This is the first in our regular new series about the hidden gems of Siberia, some of the 'must visit' sights that beautify our six times zones from east of the Urals to the Pacific.
'When I came to Yergaki National Park for the first time I was blown away by the beauty of the place. It was so stunning it felt unreal'. Picture: Alexander Ermolitsky
Yergaki, also written Ergaki, is in the south of the vast Krasnoyarsk territory in central Siberia, the pearl of the Sayan Mountains.
Here we see a glimpse of the 342,873 hectares of this stunning Siberian wonderland though the eyes of Moscow-based photographer Alexander Ermolitsky.
Some have dubbed Yergaki the 'Russian Yosemite', a description that at least indicates to the outside world the scale of the awe-inspiring views in a national park that remains puzzlingly unknown considering the natural delights it offers to travellers ready to explore off the beaten track.
'It's hard to stay indifferent seeing such beauty,' says Alexander, 27, who was inspired to his interest in photography by his trips to the mountains.
'I learned about the the Yergaki National Park from the works of photographer Mihail Vershinin and immediately thought that I want to go there.'
Since then Alexander has visited Yergaki four times and is already planning his next trip in summer 2013.
'Starry starry night... paint your palette blue and grey'. Ergaki National Park, Krasnoyarsk Region, Siberia. Picture: Alexander Ermolitsky
The national park, founded in 2005, stretches some 75 kilometres from north to south in the Western Sayan and is well-known in Russia - if not yet abroad - for its untouched beauty. Its pure mountain steams and lakes are among the least polluted on the planet.
'When I came to Yergaki National Park for the first time in summer 2010, I was blown away by the beauty of the place. In the morning everything was covered with fog and I was just wondering around. It felt unreal.'
One of the main attractions of the park is Svetloe (Light) Lake. It is often called the Great Lake.
His night time pictures, the crystal pure sky dotted with millions of stars, were captured here.
The quiet and smooth surface of the lake stretches from north to the south for around kilometre at an altitude of around 1200 metres above the sea level. The lake is surrounded by a thick pine forest, with two mountain peaks - the Bird and the Star, raising in the distance.
Svetloe lake is often called 'The Great Lake'. Ergaki National Park, Krasnoyarsk Region, Siberia. Picture: Alexander Ermolitsky
Another amazing creation of nature is a mountain called Brothers (also known as Parabola).
It consists of two connected peaks of different sizes and heights.
The part of the mountain that connects the peaks is of a parabolic shape and has very smooth almost 'polished' surface, which caused some theories about an artificial origin of this remarkable mountain.
Another amazing creation of nature is a mountain called Brothers (also known as Parabola). Ergaki National Park. Picture: Alexander Ermolitsky
Looking around more, there is another splendid lake in a beautiful valley beneath the mountains.
This is called the Lake of Mountain Spirits and has a shape of almost regular rectangle with rounded edges. According to an ancient legend, the Spirits have bewitched the two brothers, leaving them there to protect the serenity of the lake.
'Once you visit these mountains, after many years living in the city, it seems there's nothing better then watching a sunrise on the shore of mountain lake with not another soul for many miles,' says Alexander. 'Mountains bring you unforgettable feelings, which is hard to capture.'
Hard to capture? You be the judge. We think he has done rather well.
Breathtaking beauty - Ergaki National Park, Krasnoyarsk Region, Siberia. Picture: Alexander Ermolitsky
Yergaki is popular with artists as with photographers, but he says it is right for anyone who wants to get away into spectacular natures a world apart from bustling cities.
'The wild nature is so beautiful, that even if you are not a photographer, still you won't get tired of it. On the contrary, you'll get a chance to understand it and feel its energy,' says the photographer.
Alexander Ermolitsky, 27, www.aermolitsky.com
Alexander's passion is mountain landscape photography.
'Photography is my favourite hobby, and it now takes most of my free time.
'I have never had a teacher or read books on photography. Everything I learned was from my own mistakes and personal experience.
'I deny any rules in photography and rely only on my own feelings'.
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