Get lost in chalk mountain

Voronezh Region

Russia Beyond
Russia Beyond
This cave is manmade: according to legend, monks Xenophon and Joasaph carved it at the base of the chalk column, but this place was first mentioned in sources only in 1831.

The unique cathedral complex existed until the 1930s: the small cave was decorated with icons and frescoes (alas, lost due to humidity) and a bypass gallery was carved around it - with an entrance about the height of a human, intended for processions. Monks from the Divnogorsky Holy Dormition Monastery took turns living on the second floor there, keeping a watchful eye on the cave and hosting services for the faithful.  

For excursions, this place was opened in 1991. Services are no longer held in the cave complex, but you can always come and wander through the cells and narrow corridors, imagining how people lived here in the old days.  

How to get lost in the chalk mountain? 

The Divnogorye reserve is situated in Voronezh Region’s Liskinsky district. It’s nice all year round here, but it is in summer that you can see all the abundance of vegetation: more than 700 species of plants grow on the territory of the reserve, some of which are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation or are under international protection.  

In summer, it’s most convenient to take the train from Voronezh, which arrives at the ‘143rd Kilometer’ train station, where the reserve is located. In other seasons, you can change at Liski when traveling from Moscow or St. Petersburg and then take an electric train to the reserve.  

The adult admission fee is 260 rubles (approx. $4), while children can go for free. Students and Pushkin card holders can get in for 145 rubles, schoolkids - for 135 rubles. 

Before arriving, you should take care to have comfortable shoes, a water bottle, repellents and a hat and also withdraw cash in advance: there are no ATMs there. 

In the cave itself, the temperature is +15 degrees Celsius all year round, so if you feel that you want to take a break from the summer heat, take a look! 

If you wish, you can go there with a tent and set up a camp in the floodplain of the Tikhaya Sosna River or stay at the reserve’s hotel. 

What divas!  

The Divy are picturesque chalk columns, which give the Divnogorye reserve its name. Some of them were destroyed in the 19th century, during the construction of the railway, but some have been preserved and are considered a natural monument. The largest one - Bolshye Divy, contains man-made rock caves, which used to house monasteries.  

Divnogorye is a place with a rich history: once there were as many as four seas, then a glacier came to these territories and left behind an amazing relief, exposing chalk deposits and the remains of prehistoric marine life.  

The first humans arrived a little later (be sure to look at the sites and mounds of the Bronze Age), while, in the 7-10th centuries, on the border with the Khazar khaganate, there was the Mayatskoe a Khazar fortress, a settlement and several pottery workshops. Altogether, the territory is home to 48 archaeological monuments, from the late Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. 

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