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The Republic of Mari El

Nolkinsky Kamen (Stone) Plot of Land

Урочище «Нолькинский камень»

Nolkinsky Stone is a huge, deep ravine stretching for many kilometers along the Nolka river. The area has a lot of natural springs with crystal clear and very cold water . According to legend, the watersi in each spring have specific healing substances that help cure certain diseases.

The area boasts a special microclimate, making it the only place in Mari El where there are rare plants included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. Among the species that can be found here are the calypso orchid, the legendary lady's slipper orchid (which in ancient times was called Amazon's amulet), wild lily, and unique fern species.

Nolkinsky Kamen has become famous for its ancient underground quarries, where many years ago stones for millstones were produced.  This sort of millstone stone was known in Russia as cheremissky.  According to legend, the Mari miners once a year sacrificed a hare to a god named Kamay to protect them from accidents under the ground and provide them with good stones.

Passages in some of the mine galleries penetrate into the stone mountain as far as 300 meters. Even in the hottest summer temperature, the caves remain at 6-8 degrees C. Ice stalactites can be found in the depths of the caves.  In total several dozen mine galleries can be visited on the left bank of the Nolka.

The quarry lost its practical value long ago.  Part of the Nolkinsky Kamen Plot of Land is included in the Gornoe Zadelye Natural-Historical Reserve. One of its functions is preserving millstone manufacturing as a folk craft.

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