Despite the remoteness of the Altai region and its distance from Russia’s capitals, many foreigners come here. The mountains, lakes, woods and deserts of the Altai Republic and the Altai Territory make a spectacular destination. Here, on the borders of Mongolia and Kazakhstan are the relics of old shamanic religions and prehistoric rock-carvings above meadows full of flowers. There are opportunities for rafting, hiking, mountain climbing and sleeping in traditional yurts. By the way, Altai is also a land of Buddhism and shamans, and while visiting, you can see nomads in yurts, listen to the kaichi, local musical storytellers. 2 million tourists had the chance to do this in 2019.This is one of the most beautiful places in Russia, though still with a poor infrastructure. Going there, one should always take enough spare money and it’s best to arrange a car or hiking trip. Very popular is horse riding in the mountains. And all the lack of comfort and inconveniences will be forgotten after you follow along Altai’s ChuyskyTrakt, one of the most picturesque highways in Russia.
All the territory of the Republic is located within the mountainous system. The mountains’ altitude varies from 350 to 4500 meters. The real beauty of the region is the Mount Belukha, the highest peak of Siberia (4506 m). It is actually 1000 m higher than the surrounding mountain ridges. There are 3 big ridges which are 3000 – 4000 m high. Their peaks are covered with snow and ice all year long. At present there are 1499 glaciers with a total area of 910 square km which consists of 39 cubic km of frozen water. The largest glaciers stretch for several kilometers. The Altai Mountains are relatively young. So periodic seismic activity is notable here.
The largest rivers are the Katun and the Biya. The Ob River, one of the greatest and longest rivers in Siberia, is formed by the confluence of the Katun and Biya. One of the most beautiful lakes is Teletskoye Lake. It is the largest in the Altai Republic, 80 km long and 5 km wide with a maximum depth of 325 meters. The mountain lakes of the territory keep enormous reserves of the purest fresh water.
Variety of landscapes and climate of the Altai region makes it possible to do almost all kinds of outdoor sports: trekking, backpacking, pass hopping, climbing, light river rafting, kayaking and mountaineering. Different kinds of tours are organized every summer. Adventure, jeep, horse, rafting – or any combina-tion of these are available for you.
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