Things to see in Labytnangi: sights by yourself

Where is Labytnangi on the map of Russia

The city of Labytnangi, located on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, is one of the most easily accessible and largest cities in the Arctic Circle.

Labytnangi is a city located in the lower reaches of the Ob River in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area. The city is on the eastern slope of the Ural Mountains, on the other side of the Ob River is the district capital Salekhard. Labytnangi lies on the 66th parallel, which means that it is located just north of the Arctic Circle.

City panorama

At the entrance to the city

How to get there

You can get to Labytnangi by all means of transport, except for one – by car. The remoteness of Labytnangi from major civilization sites is so great that not a single highway leads here. But here lies the Chum-Labytnangi line of the world’s northernmost railroad, the Trans-Polar Mainline, which was built at the end of Stalin’s reign. However, because of the dictator’s death, the main line was never completed, and today most of its sections are abandoned.

To get to the city by rail you can take the following routes:

by train №022 “Polar arrow” Moscow – Labytnangi, starting station – Yaroslavsky railway station, trip duration – 1 day 20 hours, ticket price in the parlor from 3800 RUR, compartment from 5300 RUR;

By train №655 Vorkuta – Labytnangi, journey time – 11-12 hours, tickets in the reserved carriage cost 600 RUR, compartment – from 1700 RUR;

In summertime – by seasonal train Anapa – Labytnangi (via Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Ryazan, Yaroslavl, Vologda, Kotlas), journey time from initial station – 3 days 12 hours, price from 4 500 RUR, compartment – from 8100 RUR.

During summer navigation Labytnangi is connected with the outside world by water transport. The Ob route Omsk – Salekhard is served by the vessels “Mikhail Kalashnikov” and “Rodina”. Ticket prices from the starting point to the end point of the route are from 1800 RUR to 6000 RUR depending on the cabin class. The trip from Omsk to Salekhard takes 6 days, the ship makes stops in Tobolsk and Khanty-Mansisk, so you may plan your trip to Labytnangi from these cities as well.

The airport of Labytnangi is served by the Salekhard Airport which receives flights from many cities of Russia: Moscow, Yekaterinburg, St. Petersburg, Tyumen, and YNAO. Its airlines are Yamal, Aeroflot, and S7 Airlines. The ticket prices start from 4300 RUR from Moscow, from 5900 RUR from Saint-Petersburg, from 7250 RUR from Tyumen.

The cities of Labytnangi and Salekhard, situated on the different banks of the Ob River, are connected by a ferry crossing. If you arrive to Salekhard by air or on the Ob River you have to use its services. Ferries run round the clock every 10-15 minutes from 06:00 to 21:00 and hourly at other times. The crossing is free for pedestrians, for cars – 140 RUR.

After the end of summer navigation the two cities are connected by crossings on cross-country vehicles on air cushions. Tickets cost 110 RUR, luggage – 55 RUR. Alternative option is to fly by helicopter, ticket price is 1050 RUR (525 RUR for children ticket).

Monument to Vladimir Nak - Honored Builder of Russia

Northern Lights sculpture in winter

Northern Lights sculpture in summer

Weather and climate

Labytnangi is located on the border of two climatic zones: temperate continental and subarctic. The city is characterized by a relatively humid climate with cold winters and short cool summers. The average annual temperature is -6.1°C, the coldest month of the year is January with an average temperature of -23.9°C, the warmest month is July with an average temperature of +14.8°C.

Humidification of the year is uniform, the average annual precipitation is 450 mm, the rainiest month is June with 62 mm of precipitation, the driest is February with 19 mm of precipitation.

Due to its location practically on the polar circle, Labytnangi records the polar day, when the sun does not go completely over the horizon. However, the polar day lasts only 1 day in the city. There are no polar nights in Labytnangi, because the shortest day of the year here is 3 hours and 1 minute, and to fix the polar night the day length must be less than 3 hours.

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School № 3

Administration building

A wooden apartment house

When is the season and best to go

The winter months, when temperatures steadily drop below the -30°C mark, are not the best time to travel to the Arctic Circle. Despite the fact that such temperatures are much better to bear because of the low humidity, it is still not comfortable. Strong winds, typical for February, can complicate the situation. But March and April are quite suitable for a trip – the temperature at this time in Labytnangi resembles a classic Central Russian winter, besides, the sun shines a lot, which makes the weather quite comfortable.

The weather in May is unpredictable because of the changing seasons, the spring thaw, ice drifts and strong winds. Temperatures in the first half of the month range from -10°C to +5°C. This month is not the best time to travel to Labytnangi. But from June to early September the weather is comfortable, although a little cool. The highlight of the summer season are the white nights in June and early July. End of August and early September is a beautiful time of autumn with all its colors, and the temperature is still quite comfortable, so this time is also suitable for a trip. Snow falls in October, and from the end of the month stable minus temperatures are established.

Church of St. George the Victorious

Station building

Urban population

The population of Labytnangi is slightly more than 26 thousand people, and over the past 20 years the numbers have barely changed. In comparison to 1989, the population of the town has dropped by 5 thousand people, which is miserable in comparison to many polar towns (for example, in Vorkuta the population has reduced more than twice). Most of the town’s residents are of Russian nationality, there are also Nenets and Khanty.

Communications tower near Naka square

Where to live and best places to stay

In the small town, not spoiled by tourists, there are not many hotels. Most business travelers prefer to stay in the neighboring Salekhard, a larger and more developed city compared to Labytnangi. So there is only one full-fledged hotel called “Seven larches” (34 Gagarina St.). Room rates: 4,800 RUR for a single room per night, 5,800 RUR for a double room, 9,100 RUR for a suite. The hotel is clean and comfortable enough, the disadvantages are paid Wi-Fi (and you pay for every MB of traffic), as well as not the best layout of single rooms.

An alternative to the hotel “Seven larches” are restrooms at the railway station of the city (Sovetskaya St., 5). Despite its status, it is not a bad option for accommodation due to the newness of the station (built in the early 2000s) and a good level of service. At the railway station are fully furnished double rooms with amenities, the cost of accommodation per day – 1500 RUR.

Taking into consideration a free ferry in summer time, accommodation not in the city itself but in neighboring Salekhard is quite a worthy alternative. There are more than a dozen of hotels in this town, the accommodation rate varies from 2000 RUR to 6000 RUR for a room per night.

Summer in Labytnangi

Transpolar main line

What and Where to Eat

The catering facilities in Labytnangi are much better than the hotels. However, you should not expect anything unusual. Cafes and restaurants in Labytnangi are represented by the typical provincial selection of places to eat: sushi cafes, a couple of good restaurants, and a few cafes serving Russian, Caucasian, and European cuisine. Unfortunately, there is nothing exotically northern in the city. There is a bar-restaurant with decent food at the Seven Larchs (34 Gagarina St.), but the prices are rather high. Inexpensive options include pizzeria La Cipolla (10a Avtostradnaya St.) and cafe Metelitsa (1 Ovrazhnaya St.). As for the more upscale establishments, you should pay a visit to the Old Cafe (10a Avtostradnaya St.), which boasts a good choice of Russian, European and Asian cuisine.

You will have to go to the neighboring Salekhard for exotic northern cuisine. The restaurant “Okhota” (Lenina ul. 11), shaped as a tent, offers, apart from common European and Russian cuisine, dishes of northern peoples: local fish stroganina, venison, bear meat, slightly salted muksun, ukha and other delicacies. Northern cuisine is also served in the restaurant “Arktika” (38 Respubliki St.). As for local delicacies, you can buy venison, bear meat, fresh or lightly salted fish in Labytnangi itself at the city market or in chain stores.

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Train route 209M Labytnangi - Moscow

Transport

Public transport in Labytnangi is represented by buses and coaches serving several routes: № 1, № 1-B, № 1-D, № 1-P, № 2, № 2-D, № 4 and № 5. This number of routes is quite enough for the small size and population of the city. Most routes begin at 06:00 and finish – at 21:00 – 22:00. The fare is 26 RUR. The alternative to public transport is a cab, the cost of riding in a cab around the city – from 100 RUR.

Arseny store

The Ob River and a view of the town

Attractions

Labytnangi is still quite a young town. The settlement of Labytnangi appeared here only in the 19th century, which means “seven larches” in Khanty language. After the revolution a collective farm had been organized there. Labytnangi was of great importance during the construction of the Transpolar Mainline, because a railway station had been opened there. In 1952 the kolkhoz was transformed into a workers’ settlement, and in the seventies it received the status of a town. Naturally, such a history could not but affect the number of attractions in the city. In Soviet times, there was even a saying among the locals, “Two garbage dumps, three yarangs – that’s the town of Labytnanga”. However, the good economic situation of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region and the city in particular has caused Labytnangi to change its image in many ways. With the passage of time, its attractions have also appeared here.

The Labytnangi Local Lore Museum was opened for the 20th anniversary of the city on the basis of funds collected by Irina Petrovna Gorskaya. The museum has one permanent exhibition, The History of Semi-Listvennitsy, which tells the history of the town’s origins since the first local residents – Khanty and Komi-zyryan – came here. The museum also hosts guest exhibitions of other cities of YaNAO and regions of the Russian Federation. Exhibitions are also held at various institutions of the city. Museum address: 29, Pervomaiskaya St. Working hours: 10:00 – 18:00, 10:00 – 20:00 (Thursday). Ticket price: 60 RUR.

Kern storage of Labytnangi is a geological museum, where you can see the rocks of the Ural Mountains. The museum got its name from the depot, which used to store samples of rocks extracted by a special method of drilling. With the passage of time and the development of the oil and gas industry, the need for such storage facilities disappeared. That is why the local storage facility was converted into a museum. In addition to samples of extracted rock, the museum also tells about the methods and process of extraction of minerals. In addition, there are samples of oil and gas extracted on the territory of YNAO. Address of museum: 15, Oktyabrskaya str.

Oktyabrsky skiing complex is situated 20 minutes driving from Labytnangi on the left bank of the Ob river. It was opened in 2004 and became the first ski center above the Arctic Circle. The elevation difference of the track is rather moderate – from 8 m to 118 m above the sea level, the average slope is 16 degrees, the track length is 630 m. The cost of ski passes: 35 RUR for adults and 30 RUR for children for a single lift, 500 RUR for adults and 200 RUR for children for the unlimited number of lifts during the day. The ski center has a bar, a sauna and a swimming pool. Guests of the complex can also stay at a hotel with 20 rooms.

The Old St. George Church of Labytnangi is an interesting specimen of the post-Soviet church architecture. The thing is that the young town had no temple, so the church was rebuilt here in the 1990s from a wooden Stalinist style house of culture of the timber processing plant. When the building was converted to a church a bell tower with a dome and a cross was added to it. The overall result of the mixture of two styles and cultures is impressive with some surrealism. Now this church is closed. Address of the church: Komsomolskaya str. 12. Eventually, a new stone church with an almost identical name appeared in Labytnangi – a classic example of modern provincial temple architecture. Address of the New St. George Church: Pervomayskaya street, 63.

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The main attraction of Labytnangi is not the city buildings or entertainment complexes, but the nature of the Polar Urals. The city is 35 kilometers to the east of the Ural Ridge, so it is the main base for mountain climbers, tourists and adventure seekers going to see the harsh but beautiful nature of the Polar Urals. By the way, the border between Europe and Asia is located here, and the city of Labytnangi lies in Siberia. You can get to the mountains directly by the railroad, which connects Labytnangi with the outside world.

The Sob station is located right in the middle of the Ural Mountains, the nearest peaks are the Rai-Iz mountain range (up to 1236 m high), Mount Pour-Keu (876 m) and Mount Nyrd-Vomen-Iz (translated as “Mountain across the spur”, better known as Dinosaur Mountain, 1154 m). Despite its low altitude, due to its northern location, the Polar Urals give the impression of being much higher than it really is. Tourists wishing to visit this impressive place can stop at the camping site at the Sob station. Tourist base is several decommissioned railway cars, the cost of overnight stay – 600 RUR per day.

Children's yard

Stop

Prices for recreation

It is unlikely that you will find a travel agency in Russia that organizes trips to Labytnangi. But visiting the Polar Urals in the vicinity of the city is quite popular. A seven day trip to Rai-Iz with a visit to the massif itself and a hike to the Romantic Glacier will cost about 16500 RUR per person. This hike does not require any special preparation. Fishing in local lakes and rivers is also in demand. An eight-day fishing trip on the local rivers Sob and Haramatalou will cost from 12500 RUR. Rafting on the river Sob on kayaks or catamarans will cost about 8000 RUR. For all routes in the polar Urals Labytnangi is the finishing point of the route, so you can’t avoid visiting this city in this case.

Tips for the tourist

Despite the fact that the best time to go to Labytnangi is summer, hiking outside the city in July is not recommended. This time is the peak activity of midges and mosquitoes, which is very difficult to control. Gnats have already disappeared since early August, so it’s better to go fishing and hiking in the mountains at this time.

During off-season and winter thaws, the crossing between Labytnangi and Salekhard is closed to any ground transport, and it’s only possible to get from one town to another by helicopter. Also in summer the ferry can be cancelled if there is a strong wind on the Ob River. When planning a trip to Labytnangi, you should take this peculiarity into account.

Whenever you travel outside the city, you must have spare clothes and shoes, boots to overcome water obstacles, and insect repellent (in summer).

Labytnangi itself does not attract many tourists, because due to its modest age, it has not yet had time to get its signature sights and special places of interest. But since a trip to the Polar Urals does not go without a stay in Labytnangi, you can spend a good time here, exploring the few interesting places of the harsh northern town.

City of Labytnangi

It’s enough to take a mere glance at the map of Russia to understand how many miles our great country stretches. But if you don’t just look, but study a map of Russia, you will find a lot of interesting things. And if you delve into the study of the geography of our homeland, you can discover for yourself a wonderful world of great Russia, to understand how unique its nature.

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One of the most unique natural subjects of the Russian land is the Urals. Every resident of Russia and neighboring countries has heard this name – who in geography lessons at school, who in magazines, who in books, in the stories of Pavel Petrovich Bazhov, famous for such works as “The Silver Hoof,” “Malachite Casket” and others. In physical and geographical terms, it is a mountain system that stretches for several thousand kilometers from the coast of the Arctic Ocean to the steppes of Kazakhstan.

Map of the Urals

Map of the Urals

The uniqueness of the Urals is in its amazing nature, variety of natural zones, its role in the development of Russian industry and in many other things. The Ural Mountain Range is the border between two parts of the world – Europe and Asia. Our mountain region is divided into five parts: the Polar, Subpolar, Northern, Middle and Southern Urals.

People in Russia usually have such associations when they think of the Urals: Yekaterinburg, Perm, and Chelyabinsk. Not surprisingly, because these are the cities that feed the country industrially, not to mention the fact that they are among the millionaire cities of Russia. But we’re not talking about them now.

Hardly any modern Russian has heard of the town of Labytnangi, whose name is translated from the Khanty language as “Seven Larchs”. The town did not get this name by accident, but thanks to the larches standing in rows on its southern outskirts.

In the vicinity of Labytnangi

Around the town of Labytnangi

It is interesting that Labytnangi is located on the eastern slopes of the Polar Urals, and moreover, on the left bank of the great Siberian river Ob, at the confluence of the Vyl-Posl channel into it. If you look at the map below, you can see that the city is on the very edge of the Urals, and behind him stretches a huge West Siberian plain, through which the Ob River flows.

Labytnangi on the satellite image

Labytnangi on a satellite image

It is also interesting that from the right bank of the Ob River its twin town Salekhard, the capital of the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, which includes Labytnangi, looks over the City of Seven Larchs. This Siberian twin of the City of Seven Larchs can be seen with the naked eye from the highest points of the city, especially at nighttime – a strip of lights.

View from Labytnanog to the strip of lights of Salekhard

View from Labytnangi to the Salekhard strip of lights

The history of the Town of Seven Larch trees goes back to the end of the 19th century, when a Khanty camp called Labytnangi appeared on the bank of the river Vyl-Posla. At the end of the 1920s there was established a production association, and in 1932 there appeared a collective farm, the main occupations of which were reindeer breeding, fishing and hunting. In 1948, a railway station appeared here, which today is one of the points of the Northern Railway.

The center of the City of Seven Larchs

The center of the City of Seven Larchs

On December 15, 1952 Labytnangi received the status of a workers’ settlement in the Priuralsky District, and on December 28, 1956 it became administratively subordinate to the Salekhard Municipal Council, and only on August 5, 1975 Labytnangi settlement was made a town of regional subordination. Its current population is 27,000 people.

Labytnanog center

Labytnangi is not particularly remarkable in appearance. Looking at its lack of color (in comparison, for example, with neighboring Salekhard), it is easy to guess that the city is developing at a slow pace.

City center, Pervomayskaya str.

City Center, Pervomayskaya str.

The city center consists mostly of comfortable buildings of major construction, most of which were built in the last century.

Rarely can you find brand new buildings, some of which are quite colorful. All houses in Labytnanga are built on stilts and are no more than five stories high.

Northern edge of the town

Northern outskirts of the city

Quite a large part of the town’s housing stock is made up of BAM type houses.

If you look towards Labytnangi from the right bank of the Ob River, you can guess its position in the Urals. The blue, massive mountains in the picture are the range of the Polar Urals, and the dark green stripe beyond the Ob River is its eastern slopes, on which the City of Seven Larchs is located.

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View of the Polar Urals mountains from the right bank of the Ob River

A view of the mountains of the Polar Urals from the right bank of the Ob River. Photo by Maria Agureeva

Geographically speaking, the city of Labytnangi is located in the Polar-Ural foothill-tundra landscape province.

Tundra in the city outskirts

Tundra in the vicinity of the city

It is not difficult to see the asphalt road going up from the outskirts to the center of the City of Seven Larchs. The farther it goes, the higher it rises, and the more you can see the winding surface of the Labytnang land.

Labytnangi city center, YNAO

Road from Salekhard to Labytnangi

Road from Salekhard to Labytnangi

Sights of the city of Labytnangi

At first glance, there aren’t any special sights in Labytnangi. But if you look closely, you can see that even in such a peripheral area, there is something that conceals some kind of a remarkable thing, or something that is simply pleasant to look at.

Labytnangi railway station

Labytnangi railway station. Photo – Wikipedia

What you see in the photo above is the Labytnangi railway station. Its appearance, or to be more precise, its unusual architecture, is noteworthy. The station is located on the southern outskirts of the city, near the Ob pier.

Polar City of Seven Larchs has not ignored the spiritual life. The domed building you see in the photo is called the Church of the Holy Great Martyr and Victory Bearer George, which belongs to the Salekhard-Novourengoy (formerly Tobolsk-Tyumen) diocese of the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition to its attractive bright exterior, this temple has quite an interesting history.

Church of the Great Martyr and Victorious Soldier George

Temple of the Great Martyr and Victorious George

Previously this temple was located in a wooden building, known in the city as the former club of the woodworking plant, and not only (this building can be seen in the video below at the time 01:31). The initiative to open the church here belonged to Igor Zhuikov, the elder of the congregation, who was excommunicated in 1999 because of a mental illness.

At first scraps of oxygen cylinders of different length were used here instead of bells, and in 1996 a belfry of nine bells, cast in Kamensk-Uralsky, was installed.

Holy Great Martyr and Victory Bearer St. George Church at night

St. George’s Church at night

In 1999, when Archbishop Dimitriy (Kopalin) of Tobolsk and Tyumen removed all authority from Zhuikov and appointed Gleb Alekseev as the new chairman of the parish council, the church was not given to the new head of the community, so it was decided to build a new one.

Victory Square in Labytnangi

Victory Square is by far the most beautiful place in the City of Seven Larchs. Immediately behind it is a public garden, equipped as a park, where you can take a walk, and in the warm season you can sit on a bench and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere of the provincial town.

Square near Victory Square

Victory Square Square

Square near Victory Square

Victory Square Square

Ways of communication

For all its remoteness from the mainland, the town cannot be called, as the locals say, cut off from the world. Every day the Labytnanga railroad station runs trains to Vorkuta, Moscow and other cities.

Since, due to the natural conditions, there is no bridge over the Ob River, you can’t get to the Siberian part of Russia by rail, so all the journeys are directed to the European part of the country. But the Ob also has its own transport. Ferries bring hundreds of people daily from one Ob city to another.

Labytnangi-Salekhard crossing

The crossing from Labytnangi to Salekhard

During the freezing season (usually from the end of November to early May) the Labytnangi- Salekhard crossing is an ice road which is used by both four- and four-wheel-drive vehicles (depending on the seasonal ice strength). And in the season before the ice drift, when the ice is no longer firm, this communication is carried out with the help of an air cushion.

Salekhard Airport

If you take this route from the city of Labytnangi to Salekhard, you can use the services of Salekhard airport, which has connections with Moscow, Tyumen, Yekaterinburg, Noyabrsk and other cities.

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