A fairly unknown archeological site on the edge of the steppe and near the border with Kazakhstan.
Why would we go there?
The whole area has a magical feel about it, starting with the isolation and the steppe. There is literally little civilization in the area, and one can look in any direction and not see a building, nor a car or a plane.
As we drive up to the site, there are crows in the trees in Alfred Hitchcock proportions.
What happens next is somewhat of a circus, but this is an opportunity to see the remnants of an ancient and well organized civilization which was found by accident only 20 years ago.
Here is what the professionals say:
The circles detected by aerial photography were made by humans. Just like Stonehenge in the UK, Arkaim was an ancient site dedicated to the observation of stars and constellations. It was a very sophisticated settlement, and in some cases, it displayed unique technologies that went far beyond the capabilities of other similar settlements since Arkaim had a very complex water drainage system and sedimentation pits. Arkaim is not only a settlement, it is also a temple and an astronomic observatory! It was round and was 160 meters in diameter. It was surrounded by a ditch that was filled with water. An outside wall was very massive, the height was 5.5 meters and width was 5 meters.
Locals believe it to be a sacred place. Pilgrims come here all year round to get some healing water from the Bolshaya Karaganka River, and in the summer they coat themselves with clay. They say it helps treating skin diseases. The mountains surrounding the fortress are also unusual. The most famous one is Shamanka (or Bold Mountain). People climb to its top to get some positive energy, pray or meditate.
You should also know that Vladimir Putin visited Arkaim in 2007, and ten years later we can witness what he saw.
Our day will be partly spent here exploring the remains, and hear explanations of them.
During our day out to Arkaim, we will have a picnic on the steppe and take in the expanse, the quiet, and guess where Russia ends and Kazakhstan starts in the grassy plains. We will see an outstanding piece of Soviet art on a building wall – huge painting of Lenin, and pose for photographs. We will also visit a local war memorial and celebrate crossing from Europe to Asia and back to Europe again.