These gigantic rock cliffs of the Stolby Nature Reserve are located on the Eastern Sayan Mountains, near the city of Krasnoyarsk.
The rocks are called “Stolby”. “Stolby” is the plural of “stolb”, the Russian word for “pillar”. The regular Stolby visitors call themselves “stolbists”, and the public activity as a whole is termed “stolbism”. It is an exceptional activity with a long history of over 150 years and old customs recorded in a special folklore.
The place was discovered in 1624 by Russian cossacks, early explorers of Siberia, who built a small fortress at the influx of the Kacha River into the Yenisei. They wondered at the huge intricately shaped stony blocks rising amid a thick forest and gave them the biblical name “Stolpy”, reduced later to the modern “Stolby”. Since then the name came into use for these and all similar rocky features in Siberia and the Russian Far East.
The rocky giants have witnessed a good deal of life stories and events. The land at the approaches of the city has been largely visited for about two hundred years. It has become a subject of many scientific and popular books and articles, feature and documentary films, an attraction and a source of inspiration for poets, musicians, and painters. It’s a mode of life for many people to come there every day off enjoying nature and climbing for sports and for pleasure.