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Kabardino-Balkaria: The Chegemskoe Gorge
June 14, 2015 11:04


The Chegemskoe Gorge is located in the middle part of Kabardino-Balkaria and divides the mountain zone of the republic into two parts, the northern one and the southern one. The Chegem River flows through the gorge. There is a place of stunning beauty here – the wall of Su-Auzu Waterfalls (their name means “water throat”).

It is the main attraction of the Chegemskaya Narrow. Interestingly, the waterfalls go out right from the rocks. They are also called Crying Waterfalls – it looks like rocks push out the streams of tears. In the winter the waterfalls freeze and form a huge ice cascade. Adai-Su, or Maiden’s Braid is the most powerful waterfall. It is located 200 meters from the road and 5 km from the narrows of the Chegem River.

The water falls from a steep cliff, from the height of 30 m. In warm season it is pleasant to swim here under the jets. The ancient Balkarian village of El-Tyubyu or Verkhny Chegem (Upper Chegem) is located higher in the gorge on the left bank of the Chegem River. It is the birthplace of the great Balkarian poet and sage Kaisyn Kuliyev. There are many interesting ancient monuments here: the family tower of Balkarukovs which is also called The Tower of Love. According to the legend, it was built by Akhtugan Balkarukov in order to defend the Kumyk beauty Kerime stolen by him from her relatives in Dagestan. The settlement of Bulungu is located 6 km from the village of Verkhny Chegem. Here the gorge splits into two branches - Bashil-Su and Kara-Auz-Su where the summer tourist centre “Chegem” - the former mountaineering camp – is situated.

The valley has pine and birch forests, alpine meadows are covered with exuberant vegetation. The valley itself is surrounded by the mountains of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Ridge. The pine forest houses the tourist centre named “Bashil”. “Chegem” in Russian means “broken land”. It is said that the word “chegem” was pronounced by the warrior called Karashauay who punched a hole in the rock when testing the strength and power of his horse. Now this place has a narrow canyon with rocky walls 300 meters high, as if sawn by the flow of the mountain river.

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Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Chegemskie Waterfalls Chegemskoe Gorge Kabardino-Balkaria North Caucasus  

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