy and schoolgirl of Krasnoyarsk. While the highest is the “Second Pillar” reaching 90 meters. “Aesthetic” is the most populous area of the reserve.
In addition to local Stolbists, there are always a lot of tourists and rock climbers from Novosibirsk, Irkutsk and other Russian cities and neighbouring countries. There are several huts in the area, allowing those who wish to spend a few days here.
The Dikikh Pillars area is the most remote; which is least often visited by both Stolbists and tourists arriving in Krasnoyarsk. Here are the rocks “Fortress”, “Baba”, and other Pillars, not very well known even to local climbers. It is worth noting that from the end of the 1940s to the beginning of the new millennium, 16 collections of scientific papers were published about the reserve, its geology, ecology, flora and fauna.
Was there an ancient city here?
For a long time, Siberia was considered an unpromising area for archaeological excavations. However, in recent years, the attitude of many historians and archaeologists to the Siberian expanses has changed significantly. Various artefacts, huge megaliths were discovered here, many cities are indicated on ancient maps on the territory of Siberia. There is no doubt that sensational discoveries await Siberian scientists in the coming years.
Relatively recently, a hypothesis appeared about a certain man-made Krasnoyarsk Pillars and their connection with an ancient extinct civilization. Some of the Pillars are somewhat similar to ancient ruins. For example, the “Wall of China” resembles an ancient fortification, and the “Lion Gate” – the Cyclopean Lion Gate in ancient Mycenae. In the light of this hypothesis, many of the Pillars are positioned as the remains of religious and other structures, as well as ancient monuments.
On the Internet, you can find the statement that the Krasnoyarsk Pillars appeared in their place only around 7th-2nd millennia BC. Here, allegedly, was the cult “city of the dead”, which was badly damaged during the atomic war described in the ancient Indian epic “Mahabharata”. It is assumed that “Grandfather” and some other bizarre stone figures could have been created from huge blocks of specially softened stone.
However, this fascinating hypothesis, which has become very popular with some city officials, has caused indignation among many mainstream scientists. According to them, these huge structures are just some wondrous instances of natural rock formations which have no historical value in that sense. Around the globe, various ancient mysterious structures, like Stonehenge, provide an influx of foreign tourists, and this is a lot of money for the city treasury which may be the key reason behind such extraordinary claims and hypothesis.