Shiryaevo, “the Zhiguli pearl”, a picturesque village in Samara Region on the right bank of the River Volga, is part of the Samarskaya Luka National Park. This is the place where you can hear the echoing silence of giant limestone caves, see Ilya Repin's famous realist paining Barge Haulers of the Volga with your own eyes, and drink water from the Stone Chalice springs.
The approach to Shiryaevo has a view of Popova Mountain, home to Shiryaevo’s famous artificial cave-mines. They consist of seven separate labyrinths of criss-crossing galleries, up to 300 metres long each. Today, it is truly an underground city with tunnel galleries big enough to fit a double-decker bus in. Make sure you go with an experienced guide and carry a torch with you as it is quite easy to get lost.
In the 19th century, limestone and building-stone began to be mined at Shiryaevo. The first limestone factory was built here by a merchant named Georgy Vanushin in 1897. All that is left of the factory today is the remains of a lime kiln by Popova Mountain.
The mines have remained largely unchanged since 1950–1957, when the Zhiguli hydroelectric power station was built.
The limestone mined at Shiryaevo was composed of nearly 100% calcium carbonate, making it the best limestone mined in the USSR. Nowadays, however, limestone is not mined by the trenchless method and Shiryaevo’s mines have been quiet and chilly for many years.
- Shiryaevo Village
Barge Haulers on the Volga and Repin's House
In 1976, Samara Art Museum purchased the house where Repin lived while he was painting the famous Burlaki. The painting itself is in the Russian Museum in St. Petersburg, while Repin's memorial house in Shiryaevo (opened in 1990) is home to the sketches he made prior to undertaking the painting itself.
- Sovetskaya Ulitsa, 14, Shiryaevo Village
- from 60 rub.
- 7 (927) 650 09 80
The Stone Chalice
- Zhigulevsk, Zhigulevskiye Mountains