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Dawn to dusk in Krasnoyarsk

By Kate Baklitskaya, Go East
02 April 2014

Falling in love with a city starts with finding a place where you feel at home.

'My biggest dream is to meet dawn with the Yenisei and watch the sunset from the mountains of Krasnoyarsk'. Pictures here and below: Kate Baklitskaya

There are many in Krasnoyarsk, one of Siberia's oldest, yet youngest, big cities. It is a major stop on the Trans-Siberian railway and arguably the most welcoming. Especially, I like the bench in front of the regional court on Prospekt Mira, and the bank of the Yenisei River but I keep discovering more and more.

Like the Paraskeva Pyatnitsa Chapel on the top of Karaulnaya Mountain. This is known to Russians everywhere: dating from the mid-19th century, it decorates the ten rouble note as a symbol of Kransoyarsk, a vibrant cafe culture city four time zones east of Moscow. 

Bridge across the Yenisei river in Krasnoyarsk

'When you are standing on the parapet of the bridge, with the mighty Yenisei flowing underneath on its epic 5,539 km journey from Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean,   your heart beat stops for a second...'

Climbing to the top of the mountain might be a bit exhausting but it's definitely worth it because the panorama from the top says more than a million words as you gaze over a growing city that is home to a million people.

Few cities have such perfect geographical sites as Krasnoyarsk, mountains all around, the surging river tempering and freshening the cold continental climate, and flat alluvial plains. To Anton Chekhov, it was the most beautiful city in Siberia, and it probably still is, if you turn a blind eye to the faceless tower blocks of the Soviet era. 

Paraskeva Pyatnitsa Chapel in Krasnoyarsk

'The Paraskeva Pyatnitsa Chapel on the top of Karaulnaya Mountain. This is known to Russians everywhere: dating from the mid-19th century, it decorates the ten rouble note as a symbol of Kransoyarsk'.

Up here on Karaulnaya Mountain is the ultimate romantic spot in the city. Many couples congregate at this spot in the evening to admire the sunset. Children run around and play under the watchful supervision of two old ladies standing by the chapel.

My favourite Ukrainian writer Taras Prokhasko wrote in one of his short stories that a perfect city has to have a defensive wall so that people feel protected and a mountain range so that, when waking in the morning, residents will set themselves a goal: to reach another peak. The Sayan mountains give me both these feelings: they surround the city like a fortress, and they are always visible from any part of the city, challenging me to climb higher and dream bigger.

Sunset in Krasnoyarsk

'Climbing to the top of the mountain might be a bit exhausting but it's definitely worth it because the panorama from the top says more than a million words as you gaze over a growing city that is home to a million people'.

I should confess, too, that I have a special feeling for big rivers. When you are standing on the parapet of the bridge, with the mighty Yenisei flowing underneath on its epic 5,539 km journey from Mongolia to the Arctic Ocean,   your heart beat stops for a second... 

Children playing near the Chapel in Krasnoyarsk

'Children run around and play under the watchful supervision of two old ladies standing by the chapel'.

The Yenesei is the largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Both camels and white bears live beside this great river. An interesting fact is that the Krasnoyarsk railway bridge across the Yenisei, which was constructed between 1893 and 1896, was awarded the Gold Medal at the Exposition Universalle in 1900 by a special committee led by none other than Gustave Eiffel. Sadly, the railway bridge that you can see in Krasnoyarsk now is not the original. It's a modern copy. The original was turned into scrap metal in 2007.

Riverbank of Yenisei river in Krasnoyarsk

'The Yenesei is the largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean. Both camels and white bears live beside this great river'.

My biggest dream is to meet dawn with the Yenisei and watch the sunset from the mountains of Krasnoyarsk. 

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