Mountain Altai records

Mummies, the most ancient carpet, chariots, a sable fur coat, the Homo Denisovan, the Sacred mountain, the Golden Lake and much more — travel between epochs in harmony with nature.
Mountain Altai is an amazing corner of Russia, where the connection of times has not broken up, and it is not at all difficult to see how geological and historical epochs appear one through the other, as if co-existing in a single space.
History and culture

Author:
Petr Dikarev

Publication date:
March 19, 2021
UNESCO World Natural Heritage
Man started exploring these lands since lower paleo period – 1.5 million years ago. But it didn't suppress the ecosystem neither did it decrease the species range here – as it is in Europe and America, eastern countries and Asia where technical progress caused natural degradation. Density of population in Altai is still one of the lowest in Russia – 2.5 people square kilometer – the forth in the country after Chukotka, Magadan, Evreyskaya autonomous regions.

Natural and cultural treasures here are kept untouched and the world scientists union has confirmed Altai to be a unique natural complex on the planet. In 1998 Belukha Mountain, Ukok Plateau, Lake Teletskoye, Altai and Katun Natural Reserves were listed in UNESCO heritage as Golden Mountains of Altai and they are all protected by World Heritage Convention.
Open-air museum
When you get here it is like entering a huge museum where every meadow, mountain or river is an outdoor gallery and everything your eye falls at is an exhibit. First let's learn the 'the' details about this museum
The Holy Mountain
On the south-west of the republic there is a two-peak Belukha Mountain which has always been sacred mount for Altaians. It is one of the tallest in Russia and is the tallest in Siberia. Its height is 4509 m above sea level.
River from the glacier
There are about 20,000 rivers here. The biggest is the Katun starting at Gebler glacier in Belukha and it cover all the types of Altai relief lasting 688 km before junction with the second biggest river in Altai – Biya, starting at Teletskoye lake. They both start the longest river in Russia – the Ob river.
Golden Lake
On the north-east there is Lake Teletskoye – also called Altyn-Kol meaning Golden Lake. It is the biggest water reservoir in south Siberia and the 25th in the world. In Russia it's the second pure water lake after Baikal, its absolute depth is 325 meters. Altai is not just the land of mountains – it's also the land of lakes. There are about 7000 of them here with square in total of 600 thousand square km. The biggest number of lake is on the east of the republic.
Watefalls
Due to the mountainous landscape, there are lots of waterfalls here, from a tiny meter high to a hundred meter tall. In the Katun basin it's about 7000 of them. The most impressive is located on the east – cascade of 160 meters Chulchinksy waterfall, also called Uchar. It is the 5th biggest in Russia.
Marble
There are about 50 marble deposits, some of them contains raw material of the same quality as those in Greece and Italy. Moscow metro station Taganskaya is decorated with marble from Oroktoy deposit.
Caves
Altai is a treasure for speleologists. There are about 430 caves discovered. The deepest in Russia is located in the middle of Altai. It is called 'Ecologicheskaya' and is of 345m deep. Also it is one of the longest – the whole system of caves and grottoes make 1700 m. The biggest grotto Mrachny is 200 square meters and 35m high.

Another famous cave is Denisova. In 2008 there were found bone fragments that changed the anthropologists' theory of the human development. Read about it below.

Denisovan or Homo Altaiensis
DNA analysis of bone fragments found in the Denisova Cave showed that those bone hadn't belonged either to Homo Sapiens not to Neanderthaler. They called the new species Homo Altaiensis – or Denisovan. According to archaeologists' evaluation Denisovan was the most developed for its era unlike Neanderthalers.
Petroglyphic art
Mountain Altai is one the richest archaeological regions in the world. The concentration of monuments is really high – from the stone age to the late middle ages. There are about 300 locations with petroglyphs. The oldest samples of cave paintings were found on the south by the border with Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. The biggest number of petroglyphs is 30000 – found in Elangash valley.
The mummy, the most ancient carpet, chariots and tailcoats
But probably the most interesting finding were from early Scythian Pazyryk culture. Mounds on the east of Altai hid perfectly preserved:
  • beautifully preserved tattoed mummies;
  • the oldest in the world woolen carpet with fine details, images and colours;
  • the world's first saddles without a wooden base, horse harnesses with gold-plated elements, and chariots;
  • amazing garments made of wool, silk and leather, including such incredible samples as a real tailcoat with sable fur.
Follow the Chuysky highway and other Altai roads, enjoy the meals of local yurts, breathe the rich cedar aroma in the air, take a rest on unique sand beaches, in crowded or empty places with no mobile network, climb the passes and step the glaciers – whatever is in front of your eyes it is always more to know with the audio-guide revealing the mysteries of this unique region.

Have the greatest adventures!

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