Bicycle touring routes and topographic maps
Bicycle tourism in Crimea
Bycling touring and topographic maps
East Sayan Mountains
Olkhon - the heart of Baikal
Rafting and topographic maps
Rafting directions and topographic maps. Part 1
Rafting directions and topographic maps. Part 2
Topography of China
General information about Altai
The Golden Mountains (from Mongolian word "altan") is one of the notions of the word Altai. There is gold here, though Altai has never been one of the popular gold-field provinces such as Eldorado or Kolyma. Another notion for the word is "mixed mountains". It reflects the general picture of Altai.
Altai spreads more than over two thousands kilometers from the North-West to the South-East accrording to the topographic map. Climbed the slope somewhere in the valley of the river Chuya, you’ll see that the slope faced to the North is overgrown with thick taiga, but the opposite one is covered with steppe grass, prickly bushes of acacia and barberry.
In the valley of the river Chuya early spring starts just at the height of the summer. And here you can’t but agree that Altai has mottled mountains.
One of the experienced instructors writes about Altai:
I have a special attitude to Altai. I have never felt the full gamut of feelings, connected with a touch to eternal; nowhere have I understood so well the incomprehensible beauty of the world, its spirituality...These miracle mountains are not absolutely similar to any others. Beautiful Belukha isn’t only the highest mountain of Atai map, but an object to wonder. It’s a living heart of the Altai, thrilling, beating…
Each climb to the mountain becomes a step for me, a stage of my personal spiritual evolution, which completely changes my attitude to the world, to people and to myself … It’s in Altai I became to understand all the importance of aspiration to some definite aim in my life, carrying out my mission. N.Rerikh spoke and wrote a lot about the mystery and spiritual meaning of the mountain. The followers of the teaching attend the places till now, organizing pilgrimage tours to the foot of Belukha, which is considered to be holy.
Altai has favorable climate conditions, unique historical and archeological memorials for organization of rest, tourism and sport activities. There are a lot of opportunities for creating resorts and sanatoriums.
There are four tourist centers, which are open during the whole year ("Katun", " Zolotoe Ozero", "Yunost", "Kucherla"), tourist set "Tourist" of hotel type, training centre "Seminskij pass".
Tens of new private comfortable tour-sets, designed for a reception from 10 to 50 people, are built. At the height of the summer all tourist bases can take up to two thousands of people.
Hydrography of Altai
As the rivers of Altai have a considerable inclination and rough flow, they are not navigable, but at the same time they are interested to sportsmen and tourists.
Waterfalls attract a lot of tourists and holiday-makers in the krai. The Katun ridge is rich in waterfalls. There are many waterfalls in region of lake Teletskoe, in the rivers Chulyshman, Charysh, Anui. Some of them re marked on Altai map.
Only several separate lakes (Aya, Manzherok, Kureevo) and rivers (Isha, Lebed and some others) have warm water, which is suitable for swimming. The period of swimming season is about two months.
Another place of interest for tourists and mountain-climbers are glaciers. Altai takes the third place among mountainous countries in the world by the quantity of its glaciers (1130) and its square of frozen territory (890 km 2). There are 169 glaciers, the square of which is 151 km2 concentrated near the massive Belukha. From the point of view of tourism and mountaineering the glaciers of the Altai don’t differ from glaciers of other mountainous countries. They are quite passable and dangerous within reasonable limits.
Famous Lake Teletskoe is easily found on the topographic map of Altai and is called a pearl of Altai. Lake Teletskoe (Zolotoe Ozero) is one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, has always been attracting explorers, investigators and tourists. It’s considered to be one of the important sights of mountainous Altai. Teletskoe Lake is one of the biggest reservoirs of the South Siberia – it takes the fourth place by its depth among lakes in the territory of the former USSR, and in Russia Teletskoe Lake gives up its place only to Baikal.
Tourism in Altai
Altai is so diverse that it can make any traveler satisfied. Here there are possibilities to develop nontraditional forms of tourism. You can travel on foot, on skis, on a horse or a camel, by helicopter or paraglider, by rafts on rough rivers, by cars and bicycles. It’s hard to imagine a type of tourism, which would be impossible in Altai.
On the territory of the Central and the Eastern Altai it’s possible to organize seasonal tourist hikes of high categories of difficulty and alpine ascents. Tourists can also have a rest in mountain hollows and in the low parts of river valleys.
The centers of alpine-skiing tourism are the cities Biysk and Zmeinogorsk.
Skiing season starts in the second part of February and is over in the end of March, when it stops to freeze, the amount of precipitation decreases and rivers haven’t melted, so when there isn’t any need to waste time on crossings.
The routes in the hilly eastern regions of Altai are getting very popular. But relict lake Savushinskoe, unique coniferous forests, stretching over hundreds thousands of kilometers, and Denisov cave, which has saved traces of an ancient man (according to the assertion of some scientists-historians, the first man appeared in the Altai), aren’t less popular for tourists. There are many archeological and ethnological memorials on the territory of Altai, such as burial mounds and subsoil burial grounds, ancient settlements and towns, cave-settlements of the Stone Age, mountain production of copper and gold. The Caves of Altai have always attracted attention of travelers, tourists, scientists. There are more than 400 caves situated in limestone, marble, dolomite.
Taldinskie, Charyshskie and Khakharskie caves are very popular. In Charyshskie caves many scientists found such remains of extinct animals, as mammoth, fleecy rhinoceros, bison, cave hyena and fossil deer. There are numerous findings of primitive settlements in Altai.
Near the village Cherny Anui cave-labyrinth is located. Its entries are not only narrow but also tangled. There are many stalactites here. The whole system of the caves has been found in the Eastern part of the Salairsky ridge.
Altai is becoming one of the popular places of inbound and outbound tourism. We hope that tourist’s popularity and quick development of tourist infrastructure will not have an adverse on the unique nature of Altai and the heritage of its culture and history.
Altai map set is available for purchasing.