© unsplash.com/ Daniil Silantev
© unsplash.com/ Daniil Silantev

A romantic walk along the French Hill in the Urals

3 minutes to read

The picturesque ancient ruins, overgrown with forest, evoke thoughts about Charles Perrault's fairy tale "Sleeping Beauty" within many people. Although the courtiers and the beautiful princess remain invisible while walking in these places, you can fantasize about what was here before the evil fairy cast a fatal spell. I am sure that a romantic walk along the French Hill in the Urals will inspire you.

© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov
© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov

How to get there

The French Hill is located in the Chelyabinsk Region, 30 kilometers from the city of Miass. The distance from Yekaterinburg is 220 km and from Chelyabinsk - 120 km. You need to drive to the village of Naili by car and then walk northwest about two kilometers on a forest road. Enjoying the clean air and the beauty of nature, do not miss the necessary turn - it is marked with a red-and-white ribbon on a tree.

Why is there a French Hill in the Urals?

© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov
© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov

I hope you will not be too disappointed if you find out that, in fact, there was no royal castle with fairies and a beautiful princess here and that the kiss of the prince will not save anyone. The name "French Hill" has been preserved since the time when the tsarist government put a piece of land with the right to extract minerals into operation by a French private company

© pochel.ru/ Ilya Ponomarev
© pochel.ru/ Ilya Ponomarev

The French mined asbestos fiber minerals from 1878 to 1915 on the mountain. At the beginning of the 20th century, the French secretly began to mine gold on the Miass River. The authorities found out about this, and the concession was terminated. Since then, there is no industrial production here.

What will you see there?

French architects built a factory building in the style of medieval knight's castles - thick walls, windows-loopholes. According to legend, secretly mined gold was hidden in deep niches. Perhaps it was the extraction of gold, not asbestos, that was originally the goal of entrepreneurs. Thick walls were supposed to guard the treasures. Now there are picturesque ruins from the building, in which you can see narrow windows, deep niches, and places where the equipment was attached. 

© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov
© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov

Ancient stairs very poetically fit into the landscape. They are better preserved than industrial and residential buildings. An old clearing leads uphill from the castle. The climb is steep, but do not be lazy. 

© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov
© uraloved.ru/ Pavel Raspopov

On the way up, you will meet ponds. These are flooded industrial careers. From above they look very beautiful. Perhaps you will come across an asbestos outlier or one of the springs. Thickets of blueberries and mushrooms grow along the clearing. The surrounding trees are over 100 years old. From the top of the French hill opens a view of the Ural Range.

© mirvokrugnas.com/ unknown author
© mirvokrugnas.com/ unknown author

A romantic walk along the French Hill in the Urals will probably make you come up with your own fairy tale about an abandoned castle and a sleeping beauty. Do not forget to bring home a small pebble zmeevik as a souvenir. They say it has magical properties - it absorbs negative energy. There is a lot of it on the hill. 

Finally, I advise you to visit the French Hill in the summer. Then, in addition to this, you can explore the sights of the city of Miass, visit the Pelmen Museum, and relax on Lake Turgoyak. This lake is called the "Ural Baikal." But that is another story...

Naili, French Hill, Chelyabinsk Region
Naili, French Hill, Chelyabinsk Region

The author

Natalya Lisovskaya

Natalya Lisovskaya

Hi, I'm Natalya, a journalist from the ancient Siberian city of Tyumen, in the Ural Federal District. I love my Siberian land, its rich history and the harsh and majestic beauty of its nature. I hope you will fall in love with it too, after reading my stories.

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