It's no secret that Altai is one of the most popular and photographed places in Russia. But we propose to look at the Altai mountains in a new way. Winter. Snow. The stormy rivers have died down. Snow-capped harsh mountains. Deserted Chuisky tract. Frosty air fills the chest. Power and silence.
We are going on a big and intense photo tour to the winter Gorny Altai. On one line of the route, we tried to fit all the iconic beauty of Gorny Altai.
At the confluence of the Chuya and Katun, we will see the beautiful valleys of these rivers, recalcitrant to frost. In Kurai, we will appreciate the vastness of the high-mountainous steppe bordering the peaks of the North-Chuisky ridge. Our lenses will reflect the majestic cedars on the Seminsky pass and the dangerous serpentines of the road through the Katu-Yaryk pass. On Lake Teletskoye we will be greeted by the harsh expanse of “Altai Baikal”. And the small picturesque Geyser and Swan lakes cannot leave you indifferent. In the Biysk Museum of the Chuisky tract, we will touch the history of Altai. And all the way we will listen to legends about beliefs, shamans and grandiose events in this corner of Siberia. And having saturated with impressions during the day, hundreds of kilometers and hours of conversation, you will go outside to breathe before going to bed. And the unlit sky crosses the bright Milky Way. And, of course, you will have to go behind the camera again.
The route is specially designed for photographers. The purpose of our trip is to enjoy the majestic silence of winter Altai as much as possible, slowly looking for good shots and trying new genres of shooting. We took care of the comfort and leisurely visits to the most picturesque places, our instructors (residents of the Altai Territory) have been professionally photographing for a long time, studying and loving Altai.
The program of the photo tour is flexible and may change depending on the weather and the wishes of the participants (within reasonable limits). This route is exploration. And something may not go according to plan. We have a general scenario that we will follow. But in any case, we use every day to the maximum and focus on our team - so that we feel good and interesting
Altai, despite its popularity, is still terra inkognito. Many legends still live and sometimes different worlds are intertwined in one reality. Someone was looking here for the key to Shambhala, someone prophesied a new impulse to reorganize the world, born in Altai ... But it cannot be denied that these places are energetically strong. And the absence of people, the black-and-white picture of the winter relief only intensifies these feelings.
Our daily routine is built around photographic light, so we'll improvise a lot. We spend the maximum energy on creativity and communication, and the minimum on physical activity. The tour is as comfortable as possible. Warm transfers await us, overnight stays in small local tourist centers and hotels. They will be warm, you can charge equipment, and they usually stand in picturesque places. In the evening we can talk and discuss our impressions.
It is rather cold in Altai in winter and we spend only the time necessary for shooting outside. There will always be an opportunity to warm up on the road and recharge the equipment in the evening. We will not waste time and energy on cooking - we will stop to eat in local canteens and cafes. But there will always be sandwiches and sweets on the road.
Who are our photo tours for? For professional photographers, for amateur photographers, and not even photographers, but for those who want to leisurely enjoy beautiful places, communicate with interesting creative people, contemplate and be present in the moment. And the main thing is the team! A large concentration of creative people in one time and place - inevitably leads to new ideas, ideas and pushes their implementation. We will communicate, share our experience, not all the time to look through the viewfinder! :) We will become a team of bright individuals, we will look at the Siberian winter in a new way. And the photo ... We all know that the pursuit of a picture is just an excuse for something more. And getting together to find this more, perhaps, is the real purpose of our winter trip.
And you can search even without a camera :) If you don't have a camera, but the program and the atmosphere of the photo tour respond with a confident "Yes!" - this is the reason! You can be a model :) Photographers are often interested in subjects with people in the frame. And if you take nice clothes with you, then a lot of photos with you are guaranteed.
What kind of photographic equipment should I take with me? If you are a photographer, then this question is rhetorical :) We recommend taking a tripod and additional batteries. If you are not a photographer, take your favorite smartphone with you and you will have great shots too. Because the main thing is the vision, ideas and the creative process, and of course the pleasure from the process and the result.
The variety of offered options for tours and routes along with pristine nature and picturesque landscapes is the main advantage of Altai as a tourist region.
A wide choice allows travelers every year to find new opportunities for organizing an interesting vacation in Altai. Of course, first of all, it all depends on your physical and financial resources, as well as personal preferences.
Fans of active tourism, as a rule, start exploring the vastness of the region with walking excursions and hikes. Most of them are designed for participants with a basic level of fitness. There are many proposals, the main problem is to choose from this variety where you would like to go first of all - to the Shavlinsky, Multinsky or Karakol lakes, to the Chulyshman valley or to the Ukok, to the Masha glacier or to the foot of the Belukha, etc. By the way, one-day walking tours to local attractions are available even for children.
Travelers of venerable age often choose sanatorium-resort vacations and health-improving tours, combined with living in cozy guest houses, far from the hustle and bustle of the city, with homemade food and affordable wellness procedures.
In the summer and closer to autumn, herbal, mushroom and berry, educational and excursion routes with a visit to the "Garden of Peonies", "Gorno-Altai Botanical Garden", the Arboretum "Blooming Valley" become popular, where you can not only see , but purchase seedlings of plants you like, medicinal herbal preparations, natural dietary supplements and preparations from medicinal plants grown in ecologically clean areas.
Many different nationalities live in the vast territory of the Altai Territory and the Altai Republic. Indigenous peoples, resettlement communities and diasporas maintain their identity and historical traditions. In tourist areas, they are happy to acquaint tourists and guests with their own culture and life, providing accommodation in guest houses and estates, decorated in accordance with the national flavor.
Enthusiasts organize study tours for travelers, combining recreation with educational excursions into the history and ethnography of their people, villages, visiting local museums, sacred places and natural attractions.
Soloneshie invites you to get acquainted with the culture and life of the Old Believers. Folk performances and gastronomic pleasures are organized for guests with immersion in the life of migrant peasants, with Kerzhak rituals of rounding up the bride, etc., with a traditional feast where you can taste dishes prepared according to old family recipes, passed from mouth to mouth for centuries.
In Krasnogorsk, in the upper and middle parts of Biya, on the Swan River, Kumandins live - the northern branch of the ethnic Altaians. This is one of the small Altai peoples and actually has no written language of its own, but its representatives managed to preserve their cultural characteristics and traditions. You can get acquainted with the culture of the Kumandins at the "Altai wintering" holiday or at the "Festival of Kumandin culture", which takes place annually in August. One-day excursions to these events are offered by travel agencies in many regions of Siberia.
Terrible roads on the way to Gorny Altai and back.
Noticeably higher gasoline prices compared to neighboring regions.
In late May-early June, on the eve of the opening of the tourist season, Vipgeo's team made a week-long voyage to Gorny Altai. We will share with you our observations to make it easier for you when you go on vacation.
Route: from Novokuznetsk and back. Read more about the trip to Altai: here.
If you are going to go to Gorny Altai on your own by car, then the road situation is as follows:
1) the road from Novosibirsk will be good, this is essentially the same highway M-52, to which the Chuisky tract belongs; the same applies to those who independently travel to Gorny Altai from the regions of Russia west of Novosibirsk;
2) from Barnaul, essentially the same situation as from Novosibirsk;
3) from Kemerovo, knowledgeable drivers advise to turn off at Belovo, get to M-52 and then through Barnaul to Biysk.
You can get from Novokuznetsk to Gorny Altai in two ways: To Lake Teletskoye through Tashtagol or to Biysk through Eltsovka, and then to Chuysky tract. Both roads at the beginning of June 2016 leave much to be desired, and the road through Tashtagol is in disaster.
If you go through Tashtagol to Lake Teletskoye, then for 80 km you will see a gravel road and, according to the driver, subjectively it is worse than the road through Eltsovka. We were returning along this road and caught a nail in the wheel on it - our most serious breakdown during the whole trip.
If you go from Novokuznetsk via Eltsovka to Biysk, then the asphalt will be stable to the Altai Territory
The village of Aktash, located at the intersection of the Chuisky and Ulagansky tracts, is the main base for the development of the "deep" Altai, which is rarely visited by ordinary tourists.
Aktash is a village in Ulagansky district of the Altai Republic, RF. Aktash lies on the 788th kilometer of the Chuysky tract in the place where the Ulagansky tract begins, leading to the regional center and further to the village of Balyktuyul in the east of the region. Aktash village is located on the southern slope of the Kuraisky ridge at the confluence of the Chibitka and Menka rivers.
Aktash is located at the intersection of the Chuysky and Ulagansky tracts. Accommodation on the main highway of the Altai Republic (Chuysky tract) makes Aktash easily accessible - access here is carried out all year round, the quality of asphalt on the Chuysky tract in recent years also raises no objections. To get to the village by personal car, you need to move along the Chuisky tract from Gorno-Altaysk, without turning onto secondary roads. The village is located 350 km from the capital of the republic - it is about 5 hours of driving along a mountain road.
You can also get to Aktash by public transport. The village is connected with the capital of the region by a daily bus route Gorno-Altaysk - Aktash, departure at 10:40, arrival in Aktash at 19:06. The return morning bus Aktash - Gorno-Altaysk departs at 07:30. Also, the route of the Gorno-Altaysk - Ulagan bus runs through Aktash, departure from the republican capital on even days of the week (Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays) at 07:15, arrival in Aktash at approximately 16:00. The fare from Gorno-Altaysk to Aktash is about 400 RUR.
Aktash is characterized by a continental climate: cool summers and rather severe winters with little snow. Due to its location at an altitude of about 1500 m above sea level, the climate of Aktash is more continental and lower temperatures than the climate of Gorno-Altaysk or Chemal. The average annual air temperature in Aktash is kept in the minus range and is -0.3 ° C.
Humidification in Aktash is uneven - most of the precipitation falls in summer during thunderstorms, the least in winter, especially in February and March, when their average value is only 7 mm.
January is the coldest month of the year, the average monthly temperature in January is kept at around -17.5 ° C, climatic spring comes in April, when the thermometer exceeds zero. The warmest month of the year is July with an average temperature of + 16 ° C.
The tourist season in Aktash lasts less than in the low-mountain valleys of Altai. Most tourists come here starting in June, when the weather is comfortable and relatively warm. The season ends in September, when a golden autumn reigns in Altai. Beginning in October, winter begins in the vicinity of the village, lasting until April.
Lake Cheybekkol or Dead Lake
The population of Aktash is 2,400 people, most of the local residents are Russians, there are also local Altaians and Kazakhs here. In the past, Aktash had the status of an urban-type settlement and was a center for the extraction of mercury ores - this is one of the rare examples of an industrial settlement in Altai. With the closure of the mine in 1994, the population of Aktash has declined from 3,500 to its current level and continues to decline.
Panorama of Aktash repeater
As in other villages of the Altai Republic, accommodation in Aktash is represented by two types: recreation centers and mini-hotels, the latter being located in the village itself, and recreation centers are located at some distance within 10 kilometers from the village center ... In total, in Aktash, you can find about a dozen places for accommodation:
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