Lipetsk region

The State Nature Reserve “Galichya Gora” (Галичья Гора, государственный природный заповедник)

The Galichya Gora State Nature Reserve ranks as one of the most important natural sites of the Lipetsk region. It is notable not only for its rich biodiversity but also for its small size – at just 19 ha, it is inscribed on the Guinness book of records as the world’s smallest state nature reserve.

Several legends try to explain the etymology of the name Galichya Gora (“the mountain of Galich”). According to one of them, it owes its name to jackdaws (galka in Russian) that used to make their nests on the mountain. According to a different version, the name comes from river pebbles – gal’ka – that cover the Don riverbed.

In the 16th century, Tsar Ivan IV the Terrible ordered for a frontier guard tower to be built here, but it was only 300 years later that researchers from Moscow noted a variety of rare plant species and the wide range of environmental habitats present in this small area.

The nature reserve is divided into six zones spanning the central part of the Lipetsk region in the valleys of the Don and Tikhaya Sosna rivers and their tributaries.

The oldest protected cluster is the Galichya Gora itself, located in the Zadonsk district on the right bank of the Don. Here one can find almost a thousand rare plant species, including 40 living relics. Fans of extreme sports and impressive natural landscapes will certainly enjoy the fantastic cliffs found in the area.

On the opposite bank, Morozova Gora (mountain Morozova) is located: here one finds the administrative buildings of the nature reserve – the museum, the central country estate building, and one of the best birds of prey breeding centers in Russia.

The nature reserve’s smallest area is the Voronov Kamen (Crow’s Rock), cut in two by a deep gorge on the right bank of the Vorgol river valley. This area is popular with rock climbers.

A bit further, one finds the Vorgolskie Skaly (Vorgolskie Rocks). According to a legend, in the late 14th century, the famous general Tamerlane hid a treasure in one of the local caves. While this may or may not be true, the medium-height cliffs in this area are great for climbing.

Plyushan is the fifth area of the reserve, located in the Krasninsk district and owing its name to the Plyushanka river. It is home to a true pearl of nature – a real alpine meadow, strewn with wild chrysanthemums and bellflowers.

The final, sixth area of the Galichya Gora reserve is the Bykova Sheya (Bull’s Neck) – a picturesque piece of steppe with deep natural pits, located in the Lipetsk district.

Best time for visiting the State Nature Reserve Galichya Gora is a period from May to September.

How to get to the State Nature Reserve Galichya Gora

The  State Natural Reserve Galichya Gora has 6 locations:

Location “Galichia Gora”

Right bank of the river Don, near the village Galichia Gora.

  • 29 km north of Zadonsk,
  • or 52 km west of Lipetsk.

Location “Morozova Gora”

Left bank of the river Don, near the village Donskoye.

  • 28 km north of Zadonsk,
  • or 51 km west from Lipetsk.

 

Location “Voronov Kamen” and location “Vorgolskie Rocks”

Along the river Vorgol bank, east from the village Riabinki

  • 23 km south-west from Elets,
  • or 64 km north-west from Zadonsk,
  • or 100 km from Lipetsk.

 

Location “Plyushan”

Along the river Plyushanka, north-east from the village Yablonovo

  • 67 km north-west of Lipetsk.

 

Location “Bykova Sheya” (Bull’s Neck)

  • 3 km west of the village Kamennaya Lubna,
  • or 47 km north-west of Lipetsk.

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