Therapeutic properties

Why is the Altai region called golden?

The Altai Mountains are the highest in Siberia. They are often compared to the Alps and Tibet. However, the Altai mountains are distinguished not only by their grandeur, but also by their rich flora and fauna, diversity of climate and landscapes, a large number of rivers and lakes, as well as special energy power.



  • The remains of the ancient peneplain are the flat or slightly hilly terrain of Altai, on the site of which mountains rose in ancient times;
  • Alpine glacial – covers mainly highlands;
  • Mid-mountain – predominates in mountain ranges of medium height.

Mountainous terrain, many wild rivers and streams, impenetrable forests and sometimes harsh climate hide wild places, which prevents human penetration into Altai. Tourist infrastructure is well developed only in the area of ​​Gorno-Altaisk and its surroundings. Therefore, many corners of Altai nature remain untouched. In addition, there are no industrial enterprises here, so the air in Altai is predominantly clean.

Natural attractions have been under the protection of the state and the planet for several years. The Altai and Katunsky nature reserves, as well as the Ukok plateau, are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The total area of ​​the three protected areas is more than 16 square meters. km. Their common name is the Golden Mountains of Altai.


Belovodye or Altai Shambola is considered the highest point in Altai – Belukha. It is shrouded in a huge number of myths and legends that Altai residents, followers of the philosopher Nicholas Roerich and lovers of esotericism believed and continue to believe in. According to popular belief, Shambhala is heaven on earth, the country of all the great teachers of mankind and a mysterious parallel world. It is located in Tibet, and one of its entrances is located in the vicinity of Belukha. The artist and philosopher Nicholas Roerich came to this conclusion during his trip to Altai. However, only initiates know the entrance to it; for example, Roerich was unable to find it.

The mountain also occupies a special place among esotericists, and their opinion is partially proven by science, among which:

  • Belukha is the navel of the Earth.

This name is explained by the fact that the mountain is located approximately at the same distance from three oceans: the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic.

This is another name for Belukha associated with the constellation “Orion’s Belt”. It is believed that the three peaks are a projection of the three stars of the constellation. This coincidence is explained by Belukha’s connection with space.

  • Natural “effects”

Another presence of Belukha’s magical properties is manifested in the special behavior of the winds. Air currents in the mountain area twist clockwise, forming a spiral. It is compared to the symbol of Buddhism – the swastika of Yang power.

Every year a large number of people try to climb Belukha, whose goal is not only to conquer the peak, but also to search for harmony, tranquility and that very magical Shambhala. However, local residents are sure that the mountain does not accept everyone and one should go to it only with pure thoughts. In general, the Altai people did not disturb the sacred mountain, so as not to anger the spirits, and even now they are not particularly happy that tourists and climbers are trying to conquer it.

The Altai Mountains are not the highest in the world; on average, their height is 1800-2000 meters. Their peculiarity is their length of 1847 km. That is why they received the name “mountainous country”, which covers several states at once. These mountains are larger in area than many countries.

  1. Where are
  2. Overview
  3. Origin
  4. Flora and fauna
  5. Tops
  6. What to see
  7. Tips for tourists and rules of conduct in the mountains
  8. Getting there
  9. Photos of the Altai Mountains
  10. Altai Mountains on the map of Russia

Where are

The Altai Mountains represent one of the most important mountain systems in Central Asia and Southern Siberia. This majestic ridge passes through the territories of four countries: Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and China. It represents a unique landscape that gathers the power of nature and time.
The mountainous terrains of this area include the Gobi Altai, Mongolian Altai and Russian Altai. Russian Altai is located in the south of Western Siberia, covering the Altai Republic, Altai Territory, as well as the Republics of Tyva and Khakassia. This place is deeply imbued with geological history spanning nearly two billion years. The mountain landscape has survived two eras of glaciation, which is reflected in its modern appearance. Almost all natural zones of Russia are represented here, including steppes, forest-steppes, taiga and mountain ranges. The highest point is Mount Belukha with a height of 4506 meters, and the lowest is the Kulundinskaya Plain with a height of only 96 meters.


Translated from Turkic, “Altai” means “Golden Mountains”. They received this name not by chance – the setting rays of the sun fill the peaks with a warm golden glow. Foreign tourists like to call these mountains Russian Tibet or “Siberian Alps.”
By the way, this is one of the cleanest regions with wild nature in the country due to its inaccessibility and lack of civilization. There are no industrial enterprises here, and it will take more than one day to reach the mountains on foot.
The year 1998 was an important milestone in the history of the Altai Mountains, which were included in UNESCO. This territory includes Mount Belukha, Lake Teletskoye, and the Ukok Plateau. An ancient mummy of a Ukok princess was found there.


The Altai Mountains include dozens of mountain ranges, some covered by glaciers, others by taiga and alpine meadows.
It is incredibly beautiful here: many rivers, lakes, waterfalls with clear water and snow-capped peaks – all this is a good reason to come back here again.
The Altai Mountains are one of the oldest mountains, formed approximately 500 million years ago. As a result, they began to gradually collapse from exposure to the merciless sun and strong winds. Scientists put forward the version that the current Altai mountains are a small part that remains from those ancient peaks.
Subsequently, in the Cenozoic era, they received a new life, which became possible thanks to tectonic processes. Their growth continues to this day due to periodic earthquakes – 1 cm per year.

Flora and fauna

The Altai Mountains are one of the few places that attract people with their picturesque landscapes, as well as flora and fauna.
Since the elevation difference is quite large, the flora and fauna here are incredibly diverse.
Here forests, mountains, steppes and meadows hide their numerous inhabitants. There are more than 260 species of birds alone, about 90 species of mammals, in addition, there are plenty of reptiles, fish and amphibians.
The steppes are rich in grasses (alfalfa, bluegrass), bushes (sea buckthorn, rose hips), and rodents (hamsters, voles). You can meet hares, foxes, ducks, and cranes.
There are plenty of birds of prey in the mountains, for example, vultures, vultures, and reptiles – lizards, snakes, vipers. Vegetation includes willow, various types of moss, lichen, and dwarf birch.
The forest area is rich in coniferous as well as deciduous trees. There are many animals: deer, bears, lynxes, mink, weasel, hawk, golden eagle, owl, kite.
The slopes, rich in alpine meadows, are represented by various herbs (about 100 species). There are also plenty of birds: golden eagles, finches, etc. Rare animals: mountain goat, snow leopard.
There are a lot of fish in Altai, which is why fishing is so popular here. There are perch, crucian carp, burbot, pike and dozens of other fish species.


The beauty and power of mountain peaks attract not only curious tourists, but also climbers.

  • The highest and one of the most beautiful mountains in Altai is Belukha (4506m). On its southern side is the source of the Katun, the largest Altai river. Belukha has two peaks – Western and Eastern. Every year many trained climbers come to conquer the famous difficult western peak, but it is not inferior to everyone, despite the fact that it is lower than the popular Everest. Even the pros say that climbing this mountain is incredibly difficult and is comparable only to conquering the Himalayas.
  • The summit of Maashei Bash is a magnificent natural wonder located at an altitude of 4173 m above sea level. It rises on the North Chuysky ridge. From here the snow-covered Mashey glacier descends, creating picturesque rock formations along its path. The slopes are composed of a variety of rocks: from lavas and tuffs to shales. The summit in the south ends with a sheer wall, while in the west the slope smoothly descends to 3600 m. This place is a real challenge for experienced climbers.
  • Tavan-Bogdo-Ula, with an impressive height of 4082 m, is both a junction of Mongolia, Russia and China, and also a symbol of the meeting of three cultures at one point.
    Covered with a blanket of snow, Tavan-Bogdo takes you into the world of mysterious peaks and endless expanses. Interestingly, due to the complexity and inaccessibility of this mountain, the states sharing its border agreed that there would be no border markers on the top.
  • Aktru is a peak at an altitude of 4044 m. The magnificent elevation among the beautiful ridges occupies a special place. Aktru is not only the name of the peak, but also a reflection of its essence: translated from Altai it means “snow-white house”. It stands in the southeast of the Altai Republic, framing the Kosh-Agach region of incredible beauty.
    It is here that the river with the same name begins its journey, penetrating the Kurai steppe and flowing into the Chuya River.

Here, in the vicinity of Aktru, one of the main mountaineering centers of Altai is located. Since 1953, the alpine camp has become a key base for training Siberian climbers.

  • Irbistu is a peak with a height of 3967 m. This is the highest peak of the South Chuysky ridge and bears a symbolic name – “the peak of the snow leopards”. The ridge surprises with its special natural palette. There are almost no forests here – but there are many birch thickets and an abundance of meadows. This special character of the landscape allows you to enjoy stunning panoramas from many mountains. The canvas of natural wonders unfolds for tens of kilometers, demonstrating the grandeur of the steppe and ridges.
  • The majestic Mount Iiktu (3936 m) is a bright part of the South Chuya Range. This word in the Altai language means “sacred peak”. This emphasizes its special significance and role in the culture of the region. From here a magnificent glacier called Bolshoi Taldurinsky heads to the northeast. It impresses with its beauty, creating unique panoramas around the top. Administratively, Iiktu is located in the Kosh-Agach region of Altai.
  • Janiiktu is a peak 3922 m above sea level. The smooth-domed mountain has deep spiritual significance for the inhabitants of Altai. Translated, the word means “sacred peak.” Janiiktu is not only a spiritual place, but also a noticeable landmark. Its visibility and elevation make it the main symbol along the South Chuya Range; it dominates the landscape, as if it were the keeper of the secrets and beauty of this corner of nature.

What to see

Multinskie lakes – one of the main treasures of the Altai Mountains, representing a unique cascade water system consisting of five reservoirs:

  • Lower;
  • The average;
  • Upper;
  • Transverse;
  • Strong.

All these lakes arise from the sources of the Multa River and are located in the upper regions of the Katunsky Range. They amaze with their incredible beauty and pristine nature. Travelers passing by fall in love with these places for their purity and wild natural beauty. There are various tourist routes leading to the lakes, and the time that can be spent on an expedition ranges from several days to a week.

Valley of Mountain Spirits. The Chechkysh tract, known among local residents and tour guides as the Valley of Mountain Spirits, has a truly magical atmosphere intertwined with myths and legends. This is a narrow gorge located among high rocks, with the Che-chkysh River, which amazes with its magical surroundings.
Here you will find views of the waterfall, ancient petroglyphs carved into the rocks, and, as the pinnacle of a magical experience, a climb to the observation deck. From this point there is an amazing panoramic view of the Katun River valley. One of the features of Che-chkysh is the Oroktoy Bridge, rising above a raging river surrounded by rock formations.

Ukok plateau. Ukok Nature Park is located on a high mountain area where the borders of Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan intersect. In this place, in addition to impressive views, you can find many archaeological finds that go back to the Paleolithic era. Researchers claim that the Ukok Plateau served as a sacred place for various ethnic groups, such as the Huns, Scythians and other peoples of Central Asia. Today this place is perceived by local residents and many tourists as a place of special energy. And in 2006, the mummy of an Altai princess, 2 years old, was discovered here.
To visit the plateau territory, you must obtain a park pass (available on site from Park employees) and a border pass (issued on the government services website two weeks before the planned trip). Vaccination against plague is also required (it is possible to get vaccinated in Gorno-Altaisk), since the Kosh-Agach district in the Altai Republic is a natural focus of this disease.

Tarkhata Megalithic Complex. In the Kosh-Agach area you will discover another unusual feature of the Altai region – an ancient megalithic complex, created from huge stones and dating back to the end of the Bronze Age. At this place, 60 massive stones with rock paintings are placed in a circle with a radius of 60 meters.
There is speculation that the site was used by the ancient inhabitants as some form of observatory.

Aktru Gorge. Not all mountain travel enthusiasts are experienced trekkers. Aktru Gorge is an opportunity to get acquainted with the Altai Mountains, because going to this area does not require special physical training. You can get to the foot of Mount Aktru, where the glacier is located, by car.
And not far from this place is the Blue Lake, located at an altitude of 2 meters above sea level. An excursion to Aktra takes only one day, which makes this place ideal for those who have chosen photo tours and want to cover the maximum amount of Altai’s beauties in one trip. This mountain valley also has a mountain camp for accommodation.

Petroglyphs of the Kalbak-Tash tract. Altai is a repository of archaeological treasures. The next impressive discovery is the Kalbak-Tash petroglyphs, located on the banks of the Chui River in the Ongudai region. It’s like a whole exhibition hall on rock surfaces, the largest complex of rock art in Siberia. Here, over thousands of years – from the Neolithic period to the ancient Turkic era, about 3 various images were created that left their mark on the walls of this unique place.

Lake Teletskoe. In the northeast lies an amazing lake – one of the deepest and most beautiful in the country. The majestic waters of this lake and the surrounding nature reserve have been included in the UNESCO list.
The incredible nature of this area – meadows, mountains, waterfalls – has made Lake Teletskoye a magnet for tourists, attracting them with its beauty. Here, on the shore of the lake, 18 camp sites are available to guests, offering a variety of types of recreation:

  • rock climbing,
  • rafting,
  • fishing;
  • trekking.

Extensive cycling and driving routes crisscross the area, inviting travelers on exciting adventures.

Mountain Red. In the Ust-Koksa region there is a mountain that stands out for its uniqueness – it does not fit into any mountain range. Scientists suggest that Red Mountain is an extinct volcano. Although this peak is not the highest in Altai, it is definitely the most different from the others.
The area around Red Mountain attracts many tourists for its natural beauty. Here you will find:

  • crater lakes,
  • alpine meadows,
  • ancient trees up to 300 years old,
  • a glacier that does not melt even in summer.

There are various trails leading to the top, which can be conquered on foot or by off-road vehicle to see this unique corner of Altai.

Labyrinth Park. One of the most mysterious sights of Altai is located in the Ust-Uba tract. The stone spiral structures here have characteristic features from the Neolithic. Researchers believe that at such places (which are also found in different parts of the world) ancient priests and shamans performed mysterious magical rituals.
In this Altai park you can find 5 different labyrinths, each with a unique purpose. According to ancient legends, by going through one of them to the end, you can find love, restore health, gain energy, strengthen strength, or gain protection from failure. This place is a kind of artifact that connects people with the ancient magic of Altai.

Tavdinsky caves. On the left bank of the Katun River there is a unique complex of 30 karst caves. These places also served as homes for ancient people, whose cave paintings still tell us about their daily lives. The caves are provided with easy access thanks to steps, turnstiles and lighting. A network of tunnels stretching for 5 kilometers creates a unique space for underground walks through these mysterious caves. This underground world is a real treasure, containing many secrets and amazing discoveries.

Tips for tourists and rules of conduct in the mountains

  • Learn about local traditions, respect the way of life of the local population. Do not violate local customs and rules.
  • Be prepared for weather changes during your hike.
  • Prefer organized places to spend the night. Camp on stable soils and respect restrictions. Use dry branches and trees for fires. Sort the garbage, burn what you can and take away the remains. Dispose of biological waste away from the camp and water bodies.
  • Respect cultural and historical monuments. Don’t leave marks on rocks and trees. Treat water sources with care.
  • Do not wash vehicles on the banks of water bodies.
  • Respect wildlife and observe animals from a distance. Do not disturb or feed wild animals. Respect their characteristics at different times of the year.
  • Be considerate of other tourists. Give up the opportunity to enjoy other vacationers. Be polite and ready to help.

By following these tips, you can enjoy your hikes while conserving nature and respecting the cultural heritage of the places you visit.

Getting there

To reach the Altai Mountains, you will have to use more than one type of transport. Usually tourists begin their journey by reaching Barnaul, Gorno-Altaisk (the nearest airport is located here) or Novosibirsk.

  • A train ride will appeal to romantic people who love travel. During this time, you can read a book that you have been putting off for a long time or learn something new, for example, playing chess. This journey will not only be a route to your destination, but also an exciting experience filled with adventure and discovery.
  • To travel independently, you should definitely plan your route in advance. A variety of travel routes are available from Barnaul, including to remote villages and corners:
  • You can take a minibus to get to Chemal;
  • You will need to drive to Multa to get to the Multinskiye Lakes;
  • The beginning of the path to Belukha begins from Tungur.
  • Another option is to take a bus to Gorno-Altaisk (it leaves every hour from Barnaul). Take a taxi from there. There are many paths for those who want to independently explore the expanses of Altai.

Come to the Altai mountains to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature, learn the secrets of spiritual traditions, enjoying the true mountain spirit. Here you will find special emotions, impressive views, and meetings with fellow adventurers.

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