Golden Baba: a mysterious idol shrouded in legends and riddles

The Ural Mountains, with their majestic peaks and dense forests, have always been a place where legends and tales were born. One of the most mysterious stories associated with these mountains is about the Golden Baba, a mysterious idol that terrified the locals with its terrifying roar.

The Manpupuner Plateau, located in the heart of the Northern Ural Mountains, is famous for its bizarre stone figures. Seven majestic pillars rising above the ground like frozen giants attract attention and cause awe in everyone who sees them. According to an ancient Mansi legend, these stone pillars used to be living giants-samoed giants who were on their way across the mountains to Siberia to destroy the Vogul people. However, when they reached Manpupuner, their leader-shaman saw before him the sacred mountain of the Voguls – Yalpingner. With horror he threw his drum, which fell on the top of Koip, and all his companions were petrified with fear.

But this is not the only legend associated with these mountains. According to another legend, if you look at Mount Koip from the side of a small hill, you can see a petrified shaman with frightening facial features. According to this legend, the shamaness was punished for trying to insult the Golden Baba, an ancient idol once revered by all the peoples of the North. Legends say that the Golden Baba was crossing the Ural Mountains and the shamaness, who considered herself the mistress of the mountains, tried to apprehend the idol. She launched a scream that traveled for many versts around and killed all living things. The shamaness fell on her back and turned to stone.

Such stories about the Golden Baba can be heard not only from locals, but also from foreign travelers who visited Russia. Italian Alexander Gvagnini in his records from 1578 mentions about mountains where sounds and roar of the Golden Baba were heard.

But who really was the Golden Baba and where did she come from? The first written mention of her in Russia can be found in the Novgorod Chronicle of 1538. This chronicle tells about the missionary activity of Stephan of Perm, who put temples on the place of ancient sanctuaries. It is in this chronicle that it is mentioned that the Golden Baba was one of the objects of worship in the Perm land.

However, the legends about the Golden Baba have existed much longer. They are connected with Perm the Great – a vast country that existed in the IX-XII centuries and stretched through the forests of the Northern Dvina, Vychegda and the upper reaches of the Kama. The peoples who inhabited this territory worshipped the Golden Baba, a huge idol. Her sanctuary, according to the Scandinavian sagas, was somewhere in the mouth of the Northern Dvina and was guarded by six shamans. In the sagas the idol was called Yumala and was considered one of the most powerful gods of Perm the Great. This land was rich in skins of valuable animals, which were paid for by merchants from Khazaria and Vikings from Scandinavia.

Historical sources confirm that the Golden Baba was not only an object of worship, but also a symbol of the wealth and power of Perm the Great. The treasures collected in her sanctuary testify that this land was a center of trade and exchange for various peoples.

Today the Golden Baba remains one of the most mysterious and mystical figures in the history of the Ural Mountains. Her legends and tales continue to live in the hearts of local residents and attract the attention of researchers from all over the world.

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x