A trip to Chelyabinsk Region will never be boring or humdrum. Those who prefer outdoor activities and pristine nature will enjoy hiking through the region's three national parks or rafting down rivers. Inquiring minds will get a kick out of excursions to enterprises and museums, and riders will soar through the kilometres of powdery snow. If you still have any doubts, check out our list of reasons to visit the Southern Urals.
In February 2013, Chelyabinsk Region became known around the world when a huge meteor fell into Lake Chebarkul. Although the powerful shock wave shattered glass windows tens of kilometres away from the landing site, there were, fortunately, no casualties. Today, the largest piece of the meteor is preserved under a glass dome in the State Historical Museum of the Southern Urals in Chelyabinsk. The dome that covers the meteor is raised once a year for the anniversary of the impact. On this day, visitors can pull on a pair of gloves and touch this cosmic visitor. The site museum also sells pieces of the meteor that come with a certificate of authenticity.
If you're beginning your adventure in the city of Chelyabinsk, stop by Kirovka Street in the very centre of the city. No matter what time of the day you visit, you will always be surrounded by both residents and tourists enjoying the relaxing atmosphere of the promenade and admiring old buildings, stores, cafes and souvenir shops. In the winter, the 'Chelyabinsk Arbat' is decorated with thousands of lights that create a festive New Year's spirit. However, the real draw of Kirovka Street is the sculptures. There are nearly 30 sculptures in all. First-time visitors to Chelyabinsk will love peering in the mirror with the sculpture of the Coquette, tossing a coin to the statue of Beggar Man and listening to the Saxophonist.
There are over 10 ski resorts in Chelyabinsk Region, perfect for both beginners and experienced skiers. The most famous resort is 'Solnechnaya Dolina' ('Sunny Valley') in Miass. It's often the site of international freestyle and ski cross competitions. In fact, the Snegir (Bullfinch) multimodal route finishes up at Solnechnaya Dolina every year. Skiers are transferred from the train to the bus and a ski pass is included in the price of the ticket.
Almost all of the ski resorts have artificial snow and night lighting.
Can a river be made of stone? At the Taganay National Park it is! The river is made of huge multi-ton boulders that 'flow' between the Greater and Middle Taganay ridges. The route to Bolshaya Kamennaya River is easy and it's even accessible to families with children.
But this is far from the only attraction at the national park. If you want to visit all of the summits in the park, we recommend staying at Taganay for at least a few days. The memory of these severe mountains, the endless taiga and the delicious spring water will last a lifetime.
This isn't as scary as it sounds when you visit the cordon 'At Three Peaks' in Zyuratkul National Park. This is the site of the 'Sokhatka' elk house, where the park wardens raise elk calves that have lost their mothers to poachers. When the elk grow up, they leave the house for the forest. However, come wintertime, many of the 'graduates' return to the cordon for food. If you're planning a visit, don't forget to pack a carrot, an apple or some cabbage. This will be sure to get their attention!
Zyuratkul National Park is located in the highest part of Chelyabinsk Region. If you're in the mood for some physical activity, we recommend a climb up the Big Nurgush Mount, which is the highest point in the region. The trail for this mountain also begins at the cordon 'At Three Peaks'.
You won't find a souvenir like this anywhere else in the world. In the Zlatoust city of gunsmiths, visitors can forge their very own steel roses with the help of an experienced blacksmith.
Zlatoust is famous for its cold steel weapons that are decorated with engravings and precious stones. The people of Zlatoust create more than just weapons. Their engraved steel create wall panels also make excellent gifts.
There are several dozen weapon forges in the city that both make knives and hold tours. We recommend taking an engraving master class at the Oruzheinik, forge a rose and a heart in the AiRovka arms settlement, and see the oldest production facilities at the Zlatoust arms factory.
How is steel made from cast iron? How is steel made into sheets for future cars, rails and other products? Learn all of this and more at the Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works, the largest metallurgical plant in Russia. The plant has been holding tours of their facilities since 2018. Tourists can watch as metal melts before their own eyes in blast furnaces, see it rolled into sheets of a necessary thickness, and so much more. Before the tour, visitors get changed into the same uniforms worn by real steelworkers, with overalls, heavy boots, a helmet and gloves. This ensures safety in the steel-making shops and gets everyone into the working mood.
Another thing that combines the uncombinable! The 'Dry Waterfalls', or Alekseevsky Ravine, is a beautiful natural attraction in the Ay river valley. These stone steps were formed by an ancient cascade of waterfalls. For just a few days in April, the waterfalls come to life once again and are filled with water.
Alekseevsky Log is just one of the many natural landmarks that tourists can visit when traveling down the Ay River. The boat trip is calm and family-friendly.
Even if you are not a fan of hiking, rafting and mountain skiing, you'll find something to do in the Southern Urals. This is the land of 3,000 lakes! The most beautiful lakes in the region are Turgoyak, Uvildy, Zyuratkul, Itkul, and Kisegach. Visitors to the lakes can bask in the sun, have a swim, and go paddle boarding or scuba diving.
Bad weather? Not a problem! That means it's time to go to the Etkul thermal springs. Here, the warm water is perfect for swimming, even in the snow.
Food tourism isn't cancelled! The food in the Urals is simple, nourishing and meaty. It's impossible to leave the table hungry. We recommend trying different kinds of dumplings at the Uralskiye Pelmeni restaurant in the city of Chelyabinsk or at the Dumpling Museum in the town of Miass, buying some delicious cheese at the Izvestnaya cheese factory (Syrostan village) and having a cup of tea with a piece of the world's most delicious cherry cake at the Schastlivyi Kuzyuk restaurant in the city of Zlatoust.