The Altai Mountains are the highest mountain range in Siberia, the highest point of Altai and Siberia in general is the mount Belukha (4506 m). The mountains are of mainly volcanic origin. In the Mesozoic era the Altai Mountains were gradually destroyed by the action of the sun, wind and other natural forces. Over millions of years, the former mountain country became into a plain with raised areas. In the Altai Mountains there are many intra-basins of different height with cold mountain lakes. Altai is often called “Russian Tibet” or “Siberian Alps”. They are a very important part of the culture and traditions of the Siberian People.
Altai is an inimitable in its beauty, full of charm and mysteries land located on the crossing of borderlines of four states, they are Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Mongolia. It’s home for the largest in the world Western-Siberian plain and the Altai Mountain Range. In Turkish language Altai means “golden mountains”. In its name are closely interwoven the legends about countless treasures of nomads’ tribes and mineral generosity with spirituality and primodial beauty of the mountain land.
The nature of Altai is absolutely unique, rich in biodiversity of flora and fauna. It is exactly that place, where the driest place in Russia is located, it’s called Chuya steppe. You can even see camels there! The steppe strikes tourists’ imagination with its severity, but at the same time attracts people by a great number of archeological monuments – burial mounds, stone statues and rock paintings.
Moreover, Altai is rich for rivers and lakes. In plains and in the mountains there are more than 18 000 lakes and 37 000 rivers! Among them is the Katun River famous for its rapids and Teletskoye Lake – one of the deepest in the world with “stone bay” not far from it, which appeared as a result of falling meteorite. Aya Lake is also widely known in the region, as tourists have a possibility to swim in summer in this mountain lake. Altai is also a region of beautiful mountains, glaciers and waterfalls. You can find there the highest waterfall in Russia called Chulchinsky cascade. It’s interesting that the area of Altai is covered with 1400 glaciers. The greater part is concentrated near Belukha Mountain (4506 m).
Altai Mountains is one of very few places on Earth where during the past millennium a lot of ancient monuments were kept almost in their original look. Naturally combining with the environment they create the unique historical-cultural landscape. Travel to Altai Mountains and remember that Altai in substance is an outdoor museum – one of the most ancient districts of the human being’s habitation on the Asian continent. Here the evidences of the peoples’ activities from previous periods are remained; up till now one can see numerous monuments of Scythian, Old Turkic and other cultures. Every year different scientific expeditions happen on the republic’s territory. Their aim is to study the peoples’ history that used to live in these blessed valleys at one time. In Moscow museum of History and in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage unique burial discoveries that do not have world’s analogues are on display.
Altai Mountains is a miraculous and very beautiful region about which a lot of lyrical words have been written. European tourists who enjoy adventure travel, and look for tourism in Russia are greatly attracted by these places and always call Altai Mountains “Siberian Switzerland” owing to striking similarity of Altai Mountains and Swiss Alps. Wild and primitive nature untouchable by civilization is the reason why people all over the world come here tired from obsessive benefits of our time.
Altai Mountains are often compared with Tibet. According to a lot of legends somewhere here there is the entrance into the mystic Shambhala country – White Water land so called by Altai Old Believers – the country of touching to Enigma, knowledge of truth and heart’s opening. Altai Mountains are marvelous in all seasons striking by the variety of nature contrasts. If in summer they look like a colored carpet abundant with multicolored tones, in autumn the mountains are covered with yellow-orange fire of leaves above which appear the snow peaks that sparkle like diamonds.
If you are tired of standard tourism and seek for adventure travel somewhere in wild nature then you need to visit Russia, to be more exact Altai Mountians – the place located in the West Siberia region. Be sure that here you will get everything you need: outdoor adventures, white water rafting, horseback riding tours and other recreation tours Altai Mountians can offer. Altai is a genuine crossing of civilizations, every of which has left its rich heritage. Here we can speak about different archeological sites (Gorno-Altaysk and Denisov cave), petroglyths and stone sculptures, Scythian burial mounds and the most mysterious place in Altai, the Plateau Ukok, which discovered the mummy called “princess of Altai” to the world.
The opportunities for traveling around Altai mountains are indeed boundless. In the Republic and in the Region all possibilities for organized and individual tourism are created. You can not only ascend the peaks, raft along the river, but also meet a shaman, live in a yurt or to get married in a solitary temple in Patmos Island. You can find in Altai vast territories and untouched civilizations just two steps away from the main transport route of Mountain Altai – Chuysky high road.