30 Main Sights of the North Caucasus
North Caucasus includes Adygea, Ingushetia, Karachay-Cherkessia, North Ossetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, Dagestan, Chechnya, Stavropol and Krasnodar regions. The terrain in the region is mountainous, which influenced two aspects in terms of attractions. First, it allowed the construction of modern complexes for skiing and nature tourism. For example, conditions were created for recreation at Krasnaya Polyana in Krasnodar Krai and at Dombai in Karachai-Cherkessia.
And, secondly, many unique objects of antiquity have been able to survive to this day because of the difficult access to them. This applies especially to Derbent Fortress Naryn-Kala or “Tatar settlement” of Stavropol. Now tourist places are being ennobled, but at the same time protected. That is, they can be seen and saved for posterity.
The most interesting and beautiful places of the region
List, pictures with names and descriptions of popular sights in the North Caucasus!
The highest point on the territory of Russia and Europe. Its absolute height is 5,642 m. Stratovolcano is located in the system of the Caucasus Mountains. Climbing is not considered particularly difficult, but accidents occasionally occur. There are about 10 routes. The main infrastructure is concentrated along the Baksan Gorge. There is a hotel, cable cars and highland shelters, which appeared on Elbrus at the beginning of the last century.
The Heart of Chechnya Mosque
It was built in Grozny in 2008 and is named after Akhmat Kadyrov. It can accommodate 10,000 worshippers at a time. It is one of the largest mosques in the world. The style is classical Ottoman, based on Istanbul’s Blue Mosque. The interior and exterior decoration is marble. Patterns and quotations from the Koran are written with a dusting of gold of the highest standard. There are 4 minarets along the perimeter. There is a park of 14 hectares around it.
Located in the Adler district. Bounded by the Psou and Mzymta Rivers. The shoreline is mostly covered with pebble beaches. Almost all of them are public, only some areas belong to the hotels, such as “Velvet Season” or “Reddison”. There are plenty of attractions, including “Sochi-Park” with rides and the Olympic Park. Sports enthusiasts can visit the Ice Palace or Fisht Stadium.
The monument of Ingush architecture is located in the Jeirakh district. The exact time when the defensive and guard towers were erected is unknown, but they are considered ancient. According to tradition, each was built for no more than a year. The natural relief of the cliffs adds colour to the site. The complex is part of the Jeyrakh-Assy State Historical-Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve.
The Naryn-Kala Fortress
It was built in Derbent in VIII-XVI centuries to control the narrow passage leading to the land of the Persians. For this reason it is located close to the Caspian Sea. Its area is about 4.5 hectares. In each era, changes were made to the architectural plan, taking into account the needs. The citadel has well-preserved walls and some internal structures including water supply system and baths. It is included in the UNESCO world heritage list.
Located in North Ossetia. Depending on how you measure it, the maximum height ranges from 600 to 750 m. This makes Bolshoi Zeigalan – the largest waterfall of the group the highest in Europe. At the same time during the year it is not stable as it is fed by the melting of the glacier. In the winter, large icicles get frozen on it, and the flow is reduced to nothing. It gains strength in the middle of summer, but its rapid flow does not last long.
A village formed no later than the V century. Around that time, it was mentioned in chronicles as a place rich in skilled craftsmen. They made the best chain mail in the region. It now belongs to the Dakhadaevsky district of Dagestan. Folk crafts are not forgotten to this day. The manufacture of weapons, armor and household items made of metal was supplemented by stone and wood carving. A museum was opened at the local art factory.
Lookout Tower on Mount Akhun
The hill itself is situated between Khosta and Agura. In 1936 Stalin ordered to build an observation tower on top of it. Automobile road to the place appeared a year earlier. However, you can climb here on foot, which will give a lot of impressions. There is a panoramic view of the surrounding area. There is a tasting room in the tower now. Nearby there is a restaurant, trade pavilions and a tea house.
The State Nature Reserve occupies more than 35 thousand hectares in two districts of Ingushetia at once. Unique objects of the local flora include thickets of sea buckthorn and an array of hook pine. Rare species of fauna, such as forest cat and aurochs, also inhabit the reserve. On the territory of the reserve there are preserved tower complexes – examples of medieval architecture of the republic. In one of the towers was found a bronze eagle of VIII century.
Kislovodsk National Park
In the past was a resort park. In 2016, it received a new status. The area – more than 965 hectares. For those wishing to improve their health there is a terrenekur, a specially designed walking therapeutic route. The area is rich in interesting places and natural monuments. Among them are Lermontov’s pavilion, cableway, pavilion-museum “Horseshoe”, rope town, flower calendar and clock.
An abandoned ancient Ingush town in the Jeirakh district. First of all the place is famous for its architectural complex. Almost every building is a historical object. Sanctuaries, tombs, towers and cyclopean dwellings are of great interest to tourists and researchers. Several years in Egikala held a tournament “Battle in the Mountains”. It is part of the Jeirakh-Assa Museum-Reserve.
A natural monument of regional significance. It belongs to Chechnya and Dagestan. It was created by damming the riverbed. The water level varies during the year. The surface area varies from 170 to 230 hectares. Since 2015, a tourist cluster was opened on the shore. Among other things, a sports complex, apartments, and a boat station were built. In 2017, the first sailing regatta was held on the lake.
Memorial complex “Alley of Glory”.
Built in Grozny in 2008. The area is 5 hectares. There is a museum named after Akhmat Kadyrov on the territory. It contains his personal belongings and an exhibition about his contribution to the development of the republic. The museum occupies the lower level of the complex. On the second level the visitors are received by the picture gallery. The third level is occupied by portraits of Heroes of the Soviet Union and bas-reliefs on different topics. At the fourth level the eternal flame burns.
Caucasus Biosphere Reserve
It was founded in 1924. The area is more than 2.8 thousand km². The closest city is Sochi. In the past these lands were hunted by great princes. Rich in diversity of flora and fauna. Among the valuable are large species of animals, such as bison. Specially protected areas are scattered throughout the territory. Because of this, tourists are allowed to use only one approved route for excursions.
Pyatigorsk natural object, which can be easily found on the slope of Mashuk on the south side. Mineral water and hydrogen sulfide caused the formation of an underground cave first, and then a crater with a diameter of 15 meters. It was filled with water and turned into a lake 11 meters deep. In front of the entrance to the sinkhole there is a statue of Ostap Bender. To the lake itself there is a consecrated tunnel through the cave.
Museum-reserve “Tatar settlement
It was formed in 1992 near Stavropol. The area is about 200 hectares. The settlement itself is dated to the VIII century BC. Museum-reserve is an archaeological and natural landmark. On its territory there are well preserved burial grounds. Otherwise, the silhouettes of former structures and roads are barely discernible or lie in ruins. The research continues, and in parallel, excursions are taken here.
Part of the Krasnodar Territory and Adygea. It is a part of the Caucasus Range. Its height is more than 2.8 thousand meters. It is popular with climbers: there are routes for group and individual ascents of varying difficulty. The mountain has a coral structure, as in the past, according to researchers, was an island. One of the Olympic stadiums, built in Sochi and hosting the games, is named after Fisht.
It belongs to Kabardino-Balkaria and Stavropol Krai. It is located 9 km from Pyatigorsk. The lake has an oval shape, it is salty and undrained. The area is 1.7 km² and the maximum depth is 10 m. The muds are similar to the muddy sediments of the Dead Sea. One can bathe in Tambukan for a short time, but it is dangerous for health to drink the water. The lake has no fish. Vacation nearby will not please everyone because of the unpleasant smell.
Belongs to the territory of Kabardino-Balkaria. Monument of Nature was formed on three rivers, and they all flow into the Chegem. The maximum height is 60 meters. The largest waterfall is divided into separate streams. The second is “built” in a crevasse. The third has the most powerful stream. Passes by a popular tourist route. Neat paths with handrails are built, there are viewing platforms.
The most popular place with sulfurous springs in the Krasnodar Territory. They come to the surface in the areas of two rivers: Khosta and Agura. A dozen and a half wells with mineral water are available to vacationers. This water helps to cure a lot of diseases. Resort complex has been working since the beginning of the XX century. It includes not only accommodation buildings, but also treatment rooms, a polyclinic and laboratories.
The mountainous area of Karachay-Cherkessia is one of the tourism centers of the North Caucasus. The ski slopes are designed for both beginners and experienced extreme skiers. Elevators and cable cars are modern and work without interruptions. Climbers can try themselves on a variety of sites. Accommodation – for all tastes and wallet, for example, you can rent a room in the “Golden Mustang” or apartments in the “Chalet”.
Built in 1963 on the Sulak River in Dagestan. The units were fully commissioned by 1976. The local arch dam is the highest in Russia, in addition, the Chirkei HPP is the most powerful in the North Caucasus. During its construction a water reservoir was formed. Up to the dam on its coast stretches a road. At the base of the hydroelectric power station operates a fishery where trout are raised.
Memorial of Remembrance and Glory in Nazran
It was built over a decade and was completed by 2012. It is dedicated both to tragic and solemn dates and events in the history of the Ingush people. The complex includes monuments, alleys, plantings, colonnades. They are intended to keep the memory of the exploits of compatriots during military conflicts, deportations and political persecutions. Among other things, there is a plaque with the names of Heroes of the USSR and Russia.
One of the most popular natural monuments in the vicinity of Sochi. Its height is 12 meters. The area around it is ennobled, and convenient approaches have been made. It is located on the territory of the national park. Around in the warm season is green and fresh. Plants are diverse: lianas, alders, ferns, maples. In the tract Dzhegosh grow mighty oaks. Remarkable object nearby – Tulip Tree, which is about 750 years old.
The resort has been known since 1876. Repeatedly rebuilt and changed. In the vicinity there is something to see: Museum of Nature, a hunting lodge built in 1901, a Greek church. However, tourists are mostly attracted by the opportunity to go skiing in Rosa Khutor complex at any time of the year. Nearby, there are analogues – Gorky Gorod and the mountain tourist center of Gazprom.
The time of their appearance is the Bronze Age. The tombs are widespread throughout the Krasnodar Territory. They were found both in the mountains and on the plains. There are absolutely intact, others are damaged or destroyed. Despite the fact that they are made of stones and rocks, the structure of dolmens is quite fragile. To preserve them, especially valuable specimens are moved to museums or protected areas.
Located in Tsey Gorge in North Ossetia. It is devoted to a “male” deity named Rekom. The former sanctuary was destroyed by fire in the mid-1990s. A new sanctuary was built in its place, according to all the rules and rituals. It looks like a log hut, which was not built using nails and fasteners. On the facade there are two shelves with animal skulls. Women are not allowed inside.
St. Michael Athos Zakubanskaya hermitage
Founded in 1877 in Adygea. During Soviet times there was a rest house, a children’s colony and a tourist camp. Men’s monastery has been revived since 2001. Blown up earlier Transfiguration church was rebuilt. In the monastery there are stables, wineries, bakeries. Monks gather medicinal herbs for making tea. The complex belongs to the objects of cultural heritage of regional importance.
Monument of Huastyrji
Installed in 1995 on the Trans-Caucasus highway in North Ossetia. The weight of the monument is about 28 tons. Uastyrdzhi is a multi-image monument. He is the hero of an epos, a deity patronising men and some semblance of the Christian Saint George. He is depicted on a horse in full attire and as if flying out of a rock, being in a suspended state. Well seen from the road at a great distance.
It is located in the upper reaches of the Kurdzhips River in the Krasnodar region. Its length is 5 km. It begins in Guamka and abruptly breaks off by rocks, the height of which is about 400 m. Here are excellent conditions for climbers. The area is suitable for training at any time of year. Conducted competitions at 200 trails. Along the gorge is a track of narrow-gauge railroad. However, a landslide formed on it blockage.
What to see in the North Caucasus?
Mountains of the North Caucasus is an amazing concentration of natural and historical attractions, thousands of years of traditions and customs, lost in the mountains and villages, and modern resorts, national parks and complexes with healing mineral springs. We tell you about the main must-see destinations which we recommend for your trip to the North Caucasus, and share RussiaDiscovery tours in this unique region.
When you go on a trip to the North Caucasus, you want to see the most beautiful places in the region – breathtaking mountains, clear lakes, fast rivers and high waterfalls, deep canyons, and beautiful valley landscapes. Of course, no trip from RussiaDiscovery in the Caucasus is not without a break in nature! But you will see the greatest number of natural beauties during our tour “Caucasus Mountains Watercolor” or if you join our expedition “On a visit to the mountaineers”.. We tell you what natural sights we think you must see on your trip to the Caucasus!
Mount Elbrus in Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachay-Cherkessia
The highest mountain in Russia and Europe is located right on the border of Kabardino-Balkaria and Karachaevo-Cherkessia. The peaks of Mount Elbrus, and it has two of them, are covered by glaciers. Mountain rivers, including the Kuban and tributaries of the Terek, spring from here. Below there are Alpine meadows, and at the bottom they are replaced by coniferous forests. Every mountaineer without exception dreams of conquering Elbrus! But even if you are not keen on mountaineering, it is still worth seeing this peak during your trip to the Caucasus.
Amanauz Gorge and Sufrudjinskiye waterfalls (Karachay-Cherkessia)
Amanauz Gorge begins just behind Dombai. It is called “an open air museum”. After all, if you walk along it, you can see all geological eras of development of the planet. In the gorge you can also see:
- Amanauz River, which often changes its course after the rains;
- Sufrudjoo glacier;
- Sufrudja waterfalls, the height of water fall in which reaches 25 meters;
- A deep canyon with a fast and dangerous waterfall-turn “Devil’s Mill”.
Mount Kazbek (North Ossetia)
Kazbek is another mountain-symbol of the North Caucasus. It is located on the border of North Ossetia and Georgia. Kazbek passes by the famous Georgian Military Road, which connects the two capitals – Vladikavkaz and Tbilisi. Kazbek is the easternmost five-thousandth peak in the North Caucasus. It is one of the ten highest mountains of Russia. Mountaineers from all over the world come to Kazbek to conquer it.
Jeirakh Gorge (Ingushetia)
A real pride of Ingushetia! The territory of the gorge is under the protection of the state and is a part of the Jeirakh-Assinsky reserve. What the reserve itself is famous for:
- From here you can enjoy amazing views of the mountains of the Main Caucasus Range;
- The most ancient tower complexes of Erzy, Vovnushki and Egikal are located here;
- The mountain rivers Armkhi and Assa flow here;
- The gorge is included in the list of candidates for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Underground Salta waterfall (Dagestan)
Salta waterfall is a real miracle of nature. It is located 130 km from Makhachkala, the capital of Dagestan. The fast mountain river Saltinka flows in the canyon of Saltinskaya gorge (40 meters wide). Gradually narrowing, the canyon ends with an underground cave. Here, in one of the domes, the water washed a wide window, 3 meters in diameter. It is through this window a powerful stream of water falls into the cave from a height of 20 meters.
The Karadakh Gap (Dagestan)
The average width of the Karadakh gorge is only 5 meters, in some places it narrows to 2 meters. And this is at a height of 150 meters! In the dry season there is only a small stream at the bottom of the gorge, so you can easily walk through this unique canyon. That is, of course, if you do not suffer from claustrophobia. But during floods the brook turns into a real turbulent mountain river, and you can safely look at it only at a distance.
Mashuk Mountain and lake “Proval” (Pyatigorsk)
A real symbol of Pyatigorsk is only 994 meters high. From the mountain offers an excellent panorama of the city and its surroundings. And in clear weather from the top of Mashuk you can see even Elbrus! In addition, there are several interesting sights on its slopes:
- Lake “Failure” in an underground cave;
- Free mineral springs “Folk Baths”;
- The place of the duel of Lermontov and Martynov;
- Arbor “Aeolian Harp”;
- Stone arch “Gates of the Sun” (or “Gates of Love”)
Monuments of History and Architecture
Caucasus mountains are extremely rich not only in natural sights, but also thousands of years of historical monuments: castles and fortresses, towers and ancient defensive structures, necropolis and dolmens. If you are fascinated by the history, customs and traditions of the mountain peoples, we invite you to take a trip “Attraction of the Caucasus”.Where you will see the main historical sites of the three mountain republics at once – Ingushetia, North Ossetia and Chechnya.
Vovnushki tower complex (Ingushetia)
A complex of defensive towers in the Jeirakh Gorge in Ingushetia. It dates to the Middle Ages, and consists of three towers, each with four stories. Two towers stand nearby on the top of a cliff, and the third is a little away on the adjacent one. The uniqueness of the complex is that the towers are built as a natural extension of the cliffs and it is difficult to distinguish them from the surrounding nature.
Erzy Castle Complex (Ingushetia)
One of the largest mediaeval castle complexes in the North Caucasus Mountains. It is located in the Jeirakh Gorge, too. Only this time it is not on the rocks, but in a hollow. It was built in the 16th century. It had eight combat towers, several paramilitary towers and 47 dwelling towers. Most of the buildings are five-storey and their height reaches 30 meters. The whole settlement is enclosed by stone walls.
Dzigis Rock Fortress (North Ossetia)
It is built on the slope of the mountain Kariuhokh and is considered the largest monument of history in North Ossetia. On the territory of the fortress archeologists found clothes and remains of soldiers of the XIII century, but perhaps the fortress existed before. The walls of the fortress, made of stones and overgrown with plants, almost merge with the mountain. Next to it, there are several other rock structures of similar shape, but smaller in size.
Ancient Necropolis of Dargavs (North Ossetia)
The necropolis near the village of Dargavs in the mountains of North Ossetia is so large that it is called the “City of the Dead. On its territory there are 99 crypts, each two to four stories high. Some of the structures are made on the surface, others are underground. Even now, looking into one of the vaults, you can see traditional for medieval Ossetia wooden coffins in the form of a rook, and even mummies of the people buried here.
The rock towers of Ushkaloi (Chechnya)
Located near the settlement of the same name in Chechnya. They were built in the Middle Ages at the foot of a mountain. The towers were entirely invisible due to the overhanging mountain. They were used as watchtowers on the road, and local warriors charged travellers for their passage. The towers of Ushkaloi have been restored to their present day, and are considered one of the most significant historical monuments of Chechnya.
The Senty Temple (Karachay-Cherkessia)
The traditional Byzantine temple was built on the Senty Mount in the Teberda Gorge in Karachay-Cherkessia in 965. This year is indicated on one of the walls of the church. Sentin temple is considered one of the oldest religious buildings on the territory of Russia. It is one of the five temples built in the X century and survived to this day.
Modern attractions of the Caucasus
There are also modern buildings and structures in the North Caucasus, which attract travelers to the region no less than the historical monuments and natural beauty. As part of our tour. “Necklace of Caucasian Mineral Waters” you will have a unique chance to go around the main cities of the region, see their sights and compare the mineral waters. Well, if mountains are your main love, then we invite you to take our tour “Watercolor of the Caucasus Mountains”.
Hotel “Plate” (Karachay-Cherkessia).
Want to see a real alien ship? Go to Dombai! Here in 1979 they built a hotel in the form of a flying saucer. The interiors of the hotel also fit the alien theme. The building is situated on a mountain at an altitude of 2260 meters. You can get here by cable car. And remember, the hotel has only three rooms for 8 people. So if you are going to Dombaj with a big company, it is quite possible to rent a whole flying saucer!
Mosque “The Heart of Chechnya” (Chechnya)
The Mosque “Heart of Chechnya” is one of the main attractions of modern Grozny. It was built and named in honor of the first president of the Chechen Republic, Akhmad Kadyrov. Moreover, it is the largest mosque in Russia and one of the biggest in the world. Its area is 5000 m². Up to 10 thousand people can be in the mosque at a time and a similar number in the adjacent square and the summer gallery.
Elza’s Dacha or House with ghosts (Pyatigorsk)
The building of the famous “Elza’s Dacha” in Pyatigorsk can hardly be called a modern attraction. In fact it was built in the early XX century. But the building has already become famous in the soviet period. The guests of the Soviet boarding house complained about the strange rustles and footsteps at night. They say it was Elsa, the housekeeper, who either fled abroad after the revolution or was shot in her own house, who walked in the house.
Kislovodsk Spa Park (Kislovodsk)
In Kislovodsk there is the biggest man-made park in all Europe. Its territory stretches for 1000 hectares and is divided into lower, middle and upper gardens. Here you can find several hundred species of exotic plants from all over Russia! Well, to see all the beauty of the park, take one of the cable cars and climb to the tops of the mountains Big and Small Saddle.
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