The Komi Republic

One of Russia's biggest waterfalls in the Arctic

A three-stage waterfall on the Halmeryu River

08.02.2023// One of the biggest waterfalls in the European part of Russia is located beyond the Arctic Circle. It will form an irresistible barrier for anyone who decides to sail down the Halmeryu River, but at the same time it will mesmerise you with its beauty. It is one of the most visited tourist spots in the Komi Republic and a must-see if you make your way to Vorkuta.

Five km north of Mount Pemboy, a beau- tiful waterfall on the Halmeryu River is located. The calm river runs leisurely through the plain until it clashes with the eastern spurs of the Pemboy uplands. Af- ter a cascade of rapids, the river plung- es into a short rocky canyon with sheer walls up to 50 m high. The three-ledge waterfall with a total height of over 10 m is the tallest in the Komi Republic and one of the tallest in the European part of Rus- sia. In 1989, it was granted the status of a nature landmark of regional significance.

It is forbidden to build economic facilities, conduct geological research or extract minerals on its territory. Also, those arriving on all-terrain vehicles or specially prepared off-road vehicles are not allowed to approach the waterfall directly—they will have to leave the vehicle on the road. If you kayak down the river itself, you'll have to stop for the beauty of the waterfall anyway. It is impassable by any ship, so you will have to navigate around the nature monument by land. This activity is usually combined with a long sightseeing tour. Everyone is welcome to rest and pitch their tents there.

The waterfall is located in the middle reaches of Khalmeryu River, downstream from the confluence of Paem- boy-Shor creek, 25 km north of the unin- habited village of Khalmer-Yu. It is only 100 km from Vorkuta, but can only be reached by specially prepared vehicles or by water. There is a tractor-and-wheel-drive road leading to the waterfall, the name of which alludes to the requirements for cross-country mobility.

Despite its remoteness from Vorkuta, the waterfall on the Khalmeryu River is very popular among tourists. It is easy to find, as the murmur of falling water can be heard from afar, serving as an excellent landmark.

Many camp here for a few days to enjoy the beauty of the falls and the unspoilt nature around to the fullest extent. The waterfall is also part of a number of tourist programmes introducing tourists to the Komi Republic. They are usually planned for several days and include excursions, fishing and more or less convenient ways to get to the sights.

The tour operators also provide some outdoor equipment, tents and sleeping bags, and follow the rules of the two protected hectares around the waterfall. For example, campfires are not recommended in protected areas, so you should bring a primus or a gas cylinder with a burner with you.

On your own, you should make sure you have warm clothes that protect you from water and wind, sturdy, high-soled boots and, of course, insect repellent. The summer tundra is populated by midges, mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects that are happy to taste new guests. An extra precaution in the form of a mosquito net would also be helpful.

Twenty-five kilometres south of the waterfall is the uninhabited Halmer-Yu settlement. It was founded in the 1940s for workers in the coal industry and closed in 1996 due to a lack of economic viability.

The military has given advance warning of the forthcoming events to all inhabitants of the Komi Republic, including representatives of the indigenous peoples who nomadise through this section of the tundra. If you are going to visit an abandoned settlement, we recommend that you first make sure that no one is going to blow up the mining settlement again on the planned dates. Locals are philosophical about this fact, visiting the ruins regularly.

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