Join University of Chelyabinsk professor Tatiana Savelieva and her undergraduate folklore students on their “field trip” to the north Urals where they will document the beliefs and stories that have sprung up around the dramatic rock formations called Manpupuner (Mountain of Idols). These seven rock columns stand more than 100 feet high and are considered holy by the indigenous Mansi population. The columns are also quite remote — visitors choose between a 3-day trek over marshy taiga or a helicopter ride (we’re planning on the latter). The expedition will collect stories and beliefs from residents and guests of Ivdel, a town which is a popular jumping-off point for those who backpack or fly to Manpupuner.

Advisory: the helicopter trip to Manpupuner is dependent on good flying weather. This is usually not an issue in the summer, and our team will have a window of several days in which to make the trip. Still, volunteers must be prepared for the possibility of cancellation of the helicopter trip.

Note: this expedition was originally scheduled for July, 2020. It has been moved to August. Exact dates will be posted when available.

Photo by Kasimys [CC BY-SA 4.0 (

About This Expedition

  • Location:

    Ivdel village in Sverdlovsk province, August 2020

  • Arrive In:


  • Depart From:


  • Expedition Languages:

    Russian, English

  • Projected Fee:

    $1570- $2340 (depending on number of volunteers)

Meet The Team

  • head shot of Dr. Savelieva

    Dr. Tatiana Savelieva

    Associate Professor, Department of Philology. Chelyabinsk State University, Miass branch

    Special interests: neo-mythology, mechanisms of mythologization and sacralization of space. Dr. Savelieva has led folklore students into the field on a “folklore praticum” every summer for the last 10 years.

See Also