The Altai Mountains are on the UNESCO World Heritage list, but tourists are drawn to Altai Krai by its breathtaking beauty, regardless of any lists.
Once I posted a photo of the Altai Mountains on Twitter. Someone commented that the Russian mountains reminded him of the Alps. I have been to the French Alps and I took amazing photos. Yet, the Altai Mountains are a way better!
Altai’s trademark – mountains and horses
Altai Krai is the place of the highest mountains and the deepest river valleys in Siberia. In summer and early autumn, temperatures in this region can exceed 30 °C (86 °F) above zero. Due to severely continental climate, temperatures can fall from 30 °C (86 °F) above zero at day to 20 °C (4 °F) below zero at night over the course of one week. One summer day you can bask in the scorching sun and the next morning you can wade through thick snow. Surely, it will have melted by afternoon, but you will get an unforgettable impression.
To be more specific, the Altai Mountains cross the borders of such Russian federal subjects as Altai Krai and Altai Republic.
What is the location of this wonderful place? If you look upon the geographical map of Russia and divide its territory into halves, you will see Altai on the southern part of the dividing line.
The valley of the Chulyshman River
The river valley, surrounded by mountains, has a striking canyon.
The valley of the Chulyshman River is known for its stunning panoramas, which can be seen from Katu-Yaryk pass. The length of the road leading to this pass is only 3.5 km (1.9 mi). Elevation changes are 800 m (2625 ft). In fact, it is the road just for one car. Drivers should be extremely careful. Only an experienced one, driving an all-wheel drive vehicle with speed reduction gear, can pass through this road.
However, all dangers are justified by beautiful panoramas.
The lakes of Altai
Middle Multinskoye Lake
Middle Multinskoye Lake
While going through the road, you can not only enjoy amazing panoramas, but also learn more about its long history.
Chuysky Trakt, sometimes called differently, has been known for at least a millennium. It served as a major route from China to Europe.
Chuysky Trakt is a main traffic artery of Altai and a popular tourist route, which cannot be passed by.
This road overlooks many breathtaking panoramas.
Chuysky Trakt at the conflux of the Katun River and the Chuy (Chuy-Oozi) River. It is seen that the water of the Chuy River has a turquoise colour
Chuysky Trakt and the Chuy River
High-mountain Kurayskaya steppe (1500 m (4920 ft) above sea level), surrounded by the North Chuysky and the Kuraysky ridges, is crossed by the Chuy River.
A permanent biting wind and unpredictable weather do not lessen the immense beauty of this region, which preserved many ancient buildings and monuments.
The dawn at Kurayskaya steppe is one of Altai’s trademarks
Photos by Andrey Grachev