This area in the center of Russia always causes great interest both among Russians and foreigners.
In fact Altai is divided into two regions: the Altai Territory and the Altai Republic.
And those who live in these places or come there, understand that these are completely two different regions, although they are neighbors.
What can you see in the Altai Territory?
The main city of the Altai Territory is Barnaul. This historic city is famous for the fact that in the times of Peter I there were large plants for processing ore and metals under the guidance of peasant Demidov.
The first steam engine in the world was invented here by engineer Polzunov. Many historical buildings keep a memory of these times.
Now it’s a modern city, which is interesting to see. You can fly here daily from Moscow. There are many good hotels and cozy cafes in the city.
"Swan Lake". This unusual place is very fond of photographers. Since the lake doesn’t freeze, more than 3 thousand swans come here for the winter. This is an amazing sight, especially at sunset. And you can always feed these beautiful birds and enjoy their dances.
What can you see in the Altai Republic?
This is a unique place for energy. Here the lowest number of local population per 1 sq.km. (2 people per 1 sq.km.). Therefore, there are a lot of wild, untouched places here. Amazing thoughts come to your mind here. Here you recover very quickly after a city bustle. The beauty of these places inspired many famous artists, poets, writers, including Roerich.
Lake Teletskoe. In translation from the local language the lake is called "Golden". According to legend, one rich man wanted to buy food for a large piece of gold, but no one sold food to him. Then he got angry and threw this piece of gold into the lake.
For local people this lake is sacred. It’s the possession of a strong Spirit that cleanses and removes all superfluity from people. Getting here, you see not only the beauty of nature, but you really feel a deep calm inside.
Stone mushrooms. Mysterious stone statues in the Altai mountains (Akkurum Tract) were called "Stone Mushrooms". They are huge, sometimes their height reaches more than seven meters. Standing on a thin stalk, which is not more than half a meter thick, these strange natural structures have a stationary shoot, creating a stunning picture. It is inexplicable how such a miracle of nature could be formed, and how these mushrooms are held and not destroyed for so many centuries. And it's not just beautiful, it's increadible, especially in combination with the beautiful landscapes of Altai.
Denis's Cave. An old legend says, that this name was given to the cave due to the fact that at the very end of the 18th century the Old Believer settled there - hermit Dionysius (Denis). He was a spiritual shepherd for the Old Believers of the nearby villages, and the Kerzhaks often came to his cell for advice and blessing.
Local residents call the cave "Bear Stone". From generation to generation they pass the tradition that in ancient times Black Shaman lived here , he was evil and very powerful. He could turn into a huge bear at any moment. This villain forced the people to pay a huge tribute. If they did not obey him, he used his sorcerous enchantment to collect clouds over the cave, sculpted a huge stone from them and rolled it to the foot of the mountain. Where the path of the stone ran, storm rains that destroyed pastures and crops did not stop. Desperate people began to pray for the help of the most important god - Ulgen, who managed to defeat the tormentor. He stashed the stormstone in the distant galleries of the cave.
At present, the cave is of great interest to archaeologists. Thus, archaeologists have found the remains of a previously unknown type of ancient man in this cave. It was reported by scientists in the journal Nature in 2010. A man from the Denis’s Cave is equally far away genetically both from the Neanderthal man and from the modern Homo sapiens.
Now it is also a popular tourist route.
Chuysky tract. According to the National Geographic magazine, the Chuysk tract is the fifth in ten in the ranking of the most beautiful roads in the world. And according to the reviews of our tourists, we can call the Chuysky tract the most photogenic road of Russia!
Katu-Yaryk ( translation from Turkic "Crack in the mountain").This pass is unique, there is no another one in the world. There is no classical symmetry which is usual for the passes: the serpentine of the ascent - the serpentine descent.
It is a 3,5-kilometer zigzag of 9 loops, cut down in the mountainside, with a 800-meter height difference, a "single-track" over the precipice, it is only possible to part with the oncoming vehicles when cornering (there are small cavities).
The road to this pass was made only 30 years ago, before that the locals drove only horse-drawn carts along the natural crevice between the rocks.
But even today it is the most dangerous and the most beautiful pass at the same time. Local residents consider it a gateway to the kingdom of the God of Death, and don’t go there without really important reasons.
But tourists are curious, so they like to experience "hot" sensations and go down it.
The Martian Valley. The most beautiful place in the Chui steppe. The high content of mercury in the rock gives it a reddish hue. It’s a real miracle of nature. Unreal landscapes, reminiscent Mars with their colours.
The mountains have different shades of red, from bright orange to dark brown. The beginning of the Chui steppe is nearly without vegetation. And these mountains are low, hilly, with crevices. And all this creates amazing landscapes.
Karakol lakes. There are places in the Altai, where there are no roads. Local people don’t like it when someone visits such places and disturb the Spirits unnecessarily. These places accumulate energy. Probably, it is the main reason why roads are laid there.
One of such places is the Karakol Lakes. They are only seven, located at different heights. Tourists go there to look at this incredible beauty, despite the difficult road. Local people recommend "cleanse the soul" before visiting such places ....
Belukha Mountain. Belukha is a majestic monument of Altai nature. Remote to the same distance from the three oceans - Pacific, Atlantic and Indian, it is surrounded by secrets and legends. A well-known researcher, theosophist and artist Roerich assumed that Shambhala is located here. There are burials of the great Shamans of Altai. Local people worship her like the Great Spirit.
It is very difficult to approach the Belukha and especially to climb it. But many mountaineers dare it and say that it’s an unforgettable experience.
Plateau Ukok. Plateau of Peace. The Ukok plateau in the Altai Mountains is a flatland located at the junction of the borders of four countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. For local residents, the plateau has always been a sacred place - a step to heaven. Here, ancient tribes buried their ancestors, shamans performed rituals and communicated with spirits. And today local shamans consider the mountain knot Tabyn-Bogdo-Ola as a "gateway between the three worlds", which can only be accessed with the permission of spirits.
Nowadays, the plateau became famous when, at the end of the 20th century, archeologists discovered the mummy of the "Altai princess" in one of the burial mounds. A woman-warrior of European appearance was dressed in white silk and decorated with precious stones. On the skin of her hands there was a blue tattoo with a picture of griffins. Burial was more than 5 thousand years. The local population called the "Altai princess" - the princess Kadyn - the foremother of the human race, the messenger of the sky. The princess is now kept in the museum of archeology and ethnography of the Siberian Department of the Russian Academy of Sciences. But the Altai shamans protest after this, because they believe that in this way people disturb the spirit of the princess.
This is one of those places where there are no paved roads. It’s difficult to get there and it’s better to take a local guides, "cleaning yourself" before and asking permission of local Spirits.
Altai Petroglyphs. Altai is called a country of petroglyphs. "Written cliffs", as they are called by the locals. Rock paintings were discovered here in large numbers. Basically, petroglyphs in the Altai represent images of various animals, especially game - elk, roe deer, wild boar, deer and so on. It is easily explained - in the ancient times many tribes lived in the Altai mountainous area and their main occupation was hunting. Here you can see whole galleries of such drawings.
People of Altai. Altaians live in the Altai. They have their own language, their own culture, their customs. Until now, they do not admit strangers into their culture. Thanks to a very small number, they all know one another or relatives of their friends. Therefore, they are very suspicious of any stranger. Their religion is shamanism. For a long time, Christian activists tried to eradicate this, but they did not succeed. Living in isolation from civilization, under rather harsh conditions, they trust only nature, shaman and each other. But if you become their friend, then all their family and their acquaintances become your friend too.
Welcome to Russia!
Welcome to Altai!