Guide to Pyatigorsk: therapeutic muds, Lermontov’s places and Lake Proval
People go to Pyatigorsk for health reasons: the city has dozens of sanatoriums with therapeutic mud, and the local mineral water is famous for its healing properties. Here is a very clean air, and the old buildings, pavilions and grottos fit harmoniously into the landscape of the surrounding mountains. In Pyatigorsk was often visited by poet Mikhail Lermontov, so the city has so many places associated with his name.
I will tell you what to see in Pyatigorsk, where to walk, where to go and how to get there.
Attractions of Pyatigorsk: what to see in the city
Pyatigorsk is one of the largest cities in the Stavropol region. It is home to Russians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Ukrainians, Kabardians, Dargins, Karachays, Circassians. The city is situated at an altitude of about 525 meters above sea level and lies in the middle of the mountains. Of these enjoy the fame among tourists Mashuk and Goryachaya in the town itself, and nearby is Beshtau.
To see the main sights of Pyatigorsk and its surroundings will take three to four days. And if you want to be treated in the local sanatorium, I recommend to stay longer. Plan your own rest and walking route, guided by the map.
Park “Tsvetnik” is located in the historic center of the city on the place of the swamp. At the beginning of the XIX century it was drained by the Bernardazzi brothers, who designed the resort. Thanks to them there appeared drinking fountains and bathtubs. The ennobled territory became a favorite place for walks of the visiting nobility.
A figure of Kisa Vorobyaninov, the famous character from “The Twelve Chairs,” meets you at the park’s entrance. The monument appeared in 2008, sculptor Ravil Yusupov used 400 kilograms of bronze for its creation.
Tourists throw coins into the hat, make wishes and rub Ippolit Matveyevich’s nose in hope to get rich.
In the park, the attention of tourists is attracted by the building of metal and glass with pointed turrets. This is Lermontov Gallery. It was built by the architect S. Schiller in 1901 to the sixtieth anniversary of Lermontov’s death. Nowadays the building houses the North Caucasus State Philharmonic Society. It holds concerts, evenings of vocal and instrumental music. Tickets cost from 300 to 3000 ₽. They can be purchased on the official website of the Philharmonic.
In “Tsvetnik” you will see another building in the classical baroque style – Yermolov baths . Now there are water and mud procedures. If you want to sign up for them, first get a referral from a doctor: there are contraindications.
Baths were built in 1821 by order of General AP Yermolov, a participant in the Caucasian War. Many highlanders still have no sympathy for him, because he at the behest of the tsarist government of Russia seized their lands. At the same time, the general did much to develop the infrastructure of Pyatigorsk. Under his leadership, parks were improved, pharmacies and other institutions appeared.
The first visitors of Yermolov’s baths were General N. N. Raevsky and his family, the poet Alexander Pushkin, the composer Mikhail Glinka. The old building of the baths was demolished, in 1880 it was rebuilt.
Another attraction of the park is the grotto of Diana . This artificial cave is located on the slope of Goryachaya Mountain. In it Lermontov and his friends held a ball a week before the duel, which was the last in the life of the poet. Nowadays near the cave tourists like to take pictures.
Along the paths of the park vacationers climb Goryachaya Mountain, where a statue of an eagle is installed. This bird is the symbol of the Caucasian Mineral Waters. Local people like to tell the legend about the eagle, which was bitten by a snake. He survived because he bathed in the waters of the healing mineral spring.
From the top of Goryachaya Mountain offers picturesque views of Pyatigorsk and the surrounding area. This is a great place for photo lovers
Here you will see a beautiful white arbor. This is “Aeolian harp”. So the musical instrument is called, in which wind (Aeolus – lord of winds in Greek mythology) extracts the sound from strings. The same Bernardazzi brothers designed the gazebo and installed it in the 30s of the XIX century in the windiest place of the recreation area. There was a weathervane on the roof and a string musical instrument under the arbor. The strings made very loud sounds in the wind. At night, such melodies disturbed sleep, so the townspeople destroyed the gazebo. Now the monument has been restored again, and vacationers can only listen to an audio recording of the sounds of the Aeolian harp.
From the Aeolian Harp along Kirov Avenue you can walk to the central square of the city. Here is a square, and next to it the main functioning temple of Pyatigorsk – Spassky Cathedral. Entrance to it is free. Services are held every day except Mondays at 8 and 5 pm.
Monument to M. Lermontov in the park in the city center: the poet looks into the distance in deep thought. This is the work of the sculptor A. M. Opekushin
If you’re walking with children, come up to the fountain, which has three names: “Grandfathers”, “Dwarfs” or “Fairy Tale”. It is located opposite the Sobornaya Square. Bearded old men in unusual hats, looking from all sides, will amaze a child.
This is one of the main cultural sites of Pyatigorsk. Here tourists get acquainted with the late poet’s biography, with his surroundings. The museum complex includes four houses: Lermontov, A. A. Alyabiev, V. D. Umanov and P. S. Verzilin.
Lermontov’s house is easily recognized by its thatched roof. Here the poet spent the last months of his life from May 14 to July 15, 1841, and wrote his last poems: “No, not you I love so ardently…”, “I go out alone on the road…”, “Leaf” and others.
The next building – the house of a collegiate assessor V.D. Umanov. He received a plot of land for building, and the houses he built were rented to the military and those who came for treatment.
Lermontov’s colleague Alexander Arnoldy and an artist Robert Schwede stayed in his house in 1841. The poet often visited them.
House of General P. S. Verzilin, where Lermontov’s fatal quarrel with N. S. Martynov took place. The atmosphere in the living room is recreated according to the materials of archives, thanks to extant written accounts, drawings of eyewitnesses of those events.
The price of tickets for adults is ₽250, a visit to Lermontov’s cabin alone costs ₽150. For children and full-time students, a tour of the entire exposition is 150 ₽, and the Lermontov House alone is 100 ₽. An individual tour of the museum-reserve costs 2,000 ₽. You can buy tickets online at the site of the complex.
Mashuk Forest Park
If you love nature and want to breathe fresh air within the city limits, go for a walk among the age-old pines in the Mashuk Forest Park. The glade in the northwestern part of the park is the place of M. Lermontov’s duel. Here on July 15, 1841 he was killed by a bullet N.S. Martynov. Fans of the poet bring flowers to the obelisk.
You can take bus #223 or route cabs #16, 112a, 113, 113a, 213, 223b to get to the forest park from the city center. Get off at the stop “The place of Lermontov’s duel”. Then you should walk for five minutes along the street of 295th Rifle Division.
This is especially beautiful in the spring, when the trees and shrubs bloom. Forest park is decorated with forsythia with yellow flowers
From here you can walk to the top of Mashuk. On the way there is an arch “Gates of the Sun”. It was built of stones by Pyatigorsk students to admire the sunrises and sunsets.
From the observation deck next to it you have a magnificent view of the city, the Beshtau and other surrounding mountains. The arch has another name – “Gates of Love”.
Honeymooners come to the “Gate of Love”. The guy takes the girl through them three times, then the couple makes a wish. This ritual is believed to give harmony in family life
From the “Gate of Love” begins the road to the top of the Mashuk. The height of the mountain is 994 meters. There is a 113-meter TV tower on it. You can climb the mountain on your own, the trail is not very steep. Another option is to use the cable car. An adult ticket costs ₽210 and a children’s ticket costs ₽50.
If you want to visit as many of Lermontov’s places in Pyatigorsk as possible, hurry to Lake Proval. In the story “Princess Mery,” M. Yu. Lermontov wrote that Proval, according to scientists, is the extinct crater of a volcano. Later, researchers found that it was a huge underground cave, which appeared under the influence of mineral waters. Its vault gradually subsided and collapsed. At the bottom of the cave is a lake. Tourists are surprised by the turquoise colored water.
The lake can be accessed independently through a tunnel, the entrance is free. The sculpture of a lion at the entrance symbolizes the victory over diseases
There is also a monument to the hero of “Twelve Chairs” – Ostap Bender. Fans of the novel by Ilf and Petrov remember that part of the action takes place in Pyatigorsk. Ostap Bender is trying to find a relatively honest way to earn money – and begins to sell tickets to holidaymakers for admission to the Failure, although previously everyone who wanted to get there for free. The monument was installed in 2008.
Orthodox pilgrims, as well as lovers of architecture of the past centuries visit the Church of Lazarev. It is a two-headed temple in the style of Russian classicism. The church was also designed by Bernardazzi brothers.
Near the church is located Pyatigorsk necropolis. It was founded in 1824 by the Governor-General of the region Karl Feodorovich von Stahl. The cemetery lies at the foot of one of the slopes of the Mashuka – with hills overlooking the city and the Caucasus Mountains.
The necropolis is famous for the fact that here is the first burial place of Mikhail Lermontov and preserved graves of many prominent figures. Among them are Bernardazzi brothers architects. By their projects in Pyatigorsk were built many resorts, pavilions, galleries, dwelling houses, pavilions. Members of the Shan-Girey family, Lermontov’s relatives on his mother’s side, and members of the family of General Verzilin, who served in the Caucasus, are also buried here.
On one of the slopes of Mount Beshtau built a monastery. It was founded by Athos monks who came to the Caucasus. According to legend, there used to be a Byzantine temple on this site, which was destroyed after the 15th century. In 1930s the monastery was closed, but in 2001 it was reconstructed and re-consecrated.
The Second Athos Monastery differs from other Russian monasteries. There is a summer temple on its territory where the altar stands in the open air.
The territory of the monastery is well-kept, there are flowerbeds in the courtyard. There are brick churches, a refectory, a monastery shop and cells.
Where to eat in Pyatigorsk
In the public catering establishments of Pyatigorsk prepare dishes of Russian and Caucasian national cuisine. Russian pancakes and Armenian lavash, Kabardian khychin (flatbread with cheese or potatoes) and Ossetian pies (with cheese, potatoes, meat or beet leaves) are baked here.
Sweet-tooth diners will love Pyatigorsk – the ice cream factory in the city produces delicious ice cream of different kinds. This ice cream in waffle cups has a taste reminiscent of Soviet ice cream. You can buy it in all grocery stores and supermarkets, and at the sales office at Kozlova Street, 39. This is next to the train station.
The tastiest ice cream balls are served in the “Mr. Sloikin” network of cafes. One of them is located in the city center near the park “Tsvetnik” at 25 Kirov Avenue. Prices for ice cream in Pyatigorsk – from 30 ₽.
In the center of the city there is an inexpensive canteen “Vkusno est”. It is located at Kirov Avenue, 47, building 1. Here you can order a full meal: first course, main course, tea or compote. The average bill is 200 ₽.
In the cafe Pyatigorsk at 58 Kirov avenue, building 1 you can taste dishes of Caucasian or European cuisine. There you can taste great shish kebab and bake strudel with delicious apple or cherry stuffing. The average bill is ₽300-500.
If you are used to not deny yourself anything at leisure, look into the cafe “Pechorin” on Prospekt Kirov, 25a. It serves European and Russian cuisine. The average bill is 1200 ₽.
Near the Fail on Gagarin Boulevard, 30, there is a cafe with the same name. The menu of this place includes dishes for vegetarians. The average check ranges from 700 to 1,000 ₽.
When to go to Pyatigorsk
Tourists come to Pyatigorsk all year round. The winters here are mild, with an average temperature of -4 ° C in January. Summers are warm, with an average July temperature of +25 ° C.
The rainiest month is June. If you are going to Pyatigorsk in early summer, do not forget to take an umbrella.
How to get to Pyatigorsk
The nearest airport is located 28 kilometers from Pyatigorsk in Mineralnye Vody. Planes fly to Minvody from different cities in Russia. To get to Pyatigorsk from the airport, you must first take a shuttle bus number 10 or 11 to the railway station of Minvody. Shuttle buses run every 30-40 minutes from 6:00 to 21:00, travel time – 20 minutes. The fare is 25 ₽.
Then take bus number 223 or a train to the railway station of Pyatigorsk. Electric trains between cities run regularly, travel time – 21 minutes. Ticket prices for the train – 78 ₽, the bus – 75 ₽.
An economy cab ride from Mineralnye Vody Airport to Pyatigorsk will cost about ₽690. If you want to go in comfort class, you will have to pay from 900 to 1200 ₽. Cab fares depend on the time of day. Fares may increase on weekends and holidays, as well as in rainy or snowy weather.
Pyatigorsk railway station is located on Privokzalnaya Square, 1. It is one and a half kilometers from the city center. Here arrive long distance trains from different Russian cities, suburban electric trains from the cities of Caucasian Mineral Waters.
Bus station in Pyatigorsk is located on Bunimovicha Street, 34. This is the central part of the city. Here arrive buses from the cities of Stavropol Territory and neighboring republics.
How to move around the city
In the morning and evening, there are often traffic jams on Kalinin Prospect, near the bus terminal and upwards, at the intersection of Kalinin Prospect with Oktyabrskaya and Universitetskaya Streets and Kirov Prospect. Traffic jams are also possible on Beshtagorskoye Shosse and Bunimovicha Street.
Public transport in the city runs regularly. The waiting time is usually no more than 15-20 minutes. The streetcars start running at 5am and run through the city until 22-23pm. Tickets cost ₽23.
You can also get to major attractions by bus and shuttle buses. Especially popular is the route number 7. It runs along Kirov Avenue. The fare is 22 ₽. From the railway station passengers take bus number 1 to the failure, to the Upper Market – the bus 5a. The fare is 22 ₽.
Cab fares around the city are also low – 100-150 ₽. At night and on holidays, the cost of travel may increase.
Where to stay in Pyatigorsk
Tourists who want to see all the main sights, it is better to settle in the central district. Here are the park “Tsvetnik”, Kirov Avenue, Spassky Cathedral, the museum-reserve of M. Y. Lermontov. If you are planning to climb the Mashuk and Beshtau mountains, look for lodging in the “White Romashka” neighborhood. It is located between the slopes of these mountains.
If you want to combine recreation with treatment, choose the sanatorium “Spark”. It is located 650 meters from the center. Prices are 2471 ₽ per night. The price includes three meals a day, accommodation and recreational procedures.
The hotels are suitable for all fans of comfortable accommodation. Guests are offered rooms with amenities, on-site parking, cafe or restaurant, bar, and sometimes a swimming pool with a gym. For example, you can rent a room at Hotel Mashuk for 2,039 ₽ per night, at Intourist for 3,700 ₽, and at Bristol for 5,500 ₽.
For budget accommodation, hostels are suitable. Visitors are accommodated in shared rooms with amenities on the floor. In the hostel “Live Simply” accommodation for two per night will cost 900 ₽, in the hostel “Laik” – 1000 ₽.
What to bring from Pyatigorsk
Seven kilometers from Pyatigorsk is Lake Tambukan, from the bottom of which the therapeutic mud is extracted. It is cleaned of sand and algae and used for the needs of medical institutions and for the production of cosmetics.
Some locals and tourists get the mud at the lake on their own. You can get to the lake from the bus station by minibus № 19, get off at the stop “Tambukan”. The fare is 22 ₽, as in the city. It is officially forbidden to swim in the lake and to park near it. This is a water protection zone.
In pharmacies, stores and street stalls sell mud from Lake Tambukan in bags and jars. It is absolutely black and oily. It is very difficult to fake this color. On sale there are therapeutic creams-balsams for joints and for veins with Tambukan mud in their composition. Tourists often buy them for their relatives and friends.
You can also buy hygiene products based on therapeutic mud: shampoos, hair balms, soaps, organic deodorant, toothpaste. Their prices range from 240 to 600 ₽.
Tips for tourists
1. Before your trip, reread Lermontov’s works related to the Caucasus. It will be more interesting to visit the places where the poet and the heroes of his works were once. For example, in the story “Princess Mary” – part of the novel “A Hero of Our Time” – the action takes place in Pyatigorsk. The characters take baths, drink water from mineral springs, walk along Pyatigorsk Boulevard (now Kirov Avenue), reach the Aeolian Harp and the Fault. Lermontov expresses his enthusiastic feelings for the Caucasus in his poems: “The Caucasus,” “Morning in the Caucasus,” “To you, Caucasus, harsh king of the earth…”. Compare them with your impressions.
2. The main sights in Pyatigorsk are connected with the name of Lermontov. Besides them, in the city you can enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains, walk in the park areas.
3. In Pyatigorsk there are many sanatoriums. To be treated in them doctors recommend not less than 14 days. Then the effect of water and mud procedures will be noticeable.
4. At the end of May (more often in the twenties) the annual street culture and sports festival takes place in Pyatigorsk. Its main directions are trekking, parkour, freerunning, break-dance, graffiti. The events are held in the park “Tsvetnik” and near it. Admission is free for spectators, no pre-registration is required. If you want to visit it, come to Pyatigorsk at this time.
Guide to Pyatigorsk from locals
Pyatigorsk is a picturesque resort in the foothills of the great Caucasus. Unique nature, historical architecture, rich history, ancient legends and healing springs – to love it, it is enough to come here once.
In Pyatigorsk is ideal climate for recreation. It is windless – the city is located between two mountains: Mashuk and Beshtau – and sunny about 200 days a year. The resort season lasts from May to October, but tourists come to rest in Pyatigorsk at any time of year.
After the noisy and crowded cities, Pyatigorsk will delight you with coziness. The fresh greenery of parks, walks around the city among the old buildings, the ringing of unhurried streetcars and the locals, always friendly, hospitable and unhurried. The city disposes to communication, walks, rest from vanity. The atmosphere of Pyatigorsk is ideal for recreation and recovery.
Map of Pyatigorsk sights
8 things to do in Pyatigorsk
Take a walk to the “Tsvetnik”.
This park is the same age as the city. It’s small, but full of sights: at the entrance, Kisa Vorobyaninov, the hero of Ilf and Petrov, greets you. Leave a coin in his hat for luck, because he hasn’t eaten for 6 days! In the center of the park – a luxurious flower garden, a fountain and the Lermontov Gallery, in the summer it hosts live concerts. Walking up the alleys, you will see the building of the Opera theater, take a photo with the symbol of Kavminvod – a bronze eagle, look at the city from the height of the Chinese pavilion, see the Elisabeth Gallery and listen to wind songs on the Aeolian harp.
Ride the cable car to the top of Mashuk
The cableway is another symbol of Pyatigorsk, it will take you to the top of Mashuk Mountain. From there you can see the panorama of Kavminvody. In two minutes you’ll gradually rise up to almost a thousand meters, watching the sea of green crowns from the windows of the carriage. At the top there are poles with signs of direction and distance to Russian and world cities (find your own), a cascading fountain and a restaurant of Caucasian cuisine. You can descend from Mashuk by cable car, but it is better to walk – along a serpentine path overlooking the mountains, among trees and rocks.
Appreciate the atmosphere of the Failure
Failure is a cave inside the Mashuk Mountain, with a lake of mineral water of turquoise color. Hydrogen sulfide and special bacteria give the water its hue and specific smell. Evaporations of hydrogen sulfide destroyed the vaults of the cave, which caused them to fall through. In the 19th century people bathed in the Failure, going down to the water in wooden baskets. Later in the rock face punched 58-meter grotto to the lake, but to bathe in it banned. At the entrance to the sinkhole a bronze Ostap Bender is on duty. The great combinator sells tickets to the cave, as he should.
Dedicate a day to walks on Lermontov’s places.
We recommend to begin from the house, where the classic spent his last days. The bedroom has preserved the poet’s original furniture. Address: 4, Lermontov Street. Then go to the Tsvetnik Park. Turning right from the entrance, you’ll come out to “Diana’s Grotto”. The poet’s last ball was held there. Going higher, you will find “Lermontov’s Grotto”, from there the writer watched the “water society”, which gathered at the Elizavetinskiy spring. Then go to the place of the duel. It is on the opposite side of Mashuk, so take a cab. There is an obelisk with stone vultures. But the locals believe that the real place of the duel is the Percale Rocks. To reach them, walk 400 meters along the road, then turn left onto a forest path. It will lead you to the cliffs.
Take a walk along the path called ‘terrenekur’.
Terrenkur is a route for therapeutic walking. In Pyatigorsk there are 4 paths with different degrees of physical activity. They begin at the mineral spring #20, opposite to “Tarkhany” sanatorium. Three terrenekur pass through the most popular tourist spots around Mashuk Mountain, and the fourth includes a hike up the mountain. The length of the terrenekurs varies from 9.6 to 10.8 km. We recommend that you take drinking water and headgear with you.
Go to the salt lake Tambukan.
It is known for mud, which is used in therapeutic procedures and cosmetology. Its qualities are slightly inferior to the mud of the Dead Sea. In the heat at the lake bathe, sunbathe and make mud masks. But you can’t go fishing there – the water is too salty for fish. You can get to the lake from Pyatigorsk by route cab #19, it goes through the bus station and goes to “Tambukan” stop. Then you will have to walk a little. Or you can take a cab – one way trip will cost about 400 rubles.
Take a bath in “Shameless Baths”.
These are open-air baths with mineral water. In ancient times there were hollows in the slopes of Mashuk, in which the narcan is gathered. Public bathing was considered indecent, so the baths were called “shameless”. They are located in the resort area, behind the building of “Pirogovsky baths”. The water temperature is 32 to 45 degrees, so you can stay in the water for about 10 minutes. Not suitable for pregnant women, cardiac patients and hypertensive people. If you want to swim alone – come to the baths to meet the sunrise.
Watch the sunset at the Gate of Love
On the slope of Mashuk there is an observation deck, which is decorated by the Love Gate, made of giant stones. Another name is the Gate of the Sun. From the platform you can see the whole Pyatigorsk, and on a clear day – and Elbrus. This is a favorite place for photo sessions and romantic walks. There is a belief that lovers, who have passed through the gate holding hands three times, will get married and will be inseparable. Gates of Love are on the way to the top of Mashuk from Lermontovsky passing track.
In Pyatigorsk it is worth trying products that you can’t find in other regions. These include: jam from nuts, pine cones, tarhun and barberries, oriental sweets (baklava, churchela, figs, halva), meat delicacy basturma, Caucasian pies, home cheeses, nut pastes urbech, spices and spices of Caucasian cuisine, mountain honey, herbal teas, locally produced alcohol (cognacs, tinctures and wines before buying can be tried in the tasting rooms).
Where to eat
Advice: try the most popular national dishes to find out which cuisine you like best.
Located in the resort area, art parties for adults and master classes for children, wide variety of pep desserts.
Two Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, shooting gallery, cotton candy – all this and much more is in Piatigorsk amusement park. For children from 3 years old.
A playroom with a pool of balls, air hockey, mini hills, trampolines, carousel. Children’s parties, animation. For children from 2 years old.
Outdoor water attractions: slides, wave and children’s pools. The water park runs from June to September. On the territory there is a hotel, a bowling alley and a summer cafe. For adults and children from 6 years old.
Rock climbing hall, charging on trampolines, interactive performances, children’s parties, animators. Nearby family restaurant. For children from 3 years old.
Lamas, camels, raccoons, peacocks, ostriches, ponies and other animals are waiting for you in “Berendeevo”. You can feed them and take pictures of them.
Astronomy programs, natural history lessons, educational cartoons, virtual travels for adults and children from 6 years old.
Table tennis and board game tournaments, PS4+VR console battles, Mafia games, role-playing card games, movie screenings. For kids ages 8 and up.
Travel agency “Mashuk” will organize for you an interesting tour of Pyatigorsk and the cities of Kavminvody, as well as a comfortable trip to the neighboring republics. You will see the mountain peaks of Dombai, Elbrus, taste the water from the springs of Arkhyz, visit waterfalls in Ossetia and other beautiful places of the Caucasus. The company specializes in sightseeing tours in Chechnya and Ingushetia. Specialists “Mashuk” will help you choose a standard or an unusual route, which will fill you with impressions and initiate you into the traditions and culture of the peoples of the North Caucasus.
The clients of “Kurort26.ru” get a 20% discount for any excursion. The manager will give you a discount flyer with a package of documents upon arrival to the resort. The number of times the flyer can be used is unlimited.