Krasnoyarsk Kray, Russia

Krasnoyarsk Territory is the largest region of Central Siberia. Although its administrative borders cover a vast territory from the Sayan Mountains to the Arctic Ocean, geographically and culturally the Krasnoyarsk Territory is divided into three approximately equal parts. This guide is dedicated to the southern one, which extends to Yeniseisk and Angara. To the north is the taiga Evenkia, and even further north is the harsh polar Taimyr.

The south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory is one of the most beautiful corners of Siberia. The mountain taiga on the Sayan spurs closely borders here with beautiful forest-steppe. The region is deserted in a Siberian way, but at the same time it is not deprived of transport: moving around it is only a little more difficult than somewhere in Central Russia. People come here most often for the sake of natural beauty, although there are also interesting historical cities in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory.



Krasnoyarsk is not a popular tourist destination, although there is a lot to see. The city is interesting for its antiquity: there are no less pre-revolutionary houses in it than in Yeniseisk; Among them are carved wooden ones, merchant stone ones, and even large shopping arcades of a metropolitan scale. Another, no less interesting aspect of Krasnoyarsk is natural. The city stands on the slopes of the Eastern Sayan Mountains, which together with the Yenisei create a unique topography: bare hills and taiga-covered rocks. It’s worth staying in Krasnoyarsk for at least a couple of days, one of which is dedicated to the surrounding area: the famous Pillars or a trip along the Yenisei towards the Krasnoyarsk Hydroelectric Power Station.

Achinsk welcomes those who travel to the Krasnoyarsk Territory from the west. At its core, it is an industrial city that grew up around a giant alumina refinery, although there is also an old part in Achinsk - quarters of good merchant buildings, decorated with wonderful stone carvings. Closer to the outskirts there is a pre-revolutionary military town, the only one in Central Siberia. The city also owes its industry to another, less traditional attraction - its own tram system that delivers workers to the plant. In Achinsk the roads to Krasnoyarsk and Abakan diverge, and the latter passes through most of the interesting places in Khakassia.

Divnogorsk is a city on the Yenisei in the vicinity of Krasnoyarsk, interesting for its picturesque rocky landscapes and proximity to the majestic Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power station, the lower of the cascade of three Yenisei power plants. In one direction from Divnogorsk, it’s a stone’s throw to the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir, a favorite vacation spot, along the banks of which there are several caves. In the other direction, downstream, is the village of Ovsyanka, the birthplace of the writer Viktor Astafiev, where a memorial museum is located. In addition to the wonderful scenery on the road connecting Krasnoyarsk with Divnogorsk, there are several places where you can buy Yenisei fish or taste it cooked in the best traditions of Siberian cuisine.

Yeniseysk is the ancient capital of Eastern Siberia and the first Russian city on the Yenisei. Having grown up on river trade, Yeniseisk completely lost its significance when the Trans-Siberian Railway passed through Krasnoyarsk, and was literally mothballed somewhere out of time with all its wooden houses, old signs and way of life that had not changed for decades. This alone, along with the majestic Yenisei, is worth crossing the 300 km of emptiness that separates Yeniseisk from Krasnoyarsk. Another, no less interesting attraction of the city is the old temples, built in a special type of Baroque style. North of Yeniseisk all roads end, and the real Siberian taiga begins, where there are more animals than people.

Kansk is located in the east of the Krasnoyarsk Territory on the road to Irkutsk. The most dramatic events of the civil war on Krasnoyarsk soil took place in the city, so many died here, and the Czech writer Jaroslav Hasek only stayed late and managed to get married. In recent years, the city has been chosen as the venue for an alternative film festival - of course, Kansky: with all the accompanying, no less ironic attributes. The city behind these curiosities is less interesting than, for example, Achinsk or Minusinsk, but it has its share of old buildings, including wooden ones. Nearby is the Ilanskaya station, where all Trans-Siberian trains stop for a long time to change locomotives.

Lesosibirsk is a natural and inevitable addition to the ancient Yeniseisk. The city, which grew up around timber processing plants, has long surpassed its historical neighbor both in the number of residents and in the existing infrastructure: there are decent hotels and good city cafes, which have never existed in Yeniseisk and most likely never will. In recent years, Lesosibirsk has decided to acquire its own attractions, and although it remains a city “worth visiting if you have time,” two beautiful newly built churches are among the best monuments of this kind in Siberia, and the local museum of contemporary Christian art in Russia is almost not the only one. Not far from the city is the picturesque spit of the Yenisei and Angara.

Minusinsk is a neighbor of Abakan and the oldest city in southern Siberia. Its fate is somewhat similar to Yeniseisk: in the 19th century it was a major center of trade and in fact the capital of the endless Khakassian steppes, but then it found itself away from the railway and fell into oblivion, from which, however, it emerged with the construction of a bridge across the Yenisei and the long-awaited launch of trains. Minusinsk has a well-preserved historical center with all the attributes of a wealthy pre-revolutionary city, including, for example, a theater. No less interesting is the local museum of local lore, the collection of which is not inferior to the one in Krasnoyarsk. The road from Minusinsk leads straight to Tuva, although you can stay longer - for example, in Shushenskoye.





Other sights

The Yenisei is one of the main Siberian rivers. Stretching for 3.5 thousand km from the Sayan Mountains to the Arctic Ocean, it serves as the only transport corridor in these parts, connecting the vast northern regions with the mainland. In the southern part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, it is easy to drive up to the Yenisei by car, and north of Krasnoyarsk you can take a “cruise” along the river on a regular ship and see hard-to-reach places, almost untouched by civilization.

Ergaki is a mountain range in the Western Sayan Mountains, conveniently located in the area of the Abakan-Kyzyl highway. At altitudes of 1500-2000 m above sea level, you will encounter a variety of landscapes: taiga, alpine meadows, mountain lakes, rocky tundra and just rocks of a characteristic, unusually sharp shape - one of the calling cards of this area. The Ergaki massif belongs to natural parks; in the valley next to the road there are tourist centers and a visitor center, where tourists will be provided with all the necessary information, but otherwise these are ordinary, wild mountains, where you need to go on a hike for at least a day, taking with you provisions and taking the necessary precautions.

Krasnoyarsk Pillars is a nature reserve on the spurs of the Eastern Sayans in the vicinity of Krasnoyarsk. It is unusual for its huge rocky outcrops, which equally attract experienced rock climbers and ordinary travelers who come here to see magnificent mountain scenery just a stone's throw from a large Siberian city. The pillars are gradually being overgrown with infrastructure, a year-round chairlift has also been built for them, but the traditional (also the most correct) way to visit the pillars still involves a hike from the city, followed by a walk through the mountain taiga and, possibly, rock climbing. This is the main excursion site in the Krasnoyarsk region.

The Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve is located in the flood zone of the reservoir of the same name - in the place where the Yenisei crosses the Western Sayan Mountains. Although this is happening in the very south of Siberia, getting here is no easier than somewhere in Taimyr: there are harsh mountains around, and there are no roads and no roads in sight. You need to go to the reserve on a multi-day hike with a difficult entry and exit - the reward will be breathtaking rocky landscapes and the majestic Yenisei.

Shushensky Bor is a national park in the Western Sayan Mountains, a light version of the Sayano-Shushensky Nature Reserve. The flat part of the park (Perovskoye forestry) is located right on the outskirts of the village of Shushenskoye, and you can easily go there for a walk for an hour, which, by the way, was not disdained by the most famous resident of this village, V.I. Lenin. More interesting is the mountain forestry area directly adjacent to the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power station, where you will see a reservoir surrounded by rocks and be able to conquer the Borus ridge. All this, however, requires at least a one-day hike in a completely autonomous mode, since there is no infrastructure in the park.

Shushenskoye is a village in the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, which has become synonymous with the wilderness, not least due to the fact that it was here that V.I., who was in Siberian exile, spent three years. Lenin. Having gotten rid of the taint of ideology, Shushenskoye has turned into a nice and unique ethnographic museum in the entire Krasnoyarsk region, where you will see a reconstruction of an old Siberian village. Along with the neighboring village of Ermakovskoye, Shushenskoye is the southernmost regional center of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Then the route goes into the mountains and, having crossed them, leads to Tuva.


Putorana Plateau
Sayano-Shushensky nature reserve


How to get there

In addition to the obvious route to Krasnoyarsk, you can come to the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory through Abakan, which has its own airport that receives a couple of Moscow flights. The Trans-Siberian Railway passes through Achinsk, Krasnoyarsk and Kansk. Abakan (and neighboring Minusinsk) has its own railway, which carries direct trains not only from the Trans-Siberian Railway, but also from the Kemerovo region.

There are fewer roads. The Krasnoyarsk region is connected to the rest of Russia by the only thread of the P255 highway, which in the west comes from Mariinsk (where roads from Tomsk and Kemerovo converge), and in the east it goes further to Irkutsk. All other interregional roads, if they exist at all, are considered extreme: you should not drive there without prior preparation.



Trips in the northern and southern parts of the Krasnoyarsk Territory differ radically. If in the south there are roads, intercity buses and even trains, and the journey is not fundamentally different from other Russian regions, then to the north of Yeniseisk and Angara year-round roads disappear, and regular transport even more so, so the journey takes on the character of an expedition that requires serious preparation.

By plane
There is a lot of local aviation in Krasnoyarsk, which is focused on hard-to-reach northern areas. In the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, aircraft are in little demand. A couple of times a week there are flights to Kodinsk, Boguchany and Motygino located on the Angara, as well as to the village of Severo-Yeniseisky, lost among the taiga - there are year-round roads there, but often of poor quality and broken by ferry crossings. In places where tourists usually go, there are airports in Yeniseisk and Shushenskoye, but there are no regular flights from Krasnoyarsk, and traveling by land is much more interesting.

By ship
By a large margin, the easiest and most convenient way to travel around the Krasnoyarsk Territory is the passenger ships “A. Sailors" and "V. Chkalov", plying along the Yenisei. They go from Krasnoyarsk to Dudinka and provide the opportunity to take a river cruise, although you won’t have time to explore individual cities and towns along the way, unless you stay there for a few days until the next ship (and they go once every 5 days or even less often ). Motor ships, like all other (small) passenger shipping on the Yenisei, are operated by the PassengerRechTrans company. Previously, it was difficult to buy a ticket from another city, but in 2020 tickets are sold on the website You just need to come to the gate with a printed receipt, and that’s it, you don’t need to get a paper ticket. Departure from Krasnoyarsk is scheduled at 7 am. You can board in Krasnoyarsk in the evening, and upon boarding you can pay extra for an overnight stay in a cabin. The ship arrives in Dudinka in the evening, and you can spend the night on it only if you are sailing from Dudinka.

Cruises along the Yenisei are a ploy from travel agencies that organize an excursion program in Norilsk, and then put tourists on a regular ship to Yeniseisk itself, from where the bus tour begins. You can organize all the same things yourself and for much less money by taking a regular ticket for a ship. There are offers of cruises on a special, non-scheduled ship with an unusual excursion program, but this is a VIP-level event, and such cruises cost more than a week-long tour to the other side of the world.

There is no regular passenger shipping on the tributaries of the Yenisei, and any other has its own specifics, since even large rivers like the Lower Tunguska are navigable only during high water. The main means of transportation here are motor boats.

Land transport
In the south of the Krasnoyarsk Territory there are several asphalt roads, and this is generally sufficient for exploring the cities. There are no roads north of Podkamennaya Tunguska, except for the lonely highway connecting Norilsk with Dudinka and the airport. In the interval, i.e. approximately from the Angara to the Podkamennaya Tunguska, there are several winter roads connected to ice crossings across large rivers. Current information about this road infrastructure is available on the website of the Krasnoyarsk Road Administration.

Bridges across the Yenisei exist only in Krasnoyarsk and Divnogorsk. The only bridge across the Angara in the Krasnoyarsk Territory is in Boguchany. There are dozens of ferry crossings; their schedules are on the website of the same road administration and passenger shipping company.

The southern part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory can be explored by car: the roads (if there are any) are in decent condition, and long distances are compensated by the low congestion of the roads and the views from them. There are car rental points in Krasnoyarsk, and you can also rent a car in Abakan and go from there to the very south of the region - to Shushenskoye and Minusinsk.


What to do

The Sayan Ring is a tourist route passing through the cities of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Khakassia and Tuva.

The Sayan Ring includes five main settlements - Krasnoyarsk, Divnogorsk, Abakan, the village of Shushenskoye and Kyzyl. The rest of the list (Minusinsk, Sayanogorsk, Kyzyl-Mazhalyk, Askiz, etc.) is debatable.