Seven Giant Stone Men

Folk tales tell that when the sun shines on a troll’s body, they rapidly transform to stone. In Tolkein’s work, trolls also turn to stone (the famous example being in The Hobbit). The Samoyedic peoples of Russia (just west of the Ural mountains) have a similar story about giants, and it is tied to seven, real-world, giant, stone formations. The Manpupuner rock formations.

Copyright: Sergei Makurin
Copyright: Sergei Makurin

The seven Samoyed giants were forced to march across the Ural mountains in order to destroy the Mansi people. Tallest of the group was their shaman, who led the way. He beat his drum to keep pace, but dropped it the moment they saw the holy Mansi mountains and all seven turned to stone. Strangely, geologists have yet to agree on where the stones actually came from.

A Russian stamp featuring the rocks
A Russian stamp featuring the rocks

There is currently one major theory regarding the origins of the craggy rocks. 200-300 million years ago, the stones sat inside the softer Earth around them. With plenty of time, and huge amounts of eroding meteorological factors, the land gradually fell away exposing the stones to the air.

manpupuner-2

Journeying to the site is difficult, as the nearest sign of civilization is near 100 miles away through the dense forest and frost of Siberia. Not many attempt the trip. One man, Stefan Glowacz, was sponsored by RedBull to climb to the top. No one had done it before, and it was considered an impossible ascent, but Glowacz made his attempt.

There has been a small increase in visitors since they giants were featured on a TV competition to name the Seven Wonders of Russia. Increased visibility brought a botanist to discover that the increased foot traffic may pose a risk to some fragile moss native to the area. To prevent damage, wooden planks were brought out to the location that tourists must walk on instead. Not to say that the site will become flush with people braving the storms any time soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *