Arkhangelsk Oblast

The Underground Kingdom of Pinega

The Pinega Caves are one of the most mysterious places in the Arkhangelsk region

12.04.2022 // Underground halls, karst corridors, mysterious ice crystals—these are all things you can see during a tour of the Pinega Caves. One of the most famous and mysterious landmarks of the Arkhangelsk region attracts thousands of tourists at any time of year, but the interiors of the caves look most spectacular in the period from January to March.

The Pinega Caves are one of the most mysterious landmarks of the Arkhangelsk region. Most of the caves found in the region are located in the middle course of the Pinega River. They were formed in the cracks of karst rocks, the age of which exceeds hundreds of millions of years. And the process of formation has not stopped: every year new corridors appear, entrances open and close, and gaps and curiously shaped outcrops form. Each year, the intricate ice build-ups create a new and original interior of Pinega's underground kingdom.

Only as Part of a Guided Tour

Most of the large caves are hard to access and unsafe, so they should be visited only by experienced cavers. The most popular of the caves that are open to visitors is the 1,622-metre long Golubinsky Depression. It is located on the right bank of the Pinega River, on the territory of the Golubinsky Geological Reserve, about 17 km away from the Pinega settlement. The entrance to the cave can be found at the mouth of the Tarakanya Shchelya (lit.: Cockroach Crack) ravine. The only way to visit it is by joining a guided tour.

The Pinega Caves are shallow yet very stretched-out. The Kulagorskaya-Troya system, which is more than 17 km long, is considered the largest gypsum cave of the European North.

Protected Caves

The exploration of the system of underground passages at the Pinega River began in the 1960s. In 1974, the Pinega State Nature Reserve was created to study and preserve the karst caves and northern taiga. This is the first nature reserve in the northern taiga subzone of the East European Plain. The conservation area is home to about 90 caves, including the Golubinsky Depression.

In 2002, the nature reserve staff opened the Karst Museum in the village of Pinega. There you can learn more about the karst landscape of the Pinega region and the history of its exploration.

How to Get There

Tourists can order guided tours and transfer on their own or contact the Arkhangelsk Region Tourist Information Center by calling
+7 (182) 21-40-82.

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