The traveler’s notebook: the spectacular sights of the Caucasus
There are many amazing places in the world. They fascinate, excite fantasy, amaze with majestic beauty. On the territory of huge Russia such places you can find more than a dozen, but for a special account — the unique sights of the Caucasus, striking the harsh beauty of snow-capped mountains, flowering steppes, rapid waterfalls, mysterious caves and raging rivers … The peculiar color of the mountain villages and the oldest the culture of the region allows you to travel, relax and gain positive emotions throughout the year.
Wikipedia describes a landmark as “a place, thing, or object that deserves special attention.” In the modern world it is a kind of product, created and claimed by the mass culture.
Depending on the origin, attractions have their own classification and are distributed to:
- historical and archaeological;
- monumental art;
- architecture and urban planning;
- landscape art;
They can intertwine with each other, complement each other, creating a complete picture, at the same time fulfilling an aesthetic and utilitarian role.
From the depths of the ages
The ideal combination of landscape, historical, archaeological and architectural varieties are the sights of the North Caucasus.
Organically fitting into the historical landscape of the old center of the Dagestan city of Derbent, the most ancient fortress of Russia is located — Naryn-Kala. Emerged as a defensive citadel, for many centuries, the fortress has repeatedly changed its purpose. The 1600-year-old history of this structure opens to the gaze of a surprised tourist: a unique cross-domed temple of the 6th century, remains of water tanks and saunas of the 16th – 17th centuries, ruins of the Khan’s palace and the Khan’s office of the 18th century, a guardhouse and an old underground prison of the 19th century. Monument Listed by UNESCO.
The most interesting architectural and historical landmark of North Ossetia is the Dargava necropolis, whose history goes back to the IX century. In the underground and above-ground crypts of this vast realm of the dead, the remains of ancient Ossetian tribes rest, and buildings made of ordinary stone slabs became the last refuge for hundreds of poor people. By the way, tourists with strong nerves can look at the remains of people who have undergone natural mummification. This happened to those who, having become infected with the plague, voluntarily went to die in crypts. Monument Listed by UNESCO.
No less unique monumental and historical sights are the peers of the Egyptian pyramids — Caucasian dolmens. This is a huge stone slabs, folded like a house — four walls and a roof. There is a circular opening in the front wall, and the roof reaches a weight of tens of tons. The dolmens are located in a detached house or in groups, in some cases decorated with wall paintings or ornaments. There are many options for the purpose of these mysterious buildings. From cult and mystical to scientific and technical. In any case, it is worth a look!
A masterpiece of modern architecture
The mosque “The Heart of Chechnya”, named after the first President of the Chechen Republic, Akhmat Kadyrov, can be referred to the outstanding sights of modern architecture and urban planning. The mosque accommodates about 10,000 believers at a time, located in the center of the capital of Ingushetia, Grozny. The building is surrounded by a picturesque landscaped park with magnificent fountains and well-groomed avenues.
The landscaped sights of the North Caucasus include the unique sand dune Sarykum, the largest golden-colored sandy mountain in Europe located in Dagestan at the foot of the Kumtorkalinsky Range. Its height is equal to the height of the 55-storey skyscraper. On a sunny day, the temperature of the sand warms up to 60 * C, and during strong winds, the shape of the sand dune on the eyes changes its configuration. This place is especially striking in spring when the steppe around the sandy mountain blooms with all the colors of the rainbow.
This type of sight includes unique Caucasian waterfalls. On the slopes of high mountain ranges lie century-old glaciers, but the warm spring sun makes them melt, and they rush down in powerful streams of water. Splashing on the slopes and turns, these transparent jets create a unique symphony of the elements, beauty and splendor.
Alibek waterfall near Dombai is considered to be the most spectacular waterfall in the North Caucasus. A white-foamy sputtering stream rushes down the gorge with a rapid rumble, reflected by a multitude of sparkling pearl drops. The waterfall is located on the territory of the Teberdinsky Reserve, a tour of which can be completed on foot to the Alibek Glacier.
The list of amazing waterfalls of the Caucasus can also be attributed to:
- a group of waterfalls Gedmishh, which is called the «Tsar’s Crown» (Zolsky district of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic);
- Madarabinsk waterfalls (Dargavskoe gorge of North Ossetia);
- Chegem waterfalls (Kabardino-Balkaria Republic);
- Honey Falls (Karachay-Cherkessia).
The amazing secrets of the underworld open to tourists and travelers the caves of the North Caucasus. Stalactites, underground lakes and winding tunnels leave no one indifferent. Mysterious legends associated with the history of caves, like a magnet, attract tourists from all over the world:
- “Throat of Barlog”, “Gorynych”, “Hermitage” in Karachay-Cherkessia;
- «Metropol», «Saukan», «Unwanted» in Kabardino-Balkaria;
- Shubi-Nykhas cave in the Alagir gorge and Nyvdzhin-lagat in North Ossetia;
- and the failure cave known for the film “12 Chairs”.
This is not a complete list of amazing and mysterious sights of the natural Caucasian landscape.
And of course the mountains! They are beautiful in winter and summer, spring and autumn. The caps of the eternal glaciers, like the hats of wise aksakals, sparkle on the tops of the mountains with all the colors of the rainbow. Extreme lovers beckon to move adrenaline, climbing on the rocks or skiing down the steep mountain slopes.
If you prefer an active winter holiday, then come to the Elbrus region to the famous ski resort with a natural snow cover! Incredible beauty of snow-capped mountains, dense winter forests, lakes with crystal clear water and fresh mountain air will give unforgettable minutes of excitement and unity with nature!
The resorts of Pyatigorsk, Yessentuki, Zheleznevodsk and Kislovodsk are famous as the Caucasian Mineral Waters, combining life-giving natural springs and a magnificent natural landscape.
If you, following the traditions, like to relax in the summer, you are waiting for the gentle coast of the Black Sea.
Among the famous resorts of the Caucasian Black Sea coast, such as Tuapse, Adler, Gelenzhik, Anapa, the pearl, undoubtedly, is Sochi. A city that does not require a presentation, a resort about which songs are sung and legends are made. The capital of the XXII Winter Olympic Games 2012, the city of fairy tales, the city of dreams.
Its geographical position allows combining swimming in the warm sea with skiing in summer and winter, and unique sights will not make you bored in the intervals between sunbathing and water bathing.
For the whole family, it is interesting to visit the themed “Sochi-Park”, which includes 5 zones:
- Russian fair;
- world of science and fiction;
- enchanted forest;
- world of Russian fairy tales;
Breathtaking rides, all sorts of spectacles and mass actions will draw you into a fantastic and carefree world of happy childhood.
The observation tower on Mount Akhun will provide an opportunity to observe Sochi from a bird’s eye view and admire the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The Bolshoy Ice Palace impresses with the originality of the engineering design and is a symbol of modern Sochi, its architectural landmark.
For lovers of history, an interesting and informative visit to the Byzantine church will be a unique monument of the 9th century.
Winter theater with an amazing interior, made in three colors — blue, white and gold.
Arboretum with a collection of unique tropical plants.
Ice Palace «Iceberg» — a grand building in the form of a huge ice block.
Travel agencies of Russia are constantly developing and presenting all the new routes and weekend tours to the amazing places of the North Caucasus. They will have to discover new paths for traveling, and we will be happy to go through them, recharge our batteries with the energy of Caucasian long-livers, the life-giving air of the mountains, unforgettable impressions!