Gorno-Altaysk city
The capital of Mountain Altai republic

«Climb the Komsomolskaya mountain at the southern edge of the city, or mountain Tugaya on the north and you will understand why Gorno-Altaysk is called the greenest in Russia».

The capital of Mountain Altai is a city, that used to be called very harmonically. Sing it quietly or out loud – ooh la la (Ulala). Ulala was the name of Gorno-Altaysk in the beginning in the 19 century and was just a small village in a cavern of the northern part of the Iolgo mountain chain where the river Ulalushka joins the Mayma river. The name was adjusted to Russian language from Ulalus that meant literally 'little village'. In 1824 russian caravans came there from Biysk, though there were already living families of Teleuts – altai minorities.

Ten years later Ulala became the center of Altai spiritual mission. New temples and schools were built where kids were taught maths and grammar, painting and householding. Also a hospital and shelter were organized. Newly baptized Altaians were freed from paying taxes first 3 years, they were given houses, cattle and instruments. In 1865 scientist Radlov left a small note about locals: "I found out Teleuts know religion so well that we would never have found in Russian villages and also they have incredibly high moral standards"
History and culture

DOWNLOAD THE AUDIO GUIDE and listen to track # 7 about Gorno-Altaysk

Petr Dikarev

Saniya Shkarban

Publication date:
March 19, 2021
Consequently merchants have built up the city with stone houses and shops and set up the main square. In December you would see Christmas fair there with money rotation of enormous amounts of tens of thousands of rubles. Ulala locals were skilled at locksmith, pottery, icon-painting and many other arts. But then came the 20th century.
Almost a century passed since the first mention of Ulala in history when the first battles of the civil war were finished. The Soviet government was established here in December 1919, and in summer 1922 Ulala became the regional capital of the Oyrot autonomous region. It started developing rapidly and in 1928 it was called a city; the next 20 years it will change its name twice: in 1932 Ulala became Oyrot-Tura, in 1948 when the republic was named Mountain Altai the city became Gorno-Altaysk. In 70-80s a plant of reinforced concrete structures was working at its best transforming the city into a working capital in 1992. Now about 63 thousand people live there.

If you climb the Komsomolskaya mountain at the southern edge of the city, or mountain Tugaya on the north you will understand why Gorno-Altaysk is called the greenest in Russia. The gardens and parks take about one-third of its territory, while the forest occupies around a half of it. It is interesting that different parts of the city have different microclimates – direction and speed of the wind, rains and snows and the temperature. Therefore, the harvests differ in every part of Gorno-Altaysk too.

There you will also see skiing slopes. In future it is planned that they will be connected with one funicular system over the city since Gorno-Altaysk is developing as a tourism center very fast.

You might also have heard about the Ukok princess. You can find her in the national Anokhin museum. There the mummy of the princess is kept – the Altaians call her pre-ancestor, the great mother. If you are keen on archaeology you might find it interesting to visit an ancient site "Ulalinka" – an early Paleolithic living complex of more than 150 000 years old.

In the capital of Mountain Altai the seismic activity is high so you won't find tall buildings of many floors. So the view over it is amazing. Walk down the streets and listen to the wind – in its chimes you might hear U-LA-LA …

Have a safe trip and a wonderful journey!

Trip is more comfortable with an audio guide. Download the most complete Audio Guide to the Altai Mountains ALTAI MOUNTAINS GUIDE, verified by researchers of the Anokhin's National Museum of the Altai Republic and listen to this story (track #7) and the rest of the tracks about nature, history and culture, archeology and activities in the Altai Mountains.
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