The main attractions of Nalchik and the surrounding area
A well-known resort of the North Caucasus, the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria, a modern administrative, economic and cultural center – that’s what this city has become for two centuries of its existence. The date of the city’s founding has changed several times. At first it was a small settlement, discovered in 1818. Then, in 1825, a military fortress was built for defense against the Kabardians. After numerous researches, in 2004, it was officially recognized that the city was founded in 1724.
It got its name from the Kabardian-Balkarian word “nal”, which means “horseshoe”. It is indeed surrounded by the Caucasus Mountains on three sides. Today the city ranks fifth among the best cities in the country and second in friendliness. Every year the sights of Nalchik and its surroundings attract tourists from different countries. Let us also take a look at the interesting places, monuments, museums and sights of Kabardino-Balkaria in general.
National Museum of Kabardino-Balkaria
In this museum you will learn the whole history of the republic of the North Caucasus region and its capital, see all the sights in Nalchik with photos and descriptions. The museum was opened in 1921 and has a very large exposition of historical and archeological objects. Very popular is the hall of national costumes of Caucasian peoples, unique collections of coins and paintings. To see the whole museum would take a whole day. So choose what is most interesting for you.
- Address: 62 Gorky Street.
- opening hours: 10am – 6pm except Mondays
- Entry fee: 40-150 rubles.
Museum of Fine Arts
Connoisseurs of fine arts will appreciate the paintings, sculptures, decorative-applied arts by famous artists on display here. And also very interesting collection of French watches and porcelain of European and Asian countries.
- Address: 35 Lenin Ave.
- opening hours: from 10 to 18 hours, except Fridays
- Entrance fee – from 30 to 70 rubles.
One of the attractions of the KBR is an architectural monument in honor of 450 anniversary of entry into Russia. It was inaugurated in 2007. The arch has become one of the symbols of Nalchik. Classic columns, carved cornices, luxurious capitals, coats of arms of Russia, Kabardino-Balkaria and the inscription on the pediment “Forever with Russia” make up this elegant composition.
- Address: Idarova Street
The originality of architectural solutions in the combination of Islamic traditions and the most modern trend of high-tech is fascinating and striking. It is not just a work of architecture, but a functioning prayer structure. There is a dome 21 m high, the most beautiful two minarets at 30 m, the lower square and upper octagonal tiers. The facade is decorated with natural minerals.
- Address: 133, Shogentsukova str.
- opening hours: 24 hours a day
The sights of Nalchik also include a majestic Orthodox cathedral with five domes, named after a Christian saint. It took 12 years to build this largest temple. It was consecrated in 2016 and services began to be held. The interior walls are finished in the style of Byzantine architecture. It has its own shrine – the icon of St. Seraphim of Sarov, granted by Patriarch Kirill.
- Address: 23 Malbakhova St.
- Opening hours: from 8 am to 7 pm.
150 years ago Prince Atazhukin laid the foundation of the city park, which now has an area of 30 hectares and is considered the main garden of the republic. “One of those places that every tourist is advised to see in Nalchik: exotic plant species, water bodies, sculptures, pavilions, a linden alley, an elegant Green Theater, an elegant Celebration Palace and many more interesting things.”
- Address: Shogentsukova Ave.
What is interesting to visit in Nalchik is one of the most original restaurants not only in the city, but also in the country. The competition to create the project of the restaurant was won by architect Ruben Palagashvili. He suggested constructing the building in the image of Sosruko, the hero of national heroic narratives. The building is built in the form of a head with a helmet and a hand with a torch. “We advise you to visit the observation deck arranged in the head, rising to which you can see the opening of a unique panorama of the city.”
- Address: Big Kizilovka Mountain. Get there by cable car.
Who does not know about thoroughbred horses of Kabardino-Balkaria! It is not surprising that it has its own hippodrome. Built in the 30s of the last century, it was later completely abandoned. Only a photo of Nalchik sights helped to restore its original appearance. In 2006 after a radical reconstruction the hippodrome of Nalchik began to receive visitors again and it is very popular.
- Address: ul. Malbakhova, 30
A very interesting sculptural composition, made in Eastern style, one of the beautiful places in Nalchik, depicts a rotunda, which is held on the backs of four elephants. A stream of water flows from the trunks of the elephants and flows into the bowl. Everything is decorated with ornate oriental patterns, which is very beautiful and attracts every passerby.
- Address: Atajuka Garden Walking Alley
One of the places to see in Nalchik with children is the zoo, created in the school campus back in 1927. Now he has 7 hectares of area, more than 350 animals, some of which are rare. Children will be interested to see the fish, birds, monkeys, bears and other animals.
- address: avenue. Dolinsky lane
- opening time: from 9 till 18h.
- Ticket price: from 60 rubles.
Drama Theater named after M. Gorky
Theater lovers welcomes lovers of Melpomene Russian Drama Theater, founded 80 years ago. All this time it pleases adults and children spectators with various performances.
- Address: 400th jubilee square, 1.
- Ticket price: from 200 rubles.
Stele City of Military Glory
Capital City received this honorary status in early 2010. On the occasion of such an event, this stele was erected five years later. It is a tribute to the soldiers who took part in the Great Patriotic War. The stele is decorated at the top with a double-headed eagle, and the words of the Russian president’s decree are carved on the plates.
- Address: Walnut Grove Park.
Atajuki Garden has another attraction, which is beautiful at different times of the year. Every morning, garden workers change boxes of flowers, building a floral calendar out of them.
“You can look at this beauty from March through November. By the way, there is a similar calendar at the Government House.”
- Address: Atajuki Garden, Lipovaya Alley and Ave. Lenin Ave.
The surroundings of Nalchik are also worthy of close attention. These are the natural attractions of which the republic is proud. To orient yourself in the surroundings, buy a guide with Kabardino-Balkarian sights with photos and descriptions, and hit the road!
Europe’s highest mountain, the object of numerous tourist climbs. For the less resistant there are two ropeways, climbing to a height of 3.5 km. At the foot there are mountain resorts and tourist centers, which are in great demand among Russian and foreign tourists.
- Address: 130 km south-west of Nalchik. Nalchik-Terskol shuttle bus.
The Glade of Narzans
Once here, do not forget to take a glass and a bottle, because to drink water from the mineral spring and take it with you – a matter of honor every tourist. The glade is a valley of 3 km, on which there are mineral springs. “Here also pay attention to the stalls with mountain tea, souvenirs, woolen things, honey. Everything is much cheaper than in town.” Water in the spring contains a lot of iron, so the stones are colored bright orange, which contrasts sharply with the bright greenery around.
- address: Terskol village. Nalchik-Terskol shuttle bus
If you get to Nalchik, the first thing you will be advised to see in the KBR is the waterfalls. Any tour will include a visit to this place. In the Su-Azu Gorge, water streams from two rivers fall into the Chegem River from the cliff tops. The length of the biggest cascade is 30 meters. In the summer there is a variety of herbs and flowers grow here. And in winter the streams of river water freeze and turn into blocks of ice of fanciful forms.
- Address: Khushtosyrt village, 55 km from Nalchik.
Alpinist and Hunting Museum. В. Vysotsky
The people of Kabardino-Balkaria could not but pay tribute to the memory of the great poet, who had repeatedly sung about Elbrus Region, having been there during the filming of “Vertikal”. The founder of this museum Hussein Zalikhvanov carefully collected everything connected with the filming of the movie, and based on these materials created the museum. “By the way, the museum has no heating, so it’s very cold indoors. Take this into account when going on a tour.”
- Address: Tegenekli, Balkarskaya Street, 3B
- Opening time: from 10 to 18 hours.
- Ticket price: 150 rubles.
What to see in Nalchik in one day?
Even if you are lucky enough to visit this city at least for one day, you are still in luck. We suggest to begin acquaintance with the Museum of Kabardino-Balkaria, be sure to see the amazing beauty of the Mosque, take pictures with the Flower Calendar, and of course, enjoy the beauty of waterfalls Chegem. Walking on Lenin Avenue, you will see Elbrus in all its beauty, and in the evening a pleasant and interesting time at the restaurant “Sosruko”. We promise, you will surely get rich emotions, you will want to spend your next vacation in Nalchik and tell your friends what to see in Kabardino-Balkaria.
17 sights of Nalchik worth visiting
The city of Nalchik, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and its cultural center, was founded in 1724. Its three sides are flanked by semicircle of the Caucasus Mountains, as reflected in its name: the word “nal” literally means “horseshoe”.
The geographical location of the city provides it an important resort and contributes to a favorable climate. The best attractions of Nalchik include amazing natural sites, museums and outstanding architectural monuments.
Nalchik’s main square and the center of its social life is located in front of the Kabardino-Balkaria government building. An extensive and well-maintained area with flowerbeds and lawns is surrounded by a lush square. The square has a trapezoidal shape and serves as a venue for city events and concerts. Opposite the Government House is a monument to Lenin.
The main decoration of the Concord Square is a musical fountain. It is relatively new, but has already gained the love of Nalchians and tourists. The fountain is controlled by a modern computer technology. When dusk descends, it begins an amazing show, a dance of music, water and light. The jets take on fanciful shapes and the music includes works of world classics.
Address: Soglasiya Square, Nalchik, Russia.
The park was named after Prince Atazhukin, a Kabardian public figure. It was founded in the middle of the XIX century, and in the next century it was improved by planting flowers and paving paths. Now more than 150 kinds of plants grow here on the territory of 2 km 2. Most are linden and chestnut, but there are also more exotic varieties: sycamore maple, spiky oak, gingko, and Japanese quince.
You can take a walk along the central avenue planted with maples, along the shady and cozy Komsomolsky path leading to the Resort Hall, or along the Lime Alley. There are also open glades with neatly cut grass.
There is a lot of entertainment for visitors. There is a lake on the territory, over which there is a ropeway. You can rent boats and jet skis. There is also a zoo, and from the observation tower you can admire the surrounding beauty. Finally, there are several cafes and restaurants, a play area for children and a bookstore.
Address: Atazhuki Garden, Shogenzukov Avenue, Nalchik, Russia.
Another attraction of the Atazhukinsky Garden is the summer theater. At the beginning of the last century there was a resort hall with swimming pools and healing mineral springs. The first theater was built in the mid-20th century, but later it was destroyed. The new building appeared in 2007.
It is a beautiful three-tiered structure in classical style that fits perfectly with the surrounding landscape. Together with the nearby Elbrus Palace of festivities, it forms an ensemble of antique columns, balustrades and arches. The Green Theater looks the most beautiful in the spring months, surrounded by blooming southern trees.
The audience seats are interestingly arranged: they seem to go down to the stage on the side of the mountain. It was the same arrangement in the times of tsarist Russia, when the benches formed a semicircle over the Terek River. The theater can seat 2,500 spectators and is very well equipped. There is a cafe and a banquet hall inside.
Address: Green Theatre, Nalchik, Russia.
Best tours in Nalchik:
Another name of this artificial lake in the Dolinsk region – Fourth Lake: it was the fourth of those created in the middle of XX century. The lake is located near the Great Kizilovka mountain at an altitude of 577 meters. Water comes from the Nalchik River. The depth of the lake is not constant: on average it is 3 m, in summer it reaches 7 m. And in winter months the reservoir is drained for cleaning.
Resort Lake is the only one of the four in which bathing is allowed. There are children’s beaches on the northern and eastern sides. You can also take a boat or catamaran ride on it. The reservoir is surrounded by beautiful nature: the shores are planted with weeping willows, behind them you can see mountains covered with forests. The lake park is home to squirrels, very friendly to tourists, and birds.
Nearby is a high tower. Despite its medieval appearance, it was built during the Soviet era. There are also cafes, and you can try the local shashlik.
Address: Kurortnoe Lake, Nalchik, Russia.
A quarter of Nalchik occupies the Dolinsk resort district. It grew out of a farming community owned by Catherine of Dolinsk. Later dachas began to appear here, and the area gained resort importance. Many celebrities from St. Petersburg and Moscow came here for health purposes. During the Soviet Union opened 15 sanatoriums, which increased the popularity of the resort.
The area has its own microclimate, provided by the surrounding mountains. Dense subtropical flora, pleasant weather and clean Caucasian air create excellent conditions for curative rest. There are perfectly equipped mineral swimming pools. People come here for treatment of diseases of the digestive, respiratory and nervous system, as well as skin ailments and allergies.
On the territory of Dolinsk grow coniferous trees and chestnuts. It is nice to take a boat ride on the artificial lakes. Sanatoriums organize excursions to local attractions and walks in the mountains.
Address: Dolinsk, Profsoyuznaya Street, Nalchik, Russia.
The original restaurant was named after a hero of the national epic. The tale of him has common features with the ancient Greek myth of Prometheus. The story goes that Sosruko stole fire from the gods to give it to people. However, the angry gods punished the hero by imprisoning him in the mountains. Only the head of the knight and his right hand, holding the divine fire, remain on the surface.
The unique look of the restaurant echoes the local legend. The building looks like a huge head of Sosruko with his helmet and his outstretched arm holding a torch. The landmark is situated on the Malaya Kizilovka mountain at the height of 640 meters. The construction is surrounded by beautiful mountains and cypress greenery and looks really unusual and original. In the “head” of the knight is equipped with an observation deck, from which it is even more convenient to admire the picturesque countryside.
Address: Sosruko, Nalchik, Russia.
Sobornaya Mosque in Nalchik.
What else to see in Nalchik, if you want to get acquainted with the original character of the city, is obvious: the Sobor Mosque. The imposing structure is aged in an atypical for spiritual monuments hi-tech style. The building is 21 m high and can be easily seen from different parts of the city. The ensemble is completed with 30-meter minarets. The mosque was opened in 2004.
The building consists of two tiers, topped with a dome. Contrary to Islamic tradition, the facade of the building is not oriented relative to Mecca. However, it is possible to pray in the right direction in the prayer hall on the second floor. The mosque is decorated with minerals, natural stone and its imitation. Stained glass walls create a beautiful play of sunlight. The total area of the mosque is 1700m2 and up to 1000 worshippers can visit it simultaneously.
Address: Cathedral Mosque of Nalchik, Nalchik, Russia.
Mary Magdalene Cathedral
The Cathedral of Mary Magdalene.
The majority of Nalchik residents practice Islam, but about one-fifth of the townspeople are Orthodox Christians. Their main sanctuary is the temple, built with voluntary donations in 2016. Kabarda became part of Russia in the mid-16th century, when Ivan the Terrible married Maria Temryukova, a Kabardian princess. Therefore, the temple was consecrated in honor of Mary Magdalene.
The construction was made in the Byzantine style by the Tatarinovs architects. The building is crowned with helmet-shaped domes, the ensemble is supplemented with four-tier belfry with eight bells. The interior space is covered with paintings in the style of Andrei Rublev. The area of the cathedral is 800 m 2 and the capacity is 1,000 people. Miraculous images and relics make up the shrines of the temple.
Address: Cathedral of Mary Magdalene, Malbakhova Street, Nalchik, Russia.
National Museum of Kabardino-Balkaria
The National Museum of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic.
The museum, dedicated to the history and culture of Kabardino-Balkaria, began its work in 1921. The opening of the museum was advertised in the local newspapers, and enthusiastic citizens began to take an active part in compiling the collection. During the first year the number of exhibits they collected exceeded a thousand. After the war the exorbitantly sprawling collection was divided between several buildings.
The exposition is thematically divided into several sections:
- Archaeological finds from the Stone and Bronze Ages.
- Ethnographic heritage, costumes, jewelry of different epochs.
- Large collection of weapons.
- Collection of photos, letters and documents.
- Household items and other artifacts.
Also part of the exposition is devoted to natural treasures of the KBR, its geology, flora and fauna.
Address: National Museum of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Gorky Street, Nalchik, Russia.
The A. L. Tkachenko Kabardino-Balkarian Museum of Fine Arts
The A.L. Tkachenko Kabardino-Balkarian Museum of Fine Arts.
Connoisseurs of fine arts should definitely visit the Tkachenko Museum in Nalchik. It was named in honor of the Soviet pedagogue and honorary resident of the city. The museum was opened in 1959, and the basis of the collection was made up of collections from the National Museum of KBR.
Visitors can admire the paintings of such masters as Aivazovsky, Shishkin, Bryullov, Kuindzhi. There are also collections of antique clocks and porcelain pieces from Asia and Europe. Part of the exposition consists of works by local artists. The museum regularly updates exhibitions, so you can always find something new and exciting.
Address: A.L. Tkachenko Kabardino-Balkarian Museum of Fine Arts, Lenin Avenue, Nalchik, Russia.
Hippodrome in Nalchik
KBR has a rich history of horse breeding. Back in the days of the Russian Empire, fine thoroughbred horses, hardy and intelligent were bred here. Horses of the Kabardian breed even now participate in races and take prize places.
The hippodrome was built in the 1930s. The number of horses was significantly reduced during the war years, and restoration took many years. In 2006 the hippodrome complex was reconstructed and extended. It was built a huge stable, the number of seats for spectators increased. Anyone can come and watch the races in these comfortable conditions today.
Address: Nalchik Hippodrome, Malbakhova Street, Nalchik, Russia.
Nalchik railway station is recognized as one of the most beautiful architectural monuments of the city. The first building was founded in 1913, when a railway line was laid to the city. It was badly damaged during the Great Patriotic War and was rebuilt.
The building is made in the style of Stalin’s Empire. The classical portico is decorated with four white Corinthian columns under a triangular pediment, and the green dome crowns the construction. The beauty of the facade is complemented by the arched window openings. Coniferous trees are planted in front of the building and a tiny square with lawns and benches is laid out.
Address: Railway Station Nalchik, Osetinskaya Street, Nalchik, Russia.
One of the main natural treasures of the KBR is a group of five karst lakes located in the valley of the Cherek River. Surrounded by picturesque mountains, the reservoirs are filled with the clearest greenish-blue water. The most remarkable lake is the Lower Lake, also called Rotten Lake. Its impressive depth is 279 meters, and the water is saturated with hydrogen sulfide and has a characteristic odor. On the coast there are tourist bases. The only representative of fauna in it is a crayfish of Gammarus genus.
To the east of Rotten Lake is Dry Lake. In the local language, it is called Kel-Ketchchen, which literally means “the escaped lake”. In fact, it is no longer a body of water, but a mine 177 meters deep. Also on the territory there are two Upper Lakes and Secret Lake. In all lakes except the Lower, there are a lot of fish. Surrounded by lush vegetation, represented by alders, hornbeams and oaks. Azaleas, rose hips and other plants bloom.
Address: Cherek River, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.
Archeological Tourist Complex “Upper Balkaria
Upper Balkaria Archaeological and Tourist Complex.
The picturesque village of Verhnyaya Balkaria is a popular tourism center and historical complex of the same name. It combines the beauty of the pristine nature of Kabardino-Balkaria with local original architecture. By the way, the shooting of Balabanov’s “War” took place on the territory of Upper Balkaria.
There are many archeological objects and monuments scattered on the territory of the complex that are a part of the cultural heritage of Kabardino-Balkaria.
- Burials, crypts and tombs dating back to the 16th and 18th centuries.
- Old fortresses and defense constructions.
- Medieval copper mines.
- Feudal residences and castles.
- Ruins of ancient settlements.
A visit to the complex will give wonderful impressions to all tourists, but especially to connoisseurs of history and beautiful nature.
Address: Upper Balkaria, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.
The Gedmishkh Waterfall
The Gedmishkh Waterfall.
One of the most beautiful natural sights in Zolsky district, in the valley of the Gedmysh River. The waterfall has a height of 60 meters, and is located at an altitude of fifteen hundred meters above sea level. It is also called the Tsar’s Waterfall. It is fed by a small spring. Earlier the waterfall was known only to locals, but after the construction of a water pipeline at the beginning of this century, it became popular among tourists.
The waterfall does not look like a single stream, but like a wide cascade. The noise of water falling from the ledge drowns out all the sounds. In winter there is also something to see: the waterfall frozen gives a strange impression of stopped time.
Address: R. Gedmysh, Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, Russia.
Chegem Gorge and waterfalls
Chegem gorge and waterfalls.
At the point of narrowing of the mountain river Chegem formed a picturesque gorge. The main attraction – Chegem or Crying waterfalls. It is said that local girls once threw themselves off a cliff to avoid being captured by enemies. The hair with which they, falling, caught on the ledges, turned into beautiful waterfalls.
There are three cascades in all: Main, Aday-Su and Sakal-Tup. They look picturesque in any season, disintegrating in millions of splashes in summer and forming unusual frozen forms in winter. The area of Chegem Gorge has rich flora and fauna, well established tourist infrastructure. You can admire the waterfalls from below, from the gorge, and from specially equipped observation platforms at an altitude. Local mountaineers sell handicrafts, food and souvenirs. Open establishments with dishes of national cuisine.
Address: Chegem gorge, Khushto-Syrt, Kabardino-Balkar Republic, Russia.
The Bezengi Gorge.
Another natural wonder of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic, 90 km from Nalchik. The Bezengi Gorge (in the pen. “The place where the glacier descended”) is a branch of the Cherek Gorge. This mountain area is a paradise for mountain climbers, who have nicknamed it the “Small Himalayas”.
The length of Bezengi wall is 13 km, it includes several peaks, including five-thousandth ones. There is also the famous Bezenghi glacier, one of the largest in Russia. People come to the gorge not only for mountaineering but for those who simply care about the amazing nature of the mountains. But the usual benefits of civilization is almost never found here.
Address: Bezengi, Kabardino-Balkaria, Russia.