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Active Travel in Altai
April 28, 2009 13:42

Teletskoe lake

Altai is an unforgettable place. It is so various - from eternal ice and snow at the tops of high mountains to luxuriant vegetation in river valleys. When at the bottom of the river Katun it is hot summer at the mountain slopes early spring only begins. Impassable taiga, dry steppe and severe tundra makes this place the only in the world. In some places people comes so rare that animals are not afraid of a man. Mice, hears and ground squirrels come near and even eat from your hands. Mountain goats and bears are often seen in mountain Altai.

Teletskoe lake The warmest summer is in valley of Teletskoe lake – the biggest Altai lake and one of 25 deepest lakes in the world (330 meters depth). This lake is often called Baikal younger brother. It longs between mountain ridges and collect 80 rivers and streams. Only one river – Bia flows out of the lake. Teletskoe lake is still not very popular among tourists. Tourist camps and hotels are only at its northern part. A lot of foot, horse and water routes starts from here. A large Altai reserve is situated on the eastern part of Teletskoe lake.

Altai inhabitants Altai region (168 thousands sq. km.) is situated at the South -East of West Siberia. There is no railways and airlines to Altai mountains. So tourists get by train or plain only to Barnaul city. Then they have to go by taxi or bus (it takes about 4-8 hours depending on the place). Golden mountains – is one of the meaning of the mongolian world “Altai”. Legends say about richness of this place, beauty of its unexplored wilderness.

Inhabitants of Altai are peaceful and very hospitable people. They remember their national traditions, songs, legends, in villages you can see national altai house – yurta just near the ordinary russian izba, (peasant's house). Yurta is usually maid of skins or material fixed on one vertical and several sloping poles, covered with tree bark. On the national holidays people make a competition –build the biggest yurta. From ancient times Altai is famous by honey, fertile land and a rare plant – golden root (Rhodiola rosea). It grows only in high (3000 meters) Altai mountains. It grows very slowly so is forbidden to pick it up at one place more often then once 15 years. Golden root grows at the mountain river banks. Inhabitants call it “an all illness medicine”. A lot of balsams and tinctures are containing it as ingredient.

Altai Switzerland The similarity of Altai Mountains with Switzerland Alps was noted by Swisses. Here you can imagine how Alps looked before tourists coming. Double-top mountain Beluha (4506 m) is the highest and the most beautiful Altai mountain. It is always covered with snow and attracts a lot of tourists and alpinists. A great number of hotels and camps are situated at the food of Beluha. Groups of tourists make hiking and house tours to foothills of this grand mountain.

A lot of people choose bicycle tours along Chuisky high road to Mongolian border and up to green river valleys. They visit fantastic caves of ancient people settlement. And even sometimes see dinosaur’s remains in steppe.

Altai is unique mountain system in Russia. It is so various that everyone can find some thing special: alpinism and hiking, rafting and equestrian sport - anything you like.

Find more about Altai....

Alexandra Ushakova

Tags: Altai Active Travel    

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