National Park “Ugra”
National Park “Ugra” is a UNESCO biosphere reserve located in Kaluga region. The total area of two thirds of forested area between the rivers Oka, Zizdra and Ugra is almost 10 thousand hectares, and together with the protection zone – 150 thousand hectares. Stretched from north to south for 200 km, the park has become a popular tourist destination due to the diversity of landscapes and the abundance of historical sites. More than 1,100 plant species and 300 animals have been found on its territory, 24 of which are included in the Red Book of Russia. “Ugra” is one of the most important centers of bison population recovery, now there are about 50 giant ungulates living freely in the park.
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Video: National Park “Ugra”
Structure of “Ugra”
The national park “Ugra” is divided into 3 areas according to the type of landscape. The northern part, which occupies 64% of the territory, is located on the border with the Smolensk region in the basin of the river Ugra. It is a hilly plain with mixed forests and separate boggy areas with a large Morozovsky bog. Southern part is the floodplain of the river Zizdra with the archaeological monument Chertovo Gorodishche, 200-year-old oak groves and springs. The smallest area with Lake Tish in the valley of the Oka River, only 4% of the park, is concentrated around the village of Vorotynska on the river Vysse.
According to the type of land use in the Ugra National Park there are 7 clusters. The tenth part of the reserve is inaccessible for tourists in principle, another 24% of the area is a specially protected area with a lot of gamekeepers. The protected landscape areas and historical sites with ecological and cultural-historical routes are intended for tourists. The rest of the land is reserved for visitor services – camping and picnic areas – and household needs.
Forest near the village of Ilyinskoe, Peremyshlsky District, Kaluga Region Flies among the threads of cladonia
History of the National Park
The National Park was created in 1997 and already five years later it was recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. However, the history of these places is much older – the valleys between the Ugra and Zizdra were inhabited many thousands of years ago. In “Ugra” 139 archaeological sites have already been explored, mainly in the Ugorsky area, and at least the same number of sites in the Zizdrinsky area is to be studied. Stands of the Stone Age have been found in the park, but the most interesting monuments are more recent ones – of the turn of the I-II millennium, when Slavic tribes lived here already, and of the Great standing on the Ugra River in 1480, which put an end to the Mongol yoke. Archaeological and other indirect data indicate that these historical events took place between the village of Dvortsy and the village of Kamelgino.
In the 16th-17th centuries, the outskirts of Kaluga became an important part of the country’s defense system against the raids of steppe nomads. It was then that the Kozelskie serfs appeared – natural forests combined with man-made ramparts, paling walls and ditches. From the ancient fortifications preserved 15-kilometer-wide strip of 3-4 km on the right bank of the Jizdra. Ugra valley played a serious role during the Great Patriotic War. On the territory of the future park was moving the front line in the battle for Moscow, in 1942 at the Ugorsky section was held the battle for Yukhnov. The park was finally liberated in March 1943. In memory of the tragic events remained 34 mass graves, traces of trenches and artillery fire on the territory of “Ugra”.
Architectural Monuments “Ugra”
In the villages of Kaluga region on the territory of the park “Ugra” there are 23 preserved churches, mainly of XIX century. Many of them need restoration as well as 27 tumbledown noble estates of the XVII-XIX cc. In Berezichi, 6 kilometers from Kozelsk, you can see a landscape park and the ruins of a two-story house of the early 20th century that belonged to the Obolensky family. Stepanovo-Pavlishchevo in Pavlishchevo Bor, which preserved the lord’s house with columns in ruins, also needs urgent restoration. In the villages of the national park there are 6 monasteries, two of them are of major importance to the history of the Orthodox Church. 2 km from Kozelsk is the Optina hermitage monastery, 12 km to the north of it is the Amvrosyevskaya hermitage.
Ruins of Obolensky estate in Berezichi Optina desert Monastery
The employees of the park have developed 4 cultural and historical routes and laid several ecological trails. Walks in the direction of the Devil’s Fort and along the eco-trails are allowed only with a guide so as not to get lost and not to harm red-listed plants and animals. The six-kilometer hike through the archaeological monument of the Stone Age Devil’s fortress with ramparts and moat, in addition, introduces tourists to the unique plants and butterflies. “Ugra-front” on the Yukhnovsky section of the park is an open-air military memorial museum, 2 km long. Visitors will see fortifications, trenches, bomb craters of World War II.
The longest, 48-kilometer route is connected with the history of the Great Standing on the Ugra River. Excursion program includes visiting of Spaso-Vorotynsky monastery and Tikhon’s hermitage, settlement of XV century at village Spas and village Vorotynsk, Poklonnyi cross in Dvortsy and diorama in Vladimirsky skit. A 2.5 kilometer route goes past the sanctuary of Nikola Lenivets, introducing visitors to the history of the Eastern Balts, who lived on a cape near the high bank of the Ugra between the ravines 3 thousand years ago.
Museum “Ugra-front” Spaso-Preobrazhensky Vorotynsky monastery
There are 3 museum centers on the territory of the national park “Ugra”, in forestry buildings, and one more was opened in Kaluga. In the village of Belyaevo there is the Museum of History of Gzhatsk highway, an important trade route of the XVIII-XIX centuries. In Peremyshlya you’ll learn the history of the lake Tish, Vorotynsk village, the monasteries of the XVI-XVIII centuries, Sharovkin and Gremyachevo. Museum exposition in Shenyano-Sloboda acquaints visitors with the history of the lower part of the Ugra. The Gostinye Rody in Kaluga presents exhibits related to the history of the park and the natural world of the Ugra. The entrance to the museums at the forests costs 60 rubles with an excursion, in the Kaluga branch – 30 rubles without an excursion, children under 14 years are free of charge.
Nikola-Lenivets Art Park
While old estates and churches are waiting for restorers, 80 km from Kaluga on the territory of “Ugra” there is an open-air art object – Nikola-Lenivets Park, created through the efforts of Nikolai Polissky and participants of the annual summer festival “Archstoyanie”. The task of the park’s founders was to match the works of modern architecture with the natural landscapes of the middle zone, and they have successfully accomplished it. You can see houses on chicken legs, a wooden bridge, an arch, a stage, a rotunda standing in the middle of the field and dozens of other works by Russian and foreign architects in the park. In addition to viewing the exposition for 250 rubles, guests are offered an extensive entertainment program: quests, visit eco-farm and apiary, carp fishing in the pond, master classes, yoga, sauna, horseback riding and bicycle tours.
Events in the park “Ugra”
The main events take place in summer, the most interesting of them are connected with the art park “Nikola-Lenivets”. In the middle of summer, “Archstoyanie” is organized for the tenth year, recently launched the international August school for young architects. “New Media Night”, a festival of landscape digital art, is held in early July. An event for the whole family is “Children’s Archstoyanie”, where young artists are helped to reveal their talents, and their parents are taught to coexist with young talents. The cost of participation averages 5,000 rubles per family with a child.
Information for tourists
To visit “Ugra” you need to get permission from the administration of the park, otherwise you may be fined up to 4000 rubles, as well as to pay for accommodation on the territory. If visitors come to the campsite for free, they will be instantly detected by gamekeepers and will be offered to pay the required amount and get the necessary documents. There are 80 picnic spots with bonfires and tables in the park; there’s a restaurant “Ugra”, a kitchen in Koltsovo, and a salad bar “Za okorodom” opened in the Nikola-Lenivets Art Park.
A guided walking tour along the footpaths in the Ugra National Park costs 120 rubles per person in a group of at least 5 people. Excursion by catamaran will cost 1000 rubles per day, by kayak – 800 rubles, transportation of boats to the beginning of the route – 15 rubles per kilometer. Excursion on the territory of the park by car costs 3500 rubles.
Where to stop
You can stay in tents only at the specially equipped places in the park – there are 10 of them – for 100 rubles per person per day, children under 14 stay free of charge. You’ll find mini-hotels for 2-9 people at 4 forestries: Belyaevsky, Berezichsky, Galkinsky and Vorotynsky, usually with conveniences on the territory. You’ll pay additionally for the bath (1500 rubles) and for the rent of bedding (150 rubles per set).
You can stay at the ecological base in the village of Palatki on the bank of the Ugra river, 90 km from Kaluga. You will appreciate the cottage for 12 persons for 5,000 rubles a day and 3 summer houses for 4 persons each for 750 rubles. Optimal conditions for living are created in the art park Nikola-Lenivets. There is a camping with beds in tents, and summer design houses “Clover” with a panoramic window and a stove, and guest houses in Koltsovo, and a hostel “Kazarma”, and even art objects equipped with beds. Staying in them costs about 1500 rubles, depending on the season; a place for your own tent costs 400 rubles.
National Park “Ugra”
Entrance to the park is 100 rubles. You’ll be able to stay at the camping sites, picnic grounds, and caravan sites for 350 rubles/day. Hotel accommodation – from 800 rubles/day.
The Ugra National Park is located in several districts of the Kaluga Region. The park consists of several parts, some of which are at a distance from each other. It occupies an area of 98624.5 hectares. The natural attraction is popular with holidaymakers due to the pristine nature and preserved objects of historical and cultural heritage.
The features of the park
The creation of the park is associated with the desire to preserve a beautiful corner of nature and adapt it for tourist recreation of local residents and visitors to the region. Due to the fact that “Ugra” occupies a vast territory, a variety of landscapes can be found here – there are plains with mountainous relief, in the lowlands there are marshy areas, in some parts of the park there are highlands.
More than half of the park’s area is occupied by mixed forest, and it is also covered with endless meadows. There are water bodies on the territory – rivers and lakes, the picturesque view of which delights many vacationers.
The national park is distinguished by a great diversity of flora, unique species grow here, some are included in the regional and Russian Red Book, such as Russian molasses, lady’s slipper orchid, itokovil’ pinnate and other plants. The fauna is no less interesting – roe deer, wild boars, moose, martens – these are just some of the animals of the “Ugra” park. Among the birds there are wood grouse, grouse, representatives of various species of waterfowl. Many are classified as rare species and are included in the Red Book.
In addition to the beautiful nature and diverse flora and fauna, there are many historical sites of cultural value in the park. Among them are not only sites of ancient man, but also fragments of fortifications built in the Middle Ages, the estates of later period, monasteries, military burials.
Not only nature lovers and lovers of outdoor recreation, but also those who are interested in historical and cultural sites, will enjoy the rest in the park.
In “Ugra” you can relax on your own, enjoying the peculiarities of camping, but it is important to remember that the park is a specially protected area with its own rules of conduct. Hiking stands and campfires are allowed only in specially equipped areas.
Hiking is very popular among holidaymakers, the natural landmark offers several variants of ecological routes. The forests of “Ugra” are rich in berries, mushrooms that you can pick along the way. In summer, it’s nice to relax by the reservoirs, enjoying a swim in the clear water. Those who come for a few days can stay in tent campsites, mini-hotels and ecological bases. It’s convenient to travel around the park by car, so you can cover more interesting places.
Vacationers can also buy tickets to group excursions that the park organizes. Among them, there is a hiking route to the Devil’s fortress, an excursion dedicated to an important historical event – the standing on the Ugra. There is also a program dedicated to the memory of the battles in the territory during the Great Patriotic War. There are traces of the war – trenches, trenches, bomb craters, monuments, which perpetuate the feat of Soviet soldiers. There are also held water excursions by catamaran and kayak. For fishing enthusiasts there is an opportunity to catch fish for a fee.
The Nikola-Lenivets Art Park is especially popular among vacationers. Here in the open air are works of modern art. Numerous art objects attract connoisseurs of art and unusual places. In summer the festival “Archstoyanie” takes place there.
In addition, you can visit the visit centers, which presents expositions that tell about the peculiarities of the area and its history.
Cost of visiting
Since this is a specially protected area, you need a permit to visit it. The exception is when you stay in the territory within the boundaries of populated areas. You can get a permit online, filling out a form on the official website of the Ugra Park, or in the places of issue (directorate, visitor center, forestries). It is valid for 7 days.
You get an entrance ticket to the park territory for 100 rubles.
The fee for tourist parking places, picnic sites and campsites is 350 rubles per person per day. Children under 14 years old are free of charge.
You can read about the fees for additional services on the Park’s website.
How to get there
Due to the length of the park territory it’s more convenient to get to Kaluga by public transportation first, and then to the settlements of interest.
From Moscow to Kaluga you may get by bus, train or train. You can find out about the routes in the service Yandex. Timetable.
Then it is more convenient to take a cab to the desired location in the park, you can use mobile apps: Yandex. Cab, Gett.
It is more convenient to get to the sections of the park by car.
The distance will depend on the end point, because the territory of the park stretches for 200 kilometers.