What a great photo travel report Luba Suslyakova, the AskUral.com host, made about her recent trip from Yekaterinburg to the Siberian city of Tyumen, where she tried winter swimming in hot, really hot springs.

Depicted travel facts

Travel direction: Russia -> Siberia -> Trans-Siberian Railway -> Tyumen (2,104 km from Moscow) -> Verkhniy Bor (5 km from exit to Roschino).

Mineral hot springs in Tyumen. From the Urals to Siberia
by Luba Suslyakova

Living on the border of Europe and Asia, Yekaterinburgers tend to look westwards. Though sometimes it’s worth taking a look to the east to arrange a weekend in cold Siberia. Namely, in the mineral hot springs outside Tyumen.

Tyumen is the nearest Siberian city – 340 km from Yekaterinburg (about 4.5 hr by car if you do 120km/h) Take Sibirski Trakt (sometimes it’s also called Tyumenski Trakt) and simply drive straight on all the way. Tired of partying in the Urals my friends and I decided to take a trip to heat up our bones on January 3. Frankly speaking, the only thing that could lure me to Siberia in the middle of winter was the fact that their springs are hot, I mean really hot +45C all year long. We, however, took an old longer road to Siberia. It was bumpy but our first stop in Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha was definitely worth it.


Saviour Transfiguration Church in Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha was built in 1823 in Siberian baroque style

Nizhnyaya Sinyachikha

It is a small village and an open-air museum of wooden architecture. Local carpenter Ivan Samoylov gathered abandoned chapels all over the Urals and restored them in his native village.

Irbit

Our next stop was in Irbit – the only town on our way where we could have a lunch before submerging in healing mineral waters of Tyumen. Irbit was a disappointment both culture- and food-wise. What was once the biggest fair ground in Imperial Russia trading with tea and furs, is now a row of grey shabby houses with no infrastructure. All eateries were closed because of winter holidays. After New Year celebrations local supermarkets looked like in the worst times of war starvation: empty counters with only frozen vegetables to offer. Meanwhile we were frozen too. Siberian frost was getting more and more apparent: if it was -10 in Yekaterinburg, closer to Siberia it was already -22. Interestingly, the shelves with vodka were all full of bottles. Probably, the citizens of Irbit drink something else, but we chose vodka as the only remedy to get warm, animated and to forget about hunger. No wonder, the only photo taken in Irbit is a bit of a blur:


Although Irbit is not worth a visit, there is one thing to attract foreign tourists: famous bike Urla is still being manufactured at the Irbit motorcycle factory.

Honestly, we wanted to have a sober day but Irbit forced us to drink and apparently this is the only way to finally enter Siberia. In the old times Siberia wasn’t only an exile but also a symbol of freedom to runaway surfs and to the persecuted in Moscovia old-believers. There is an old Russian saying: Good bye Russia, I’ve crossed the Urals, I’ve run away!

The border b/w the Urals and Siberia

With the same feelings we crossed the marked border between Ural and Siberia and also between Sverdlovskaya Oblast and Tyumenskaya.

Typically Ural faces: where Asia meets with Europe. Larisa of semi-Asian Bashkir origin (left) and me with Belarusian roots (right):

We did find a nice café near the border. Café Ogonyok provided tasty meal, welcome prices and interesting (Siberian?) ambiance:

Finally hot springs in Tyumen!

Directions:

Before entering Tyumen at roundabout take exit to Roschino. In 3-5 km watch for a sign on the left “Verkhniy Bor” Hot springs are outdoors swimming-pools with mineral water springing from 1.233 m depth. Mineral water contains bromine and sodium chloride. Water temperature is +45. Hot springs are open daily until 4 a.m. Entry fee – 200R.

There are indoor changing rooms, cafes and saunas. However, the place may be packed during public holidays. Then you can drive further down the road (20-25km) to get to the second larger pool near Pionerski Lager (Children Camp). That’s where we went to.

There is no infrastructure though, so pull up to the pool as close as possible. You’ll have to change clothes in a car and what’s more to run good 30 meters to the water in your bathing suit! That was a challenge with outside temperature -25. What’s more, one of my friends left slippers home and had to run barefoot. Needless to say, he sobered up immediately!

Useful swimming tips:

– bring your towel, slippers and a woolen hat if the air temperature is -10 or lower
– stay in the water for 15-20 min. then take a break before bathing again;
– you will feel very relaxed after bathing so a driver should consider having some rest before driving back.

Hotels to stay:

– Istochnik Hotel (3.000R a night, includes entry fee to the hot springs)
– Sosnovaya Hotel (1.600R a night, 3.100 for a cottage for 3 persons)
– Baza Zeya (860R for a 3 persons bedroom)

Plus you can book any hotel in Tyumen.

Pictures and travel report brought by Luba Suslyakova, AskAltai.com.

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