From Sochi to Elbrus: 16 reasons to visit the Russian Caucasus

Caucasus Mountains, general information about the Caucasus Mountains

The amazing nature of the Caucasus amazes our imagination, makes our heart beat faster, and our soul freezes with delight. Every year more and more travelers from different parts of the Earth come here to see this pristine and feel the greatness of the Caucasus Mountains.

The nature of the North Caucasus is striking in its diversity. There is the sea, mountains, canyons, meadows, and dunes. Great Russian writers, poets, artists and composers loved to travel around the Caucasus. And today tourists come here to admire the picturesque nature. There is something to see here so that it will remain in your memories for a long time.

Mount Elbrus

The highest peak of Russia and Europe is located on the border of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia. She is included in the list of the highest peaks of the six parts of the world "Seven Peaks". For mountaineering ascents and hiking trips, the most favorable time is considered to be the period from June to September. It offers vacationers 35 km. slopes of varying difficulty, 12 km. cable cars, equipment rental, instructions, first-aid posts, entertainment centers, wireless internet. There are mountain shelters for tourists.

Tobot Waterfall

This waterfall is a very impressive, and at the same time, quite easily accessible sight of the mountainous Dagestan. However, the waterfall does not have a powerful flow of water all year round, so it is best to come here in spring. At this time, the waterfall makes the greatest impression.

City of the Dead

A very mysterious archaeological site located in North Ossetia. The burial complex consists of 99 aboveground crypts. It is amazing that in this city it is almost impossible to see people on the streets and hear human speech.

The largest complex of medieval castles Erzi was built in the sixteenth century and includes 46 residential towers. On the territory there is a reserve with a total area of ​​35 thousand. The unique objects of the local flora include thickets of sea buckthorn and an array of hooked pine.

Blue Lakes

5 amazing lakes (two Upper, Lower, Dry, Secret) can be easily found between the rocks in Kabardino-Balkaria, 30 km from Nalchik. Natural, unsolved mysteries are hidden in these clear waters. Each of the lakes has its own characteristics and individual chemical composition. For example, the Lower Blue Lake smells like "rotten eggs" due to the accumulation of hydrogen sulfide in it. Four lakes (except for the Lower) communicate with each other.

Baksan Gorge

The edge of immense possibilities

The Caucasus Mountains are a mountain system between the Black, Azov and Caspian Seas. The etymology of the name has not been established.

It is divided into two mountain systems: the Greater Caucasus and the Lesser Caucasus.

The Caucasus is often divided into the North Caucasus and Transcaucasia, the border between which is drawn along the Main, or Dividing, ridge of the Greater Caucasus, which occupies a central position in the mountain system.

The Greater Caucasus stretches for more than 1100 km from the northwest to the southeast, from the Anapa region and the Taman Peninsula to the Absheron Peninsula on the Caspian coast, near Baku. The Greater Caucasus reaches its maximum width in the region of the Elbrus meridian (up to 180 km). In the axial part there is the Main Caucasian (or Vodorazdelny) ridge, to the north of which there are a number of parallel ridges (mountain ranges), including a monoclinal (cuest) character (see Greater Caucasus). The southern slope of the Greater Caucasus for the most part consists of en-echelon ridges adjacent to the Greater Caucasus Range. Traditionally, the Greater Caucasus is divided into 3 parts: the Western Caucasus (from the Black Sea to Elbrus), the Central Caucasus (from Elbrus to Kazbek) and the Eastern Caucasus (from Kazbek to the Caspian Sea).

The most famous peaks - Mount Elbrus (5642 m) and Mount Kazbek (5033 m) are covered with eternal snow and glaciers.

The Greater Caucasus is a region with a large modern glaciation. The total number of glaciers is about 2,050, with an area of ​​about 1,400 km². More than half of the glaciation of the Greater Caucasus is concentrated in the Central Caucasus (50% of the number and 70% of the area of ​​glaciation). The major centers of glaciation are Mount Elbrus and the Bezengi wall (with the Bezengi glacier, 17 km).

From the northern foot of the Greater Caucasus to the Kumo-Manych depression, the Ciscaucasia stretches with vast plains and uplands. To the south of the Greater Caucasus are the Colchis and Kura-Araks lowlands, the Inner Kartli plain and the Alazan-Avtoran valley. In the southeastern part of the Caucasus - the Talysh mountains (up to 2477 m high) with the adjacent Lankaran lowland. In the middle and in the west of the southern part of the Caucasus, there is the Transcaucasian Highlands, consisting of the ranges of the Lesser Caucasus and the Armenian Highlands (Mount Aragats, 4090 m).

The Lesser Caucasus is connected to the Greater Caucasus by the Likh Range, in the west it is separated from it by the Colchis Lowland, in the east by the Kura depression. Length - about 600 km, height - up to 3724 m.

Mountains near Sochi - Achishkho, Aibga, Chigush (Chugush, 3238 m), Pseashkho and others (resort area Krasnaya Polyana) - hosted the participants of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.


Good prospects for the development of the tourism industry, opportunities to compete in terms of attracting fans of active, cultural and educational recreation with regions such as Tatarstan and Bashkortostan were discussed back in the 90s.

You will find ruddy khychins, homemade pine cone jam, awesome views and locals who are just right to take hospitality lessons. Read about the most delicious places of the Russian Caucasus that you shouldn't miss!

Tickle your nerves in Dargavs

North Ossetia - Alania

If your blood runs cold even from movie thrillers, Dargavs should be avoided. Near this village is the largest necropolis of the Caucasus: almost a hundred crypts on the side of the mountain. Large and beautiful tombs, similar to the temples of Angkor, belong to noble families, but the rest are no less impressive. If you're not afraid, look through the window to see bones and mummies. Many lie in wooden boats, why is unknown. When the level of horror goes off scale, move to the 15-meter ancestral tower of the Mamsurovs - the highest in Ossetia. She turned at least four centuries old, and the Mamsurovs themselves, according to legend, descend from the mythical Ossetian prince Tag.

How to get to Dargavs: The nearest city with a railway station and an airport is Vladikavkaz. Then take a bus to the village of Dzhimara or look for a taxi.

Admire Elbrus

Border of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia

At first glance at the two-headed peak, you understand: Elbrus is not an ordinary mountain. An ancient volcano, which has been worshiped by different peoples for thousands of years, is hidden under the expanses of snow and ice. To join the modern Elbrus fan club, settle in a nice hotel in Terskol or in the Azau glade and give yourself time to get used to the altitude. When you feel that your heart is beating calmly, and there is more than enough energy, jump on the cable car and take off under the clouds. Get to the upper station at 3847 meters and feel like on another planet.

Want higher? Think carefully if you are ready to climb. It will require good fitness, climbing equipment and an extra week for acclimatization, and an instructor will be responsible for safety. If you are not ready for radical steps, just take a walk and take a spectacular selfie in the snow, even at the height of summer. Going back down to the foot, you can ride a horse or go on a mini-hike to the Maiden Spit waterfall. In the evening, celebrate your acquaintance with the highest peak in Russia and Europe as you sip on mulled wine and gaze at the starry sky with the silhouettes of the mountains.

How to get to Elbrus: By train or plane to Nalchik or Mineralnye Vody, then by bus to Terskol directly or through Tyrnyauz. If you are in a hurry, take a taxi or rent a car directly from the airport.

Get healthier in Zheleznovodsk

Stavropol Territory

Having decided to explore the vast Russian expanses, tourists increasingly pay attention to the attractive resorts of the North Caucasus. One word “Caucasus” evokes all kinds of associations: songs by Vysotsky and Vizbor, poems by Pushkin and Lermontov, snow-capped peaks, glaciers, delicious mountain air and stunning landscapes. In reality, everything turns out to be even better.

What is the Caucasus?

About 28-23 million years ago, a huge mountain fold was formed between the Caspian, Black and Azov Seas, it is called the Caucasus. Traditionally, the Caucasus is referred to the European part of the continent, Elbrus is considered the highest peak in Europe - no less than 5642 m. Usually the Caucasian mountains are divided into the Caucasus, Transcaucasia, as well as the North Caucasus, where the famous resorts are located.

How to get to the North Caucasus

If in the time of Pushkin the road to the Caucasus took many months, today everything is much simpler. There is a railway connection from Moscow and St. Petersburg, departure, respectively, at 21. 0 and 03. 7. The price of tickets, depending on comfort (reserved seat, compartment or suite), ranges from 3 to 7 thousand rubles. The train makes a stop in Rostov, it takes about a day and a half, the Vladikavkaz-Moscow train leaves at 17.6, to St. Petersburg - at 06.9

The Crimea-Caucasus ferry crossing today also provides an opportunity to get to the Caucasus. You can buy an electronic ticket on the official website of the ferry, where there is a ferry schedule, tariffs, weather, online broadcasting from accumulation sites is conducted.

Active air traffic allows you to quickly get to Minvody, Krasnodar, Maykop, Nalchik, Beslan or Makhachkala.

North Caucasian resorts

If you look at the North Caucasus resorts on the official website, you can see that they are divided into two types:

The balneological resort cities of the Caucasus are referred to as wellness: Mineralnye Vody, Essentuki, Zheleznovodsk, Pyatigorsk and Kislovodsk. It is here from the bowels of the earth that healing mineral springs are gushing, known for their regenerating power for a long time, therefore, the sanatorium and medical facilities are well developed in these cities.

To cure serious diseases or just relax and gain strength, they drink mineral water, bathe in it, carry out a number of medical procedures. So, in the village of Suvorovskaya (Kislovodsk) you can swim in pools with hot mineral water, whose temperature varies from +20 to 400. Mud therapy in Lake Tambukan is no less useful. At the resorts of the Caucasus, there are more than 130 sanatoriums that conduct treatment and recovery courses.

The Caucasus Mountains are known for their ski resorts: Lagonaki (Krasnodar Territory, Adygea), Arkhyz (Karachay-Cherkessia), Elbrus (Kabardino-Balkaria), Mamison (North Ossetia-Alania), Matlas (Dagestan). In the future, it is planned to unite them into a single largest ski cluster in the world with 900 km of slopes and 200 lifts, but winter skiing enthusiasts are already exploring Russian ski resorts.

1. Lagonaki. The resort is located in the biosphere reserve of the same name, there is no large vegetation on the slopes, so in winter trails are laid literally everywhere. The longest of them is 2.5 km, there are trails for beginners. It's great to snowboard on Lagonaki, because. there is a lot of snow. The tourist bases and hotels are equipped with their own lifts, and other recreation opportunities are also offered - cafes, restaurants, swimming pools, spa complexes, saunas. In winter, the Lagonaki plateau is used not only for skiing and snowboarding, but also for sledging, ice skating, snowmobiles and snow groomers. And in summer, life at the resort is in full swing, because tourists explore the ice caves, go down the rivers on boats, go hiking, explore the natural attractions of the protected area.

The North Caucasus is a historical and cultural region of Russia. Includes the northern part of the slope of the Greater Caucasus Range and the Ciscaucasia, the western part of the southern slope up to the Psou River [1] (along which the state border of Russia runs). This is the most populous region of the Russian Federation. The total number of representatives of the North Caucasian peoples living in Russia, established during the 2002 census, is about 6 million people. The area is 258.3 thousand km² (1.5% of the country's area). Population 14.8 million (as of January 1, 2010), or 10.5% of the population of Russia [2].

The North Caucasus has been part of the Russian state since the 16th century; fully incorporated in 1864 at the end of the Caucasian War. There are 7 republics in the North Caucasus:

and 2 territories (Krasnodar Territory and Stavropol Territory), which are part of the South and North Caucasian Federal Districts [2]. If the entire Ciscaucasia is included in the North Caucasus, drawing its border along the Kumo-Manych depression, the regions of Kalmykia and the Rostov region, lying to the south of Manych, should also be included in the North Caucasus.



Ancient and early Middle Ages

At the end of II - beginning of I millennium BC. e. the dominant type of economy is becoming agriculture and pasture cattle breeding, due to the vertical zoning of the region. In the foothills, a local type of cattle breeding, arable farming, is developing. In the Ciscaucasian steppes, nomadic cattle breeding is developing.

The first inhabitants of the Northern Black Sea region known from written sources are considered to be the Cimmerians, displaced into Asia Minor at the beginning of the 1st millennium BC. e. Scythians. The Northwestern Caucasus and the Azov-Prikubanskaya territory were the main springboard for the Cimmerians' campaigns in the Transcaucasus and Asia Minor. In the Kuban region in the VIII-VII centuries. BC e. the culture of the ancient Meotian tribes is taking shape. In the VII century. BC e. the Scythians who occupied the Northern Black Sea region entered a military clash with the North Caucasian tribes of the plains.

From the 6th century BC e. the ancient Greek colonization of the Northern Black Sea region takes place. In the IV century BC. e. many Meotian tribes of the Azov region were subordinated to the Bosporus kingdom. At the end of the 1st millennium BC. e. Iranian-speaking nomads, the Sarmatians, are moving from the Northern Caspian to the Ciscaucasian steppes to the foothills. In the II century. BC e. Sarmatians penetrate the right bank of the Kuban River into the environment of the sedentary agricultural Meotian population. From the beginning of the 1st millennium A.D. e. Alans of the Don region and the Caucasus are mentioned. Alania is referred to as an area of ​​the plains east of the Kuban region with the characteristic features of a military democracy.

In the 70s. 4th century AD e. began a massive invasion of the Huns into the Caucasus, primarily on the lands of the nomadic Alan tribes. The Bosporan Kingdom and many ancient cities were destroyed. As a result, the political role of the Meotian tribes was undermined in the Northwestern Caucasus, while the Alans retreated to the right bank of the Terek and to the upper reaches of the Kuban. The region was under the rule of the Huns until the middle of the 5th century. Until the 7th century, the Hun tribes played an important role in the socio-political history of the region [3].

In the 7th century, a group of Turkic-speaking Volga Bulgarians moved to the Kuban. In the 8th century, the Khazar Kaganate established control over the steppe Caucasus [4].

At the beginning of 1000 n. e. four ethnocultural regions are formed: Zakuban, Central Caucasian, Dagestan and Ciscaucasian, with their dominant ethnic groups. The ancestors of the Adyghe peoples lived on the territory of the left bank of the Kuban. In the central part of the Caucasus, from the upper reaches of the Kuban, the Alan culture dominated (in the basin of the upper tributaries of the Kuban and the foothill-flat regions of the Terek River basin) and the culture of the autochthonous tribes of the mountainous zone. The Ciscaucasian region in the steppe zone north of the Kuban, in the middle reaches of the Terek to the lower reaches of the Sulak River was a zone of military-political domination of the Turkic tribes [3].

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