A huge collection of very old rock carvings made by ancient man, right in the open air.
Sikachi-Alyan is a small Nanai village, located on the banks of the Amur River, 75 kilometers from Khabarovsk, Russia. The village is famous for its petroglyphs carved by ancient men on basalt boulders on the shore of the Amur River.
Petroglyphs of Sikachi-Alyan are on the preliminary list of UNESCO World Heritage.
Petroglyphs on the Shores of the Amur River
Altogether, according to different sources there were found and classified anywhere from 200 to 300 stones.
The big problem is that strong spills of the Amur River carry away some stones to the river bottom, or simply turn over stones face down.
You have to really look for petroglyphs on the rocks and it makes you feel like an explorer. If you found only a few petroglyphs or didn’t find the images that we will describe here – you were looking in the wrong place. There are two large groups of stones.
Mask / Andshel
The earliest rocks date back to about 12th millennium before Christ.
According to scientists, the grounds for such a serious dating are the following. One of the most famous images is an image of a horse. And, according to researchers, horses in this region were present only in the ice age, and afterwards horses disappeared from these places.
Most of the stones date back to the 3rd millennium BC – first half of the 1st millennium BC.
Mask / Andshel
All images were carved by the method of deep dented knocking out using stone tools, and later, with the help of iron tools. Deep knockout technique saved these images that are under the open sky, to the present days.
Mammoth / Andshel
Conventional images of the Russian Sikachi-Alyan petroglyphs: ritual shamanic anthropoid masks, animals, birds, mythical animals, boats, people, geometric shapes – circles, spirals. Among the animal images we want to mention mammoths and horses which lived here during the ice age.
Spiral / Andshel
Who Made these Stone Carvings
It is still unknown who carved these images on the rocks.
Scientists say that if they had found at least one whole skull, they could analyze it, but for now the answer to this question is in the future.
Of course they found skulls, but the ancient people had a tradition to literally crumble facial bones of the deadin order to fight with spirits.
Because of that it is not possible to reconstruct the appearance of the creators of the petroglyphs in this region of Russia.
Ornament / Andshel
Museum in the Village of Sikachi-Alyan
The museum is relatively small, but it has items from archaeological antiquities as well as contemporary objects made in the old style. For example, there is clothing made of fish skin, decorated with traditional Nanai ornaments.
Nanai ornaments (Nanai are small northern Russian people under the protection of the state), as well as for other nations, have a protective function.
The Nanai culture has at least 5-thousand-year history.
You can also buy items of such clothing from local residents. But be sure to carefully examine everything.
In addition, local Nanai children sell small souvenirs – amulets.
Also very interesting are reconstructed in open air models of Neolithic dwellings. You can imagine how people lived in these regions at different times.
In addition the museum organizes lectures on Nanai culture, shamanism, embroidery, weaving with beads. Everything is only in Russian.
Nanai children can also present to you a wonderful concert.
In addition to souvenirs, in the village you can buy cooked fish.
How to Get Here
The village of Sikachi-Alyan is located 75 kilometers from the city of Khabarovskon the banks of the Amur River. You can get there by yourself, or by a taxi, or by making arrangements in a travel agency.
Prices for tours are very reasonable.
The bus trip is about 2 hours, but not every day – only on Tuesday and Friday: it departs at 7am from a bus station in Khabarovsk and in the evening at 5pm. Find out in advance about the schedule of the return bus to Khabarovsk.
Make sure to have some taxi phone numbers – so that if you misseda return bus, you could get back to Khabarovsk.
Although, just in case, in the Nanai village of Sikachi-Alyan there are cabins for rent, where you can stay overnight. On a weekday there are likely to be fully booked.
Hurry up to see the stone carvings, because spring ice drift of the Amur river every year carries away stones with drawings of ancient man!
To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev