Sleeping princess, hermits and ancient secrets. What should a Russian tourist in Altai look for?

Source: RIA News “
To visit here, in the “place of power”, sung by the artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich, is worth at least once. talks about what awaits a traveler in the Altai Republic.

From the beginning of time

If you say “Altai” and listen to yourself, the first thing you remember, even if you’ve never been there, is the smell of herbal tart. Then there will be images of mountain lakes and meadows, morning fog and blessed loneliness, which is so often missing from the territory of Central Russia. The population density in the Altai Republic is only 2.5 people per square kilometer.

Generally, there are more than one or two such areas in the world. There is the Altai (Alatai) in Kyrgyzstan, in China … And even in Russia – the Altai Territory with Barnaul as its capital and the Altai Republic (Mountain) with only one city – the capital Gorno-Altaisk.

It was this area that was one of the first in Siberia to be settled by primitive people, it happened about 500 thousand years ago. Here are the caves Ust-Kanskaya, Terrible, Denisova, where archaeologists discover cave-type sites

It was here, in the Denisovskaya cave, that in 1980 the remains of the Denisovan man, an extinct Homo subspecies that lived just 40,000 years ago, were found at the same time as the Neanderthals and Homo sapiens that inhabited the area. .

Altai is literally the cradle of civilizations. In the Bronze Age, people of Afanasiev culture lived here, leaving behind strange burial monuments. In the Iron Age, the Scythians settled here, who were famous not only as mercenaries, but also created real works of art, which depicted animals – real and imaginary.

Later, the Gorny Altai was also home to the Xiongnu – early Mongols, barbarians, whose invasions of the Han Empire built the Great Wall of China. There were also Turkish-speaking Kyrgyz, who created their own Haganates here, and Naimans and other peoples. The Altai Territories were part of the Mongol Empire, and then the Kalmyk state – Hanato Jungar. And only in 1756, after the defeat of the Khanate, at the request of the council of the Zaisans – the tribes that inhabited the territory, Empress Elizabeth accepted their application to join the Russian Empire.

Source: RIA News “

The Gorny Altai, located on the border of Western Siberia and Central Asia, was of great strategic importance to Russia. The inclusion of this region in its composition made it possible to strengthen the geopolitical position of the state and create conditions for promotion in Central Asia. And the scattered tribes and peoples gathered in one audience – the Altai.

Along Chuisky Street

There are few locals in the Altai – only 215 thousand people in a huge area of ​​93 thousand square kilometers, which is comparable to the territory of an average European country. But every summer, along Chuisky Street, which stretches from Biysk to the Tashanta outpost for 600 kilometers, there is an endless array of tourist cars wishing to visit the Forbidden Land.

Of course, there are those who want to see the beauties of the area in winter, but then the mountains are covered with a thick layer of snow and wandering there is an activity for big fans. But in the spring the snow melts and the Altai appears in front of the tourists in all its primordial beauty.

This region has long been one of the main destinations of domestic tourism in Russia, from the family to the extreme. Chuysky Street lets you enjoy truly unique landscapes, surrounded by a huge variety of landscapes – it is no coincidence that National Geographic magazine named this street one of the ten most beautiful in the world.

The main natural wealth of this picturesque area is in its reserves. The first of these, the Altai, was created in 1932. It is located on the right bank of Lake Teletskoye and includes part of its water area, as well as adjacent rivers.

Lake Teletskoye is called the second Lake Baikal. Its length is 78 kilometers, and it is located in a tectonic fault, ie at the junction of the lithospheric plates of the Earth’s crust. Someday, after many millions of years, there will be a new ocean, but for now its fresh, almost spring water remains crystalline and cold even on a hot day.

Mainly coniferous trees grow here – pine, fir, fir, cedar. In the spring, you may encounter a lean and hungry bear that has just woken up from hibernation. The horizon is covered by mountains, the tops of which are often hidden by clouds.

Source: RIA News “

Not far from here, behind the Korbu ridge, is the source of the Abakan River, and there is the hut of the Lykov ascetics, who fled there from the Stalinist repressions of the 1930s. Now only Agafya Lykova lives there.

To understand how large the territory of the Altai Reserve is, suffice it to say that it starts from the border with Mongolia and the Republic of Tuva and reaches the taiga of Kuzbass and Khakassia. Of course, such an area is very difficult to control, so poachers come here, no, no, and stop. However, for the most part, forest protection is meeting its tasks and the populations of rare animals here are increasing from year to year.

Increasingly higher

If you continue along Chuisky Street, do not turn towards Lake Biya and go east, then after a while the Uimon mountain steppe will open in front of the traveler. In the same way, in 1926, she was seen by the artist Nicholas Roerich, who was here as part of a Central Asian mission.

A little further on, on the banks of the Katun River, which flows here, live Russian Old Believers. Apart from them, there is no soul here – except perhaps the management and science departments of the Katunsky Biosphere Reserve and the Belukha Natural Park. Lakes, waterfalls, rocks and glaciers of the Katunsky ridge simultaneously excite the imagination, stimulate all the senses and at the same time calm and calm.

Source: RIA News “

Unlike the Altai Sanctuary, Katunsky is small and half of its territory consists of inanimate glaciers, ski slopes and cliffs. The rest is taiga, crossed by neat trails and trails controlled by forest rangers. There are snow leopard, Siberian ibex, maral, deer, deer calf, bear, lynx, wolf, elk, ferret and samurai.

Small lakes are hidden in the thicket and milky water flows from the Gebler Glacier. Here is the source of the main river of the Altai – Katun, respectively, and the Ob, which consists of the confluence of Katun and Biya. Remember the legend of Belovodye and the milky rivers with jelly banks – here it is, its original.

Sleeping Princess and Gorno-Altaisk

Chui Road goes almost to the very Mongolian border, through the Kosh-Agach mountain center, located in the center of the Chui steppe, which is almost two kilometers above sea level.

Southwest of Kosh-Agach is the famous Ukok Plateau. Here, in one of the burial mounds, 30 years ago, archaeologists found in the ice the mummy of a woman who died about 2300 years ago

The tattoos were clearly visible on her body, she was dressed in a fur hat and a fur coat. Scientists have found that the young woman died of breast cancer.

An Altai princess was found in the Ak-Alakha-Z tomb. In addition to this, in the burial, which is attributed to the culture of the Pazyryks, there were six horses with saddles and leashes and a wooden deck made of pine.

The appearance of the Altai princess excited the scientific world, as the well-preserved body, household items and clothes allowed us to learn a lot about the way of life of the people living in the Altai Territory in 3rd-5th ceke π.Χ.

Source: RIA News “

From 1993 to 2012, the mummy was kept in the museum of the Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences and the Altai were extremely unhappy with it, as they considered the Princess a local treasure. Therefore, in the end, the mummy was transferred to the Anokhin National Museum in Gorno-Altaisk, where it is today.

Gorno-Altaisk, the capital of the Republic of Altai, is located at the foot of the confluence of the Ulalushka and Maima rivers.

This is a small modern city with a population of just 64 thousand people. The main attraction is the Republican Museum of Local Peace, which has many branches throughout the area. In addition to the Princess of Altai, there is a unique collection of rock specimens, specimens from the Paleolithic site, unique materials dedicated to the indigenous and Old Believing population of the republic.

But, of course, the museum is not everything. There are many other attractions in the city. Here is the temple of the Transfiguration of the Lord and the Temple of the Prayer of the Most Holy Theotokos and a Buddhist dachan. The cultural life of the capital of the republic is concentrated in the national drama theater.

Cautious comfort

Altai is not only almost untouched by nature, it has a very developed tourist infrastructure, which allows you to make your stay in the area comfortable. Its main hub is the resort Belokurikha, where there are 19 sanatoriums. It is located in the Altai Territory, on the border of the Republic of Altai, not far from Gorno-Altaisk.

Source: RIA News “

Here you can enjoy the purest ionized air, rich in light air ions, swim in thermal springs, whose alkaline mineral water is beneficial for health and try mud treatment from the lakes of the Altai Territory. If you want a more active vacation, then near Belokurikha there are three ski slopes with a length of 650 to 2050 meters.

In general, ski tourism is one of the most popular types of active winter tourism in the region. And you can practice it not only in Belokurikha – many travel agencies offer to explore the Altai Territory, hidden under a dense snow cover in winter, on skis. At the same time, it is not necessary to engage in extreme sports – this can be done with the help of avalanches that place ski slopes and carry personal items of vacationers.

In summer, tourists have a huge number of opportunities for outdoor activities. In the Altai, you can go horseback riding, rafting, hiking, diving, climbing, flying a glider and even a helicopter, exploring local caves, fishing and hunting and studying the history of the area “in the field”. The complexity of the tours can also vary – for both professionals and regular holidaymakers.

Source: RIA News “

Altai is not just a region. This is a place that has a special, incomparable spirit. Its exterior beauty is full of secrets and magic, which is why Nicholas Roerich, artist, mystic philosopher, traveler and archaeologist, dreamed of creating a new highly spiritual culture here until the end of his life.

Here, where East and West are united, in his view, old and new cultural and moral values, as well as scientific and religious ideas about the world, could be united. And to understand what he was talking about, why he was dreaming of Altai and depicting it on his canvases, it is worth coming here at least once. It will almost certainly not be the last.

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