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Altai Republic

Altai republic – республика алтай

The area called Altai embraces two territorial entities of Russia: the Altai Кrai (Barnaul) and the Altai Republic (Gorno-Altaisk). While the Altai Krai is mostly flat, the Altai Republic is mostly mountainous and therefore much more scenic. There is probably no other place that combines the beauty of Tibet and the Alps like this marvelous corner of the world. Some revere the region as a major pole of spiritual energy.

gorno-altaisk – горно-алтайск

The small capital of the Altai Republic is located in a cosy valley. The town was founded in 1830 and has no significant attractions. The main landmarks are: a photogenic wooden  church, a rather big WWII memorial and administrative buildings around Lenin square.

The National Theatre.

The Kurultai (Parliament).

Undoubtedly, the major attractions of Altai are its beautiful and diverse nature, scenic views, crystal clear cold lakes, waterfalls, caves and traces of ancient civilizations. Just mere driving across Altai by its main road called the Chuisky Trakt  (Чуйский Тракт) gives you a chance to see picturesque landscapes, petroglyphs, burial mounds, ancient monuments, mountains, steppes and forests.


On top of the Seminsky Pass 1,717 m ASL.

The best views are between Aktash (Акташ) and Kosh-Agach (Кош-Агач).

In October.

The same view in July.


The Kurai Steppe (Курайская Степь).

The well-known attraction of Altai is kamennaya baba (stone she-idols). Some are found just 200-300 meters from the Chuisky Trakt. All faceless.

A faced one can be seen near Kosh-Agach together with a ritual stone mound, prayer flags and a sacrificial facility to sacrifice lambs and babies.

In the village of Inya (Иня) Lenin mounts what used to be a Buddhist stupa.


From Aktash a dirt road leads to a small gorge called “Red Gate”. One can go by this road as far as Lake Teletskoe via the dramatic Katu-Yaryk (Кату-Ярык) Canyon.

The Red Gate gorge.

The Katu-Yaryk canyon. The road zigzags down the slope for 3.5 km. Use low gear.

 

 

If a road traveler dares venture right or left from the main road, he will see more scenic views.

The turquoise blue Katun (Катунь) River is fast and crystal clear.

Grey cranes occur naturally in Altai.


Rain shower over the plateau near Kosh-Agach.

Symbolic entrance gate to Kosh-Agach.

Statues of Altai revered animals: a camel, an eagle and a yak bull.




In Chemal (Чемал) a wobbly cable bridge over the Katun River leads to a small island with a tiny wooden church rebuilt recently to the original 1849 design. Views are very pretty.

Altai resort

Luxury lovers should go to the Altai Resort in the village of Urlu-Aspak (Урлу-Аспак). Big accommodation with a private sauna, private ponds for fishing, a thorough medical examination and treatment.


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