Mezmai village and the surrounding area: 13 interesting sights
Mezmai (translated from Circassian means “forest of wild apples”) – a truly unique place untouched by civilization nature in the Krasnodar region of Apsheronsky district. It is a small isolated village with a population of 1,000 Cossacks and Old Believers, situated in a wooded hollow surrounded by mountain ranges, gorges and canyons, rugged forests with waterfalls and boxwoods. Attractive with its pristine beauty of local landscapes and natural attractions. People come here to breathe the cleanest air, drink goat’s milk, pick fragrant herbs, taste delicious honey, to conquer the mountain peaks and watch the sunrise from a bird’s eye view.
What sights to visit in Mezmai on your own
The village has an information center that helps orient new tourists, coordinates the routes, tells about the places of overnight stay and offers tours. Most sights can be seen here on their own, as the village is small and anyone will tell which way to go, and in the forest areas are laid out and equipped with trails in dangerous places.
Most places of interest are located outside the village.
Most trails are walking and take several hours. This should be taken into account when traveling with young children (choose comfortable clothes, take a water supply and a snack, a flashlight and a navigator).
On foot without a guide is not difficult to find:
- Eagle Shelf;
- Museum of blacksmithing;
- Guamsky Gorge;
- Observatory “Solar Wind”;
If there is a desire to visit waterfalls, caves and gorges, it is safer to take a local guide (it can be someone from the residents or from a travel agency).
What to see by car
Having a car allows you to move more quickly through the large area where the natural beauties are spread out
By car you can only come to Mezmai and move around the village for short distances. All the main natural attractions are hidden in the woodlands and mountain slopes, so cars are left along roads or near the place of overnight stay.
Mezmai with its primitive picturesque nature combined with the local population is so fascinating and conquers all the visiting tourists that many return here the next year and find all new places for an unforgettable vacation for a couple of days or a whole month.
Dolmens of Mezmai
Half-ruined stone structures with mystical properties (according to the natives of Mezmai). The dolmens are about 5000 years old. They are situated in the vicinity of Mezmai and are considered to possess a strong energy. One of the versions is that they served as burial vaults. You should see these mysterious constructions along with a tour of the nearby places of interest.
Isichenko Waterfall and Cave
Located in the valley of the Kurdzhips River and are one unit, as the waterfall originates from the cave. They are named after the discoverer and explorer. From this source, water comes for the needs of the inhabitants of Mezmai. Here you can go inside the cave and take original photos.
It is rather a small family workshop, in which the history and traditions of blacksmithing and woodworking, weaving, embroidery, pottery on ancient looms are presented in a very interesting style. All exhibits on display are still in use. Museum curators hold master classes, collect and sell medicinal herbs that grow in the mountains, organize multi-day hikes and one-day excursions to see the local beauty. The very companionship with this family is a great pleasure that will certainly make you want to return here again.
Mezmai Burial Ground
It would be more correct to say that the name of the burial ground is “Monument of History and Culture of Federal Importance “Primitive Necropolis of Roman Time”. These are once rich burials of nomadic Sarmatians and their nobles, which are Iranian-speaking tribes, in which archaeologists found many gold and bronze objects of antiquity (chain mail, swords, helmet) of the 6-4 centuries BC.
This relic grove is located on the South-East of the village Mezmai, an area of 200 hectares. Here grow majestic boxwood and yew, there are firs and beeches, the age of which reaches 2 thousand years. These are rare and valuable species of wood. But due to illegal logging in recent years and despite the active protective activities of local residents, the forest is becoming significantly thinner. It is worth coming here with the family, in order to see with their own eyes these fabulous panoramas and capture them on the film.
Lunar and Alabaster Falls
Two very beautiful and high waterfalls, located close to each other, are part of the “Alabaster Balka” river near the village. The Moon Falls are famous for their silvery glow at night during the full moon. It’s not difficult to find them, especially since a forest path leads to them. To see the water cascades and nearby landscapes is better in the sunny and warm season, then the river is fuller and the views around fascinating.
This impressively sized cave in one of the many grottoes on the slope of the Guam Range. The name “Monk’s Cave,” according to legend, comes from the fact that almost a hundred years ago a hermit monk lived in the grottoes near the cave, and today you can see a cross and icons inside the cave. And speleologists and climbers who have been in the depths of the cave tell about the underground waterfall. A stream flows out of the cave, which later turns into a steep waterfall.
Observatory “Sunny Wind”.
This is a famous camping site for fans of stargazing. Kuban astronomer Boris Skoritchenko made a discovery in this place in 1989. He found and “caught” in a telescope a new comet, called Georgia. And 20 years later, Russian scientists have discovered the comet Novichonok-Gerke.
In 1993, the cave became world famous after the discovery of the skeletons of two Neanderthal children in it. One was about 2 months old and the other 2 years old. According to scientists, the remains range in age from 40 to 70 thousand years. They are well preserved, which allowed to study their DNA and come to the conclusion about the unusual Neanderthals. Also in the cave were found bones of buffalo and particles of ash from the ancient eruption of volcano Kazbek. In recent years, the cave has been actively explored by foreign archaeologists. For tourists the cave will be attractive with unusual plaster stalactites and sintered stalactites.
University and Chinarev Falls
Both cascades are distinguished by their spectacular appearance and picturesque vegetation around them. You will not be able to find them on your own if you are new to the area. It is safer to use a local guide, especially since the road to them in some places is precipitous, but well-trodden and equipped with ropes. The non-trivial names did not appear by accident. One waterfall was named by students (University), and the second was named after the river of the same name (Chinarka). They are located close to each other. You can safely go to the waterfalls with whole family for the amazing photo session, to see the rare trees (berry yew, firs, pines and maples, twined with colchic ivy) and of course to bathe in crystal clear water (in summer) or see huge hanging icicles in winter.
This is a ledge in the rock on Mount Lenin, 300 meters above the ground, from which you can enjoy a magnificent view of the village itself, the Lagonak Uplands and the Caucasus Mountains. It is an ideal place for breathtaking photographs and solitude with the world of peace and quiet. To get here, you must overcome a steep ascent to the mountain on a winding and narrow path, stretching about 2 km. The place is very popular with young tourists and couples. Children under 5 years of age find the route dangerous because of the steepness of some places and steep cliffs, and older travelers will also find the passage of the trail difficult. But despite this, the Eagle Shelf is considered a favorite attraction of Mezmai, and is visited by dozens of travelers every day.
It is a fabulous place, representing a canyon in the Lagonak highlands with lianas, the winding “Georgian river” Kurdzhips and rare ancient trees. There are endangered plants and insects included in the Red Book. Walking with family and children you can enjoy marvelous views from viewing platforms, visit the site of ancient man and swim in the clear water of several waterfalls.
One of the most popular places for travelers in Adygea. It is a picturesque gorge of several kilometers in the upper reaches of the Kurdzhips River between the Guama and Lagonakskiy ridges, connecting two settlements (Guamka and Mezmai). Here grow relict trees (boxwood, fir, beech, berry yew) and incredibly beautiful. An interesting story of this place begins with the Ice Age, tells about the destruction of the 5 thousandth army of the Crimean Khan, blowing up a train with the Nazis in 1942 and the difficult construction of a narrow-gauge railroad to export valuable wood. This road is partially functional to this day. It is used for the safe movement of tourists, as well as to preserve the uniqueness of the gorge.
20 Sights of Mezmai and Surroundings
The village of Mezmai is one of the most picturesque corners of Krasnodar Krai. It is located in Apsheronsky district at an altitude of 670 meters. Population – only 1 thousand people, tourists are few, so travelers can enjoy the pristine beauty, harmony and purity of this region: not for nothing Mezmai called a place of power and Russian Shambhala.
The name of the village means “forest of wild apples,” and there really are a lot of apples in the vicinity. These lands were inhabited 70-40 thousand years ago. The primitive people were replaced by the Scythians and Alans, and theirs by the Circassians.
The main attractions of Mezmai are natural objects: relict groves, mountains, gorges, caves, waterfalls, rugged forests. And eloquent witnesses of the ancient history of the village are the cultural monuments: dolmens and necropolises. There are also opportunities for active recreation in Mezmai: trolling, ropjumping, rock climbing trails.
Where to go and what to see in Mezmai?
The names of the most beautiful and interesting places with pictures and descriptions.
Mezmai Burial Ground
Necropolis of Roman times was the burial place of the Sarmatian rulers. It is interesting that the Sarmatians, being Iranian nomads, preferred the plains and usually did not go so deep into the mountains. So this cultural monument is considered the most “mountainous”.
Studies of the necropolis began in 2005. Unfortunately, the year before the site had been discovered by tomb raiders. However, archaeologists have received a lot of treasures of interest to science. The main finds are weapons: spearheads, helmets and swords. Many different chain mail pieces were discovered, one of which turned out to be in a woman’s grave. The researchers also found a lot of products of bronze and gold.
Dolmens of Mezmai
Dolmens are ancient burials, popular cultural monuments built 4-5 thousand years ago. They are spread from the British Isles to Siberia. Many of them can also be found in the Caucasus, in particular, in the vicinity of the village Mezmai. They were often pillaged – valuables were buried with the dead, and served as bait for thieves.
Only one dolmen in Mezmai is relatively well preserved. Usually, these constructions were like a stone cube of several slabs with a hole in the front wall. The Mezmai dolmen has a caved-in front wall, and the “roof” is displaced. A mysterious runic symbol is preserved on the side slab. It is unknown, however, whether it was made at the time of the burial or later. From other dolmens, individual plates weighing up to several tons have been preserved.
Local residents believe that dolmens are sacred objects. Many tourists, who visit them to feel the special energy, to make a wish, to improve health or to dive into meditation, also believe in this.
Relict yew and boxwood grove is one of the most beautiful places of Mezmai, a natural and tourist attraction. Yew and boxwood are ancient plants, which inhabited our planet in prehistoric times (about 30 million years ago). So such groves in the Krasnodar region – true living museums. Unfortunately, the natural treasure is threatened by illegal logging.
The place has a unique atmosphere, mysterious, almost mystical. The thick greenery, silence, winding branches of trees covered with relict greenery, make you believe that you have found yourself in some other world. The age of some inhabitants of the grove in Mezmai is about 2 thousand years. In addition to boxwood and yew, there are firs and beeches. Next to the grove there is a clear spring with healing properties.
This is one of the key tourist attractions of the village. There is a rock ledge at a height of 1000 meters. There is an incredible view of the forested mountain slopes. At the same time, the cliff is quite steep, so a visit to the site gives not only an aesthetic pleasure, but also a thrill. It is impossible to think of a better place for spectacular photos in Mezmai. And it was named so because of the abundance of birds of prey that live here.
Extreme lovers can complicate the route on their own by climbing even higher, up to the Elizavetinsky shelf and the observation platform above the Eagle’s shelf. But it is better not to do it without special preparation: the ascent is quite steep and dangerous, and the trail is easy to lose.
About 15 kilometers to the south of Mezmai, there is the Lago-Naki Plateau, which is a part of the Krasnodar Biosphere Reserve. It is located at an altitude of about 2,000 m in the Western Caucasus. The place is popular with hikers and mountain climbers. The Lago-Naki Plateau is especially valued for its alpine meadows and relict forests. It also has cultural and historical value: there are preserved ancient megalithic structures. It is also considered one of the places of power in the Caucasus.
Lago-Naki has an excellent tourist infrastructure. You can go here for “civilized” recreation at tourist centers, and for “wild”, with tents. But tourists should think beforehand about how to get to the plateau from Mezmai. The optimal option is to go with the excursion on off-road vehicles.
Hot Springs in Nizhegorodskaya
The village of Nizhegorodskaya is located to the north of Mezmai, 17 km along the highway, and can be reached by cab or private car. It is worth visiting the three thermal springs with medicinal properties. The bulk of “bathers” are tourists living in tourist bases, but for a fee you can arrange a single water treatment.
The springs have a good infrastructure, equipped with changing rooms, cafes and rest points. The water retains the same temperature +40 ° C all year round, so it’s one of the places you can visit in winter. The water comes from underground springs. It is worth remembering: if you are going to bathe in thermal springs repeatedly and for therapeutic purposes, you should first consult a doctor.
Lunar and Alabaster Falls
There are a lot of waterfalls in the vicinity of Mezmai; each one is unique in its own way. The Lunar Falls and the Alabaster Falls are located near each other on the Alabaster River, after which one of them was named. Lunar was named so because of the special glow of water that you can see on clear moonlit nights.
You can get to the water cascades on foot from the village. The Moon waterfall consists of several cascades and is quite full. Alabaster is more modest, but also very beautiful. The road to the attraction leads through a forest, where you can also see several small waterfalls.
The only disadvantage: Lunar and Alabaster do not form a lake, you can not swim. However, you can try to stand under the jets of falling water. It is recommended to come to the waterfalls in spring and summer months, when the Alebastrovaya is more full-flowing.
School and University Falls
The first water cascade is also called Chinarev or Chinar, after the Chinarka river, on which it is located. The water powerfully falls from a height of 12 meters. The stream can be carefully bypassed and get into the grotto located behind it. In winter, Shkolny freezes and resembles a huge ice column.
Not far from it is another waterfall with a “school” name: University. It is located on the Gorelaya Balka River. The waterfall was named by students who were internships nearby. Its exact height is unknown: the upper part is formed by several steps. The rocks around Universitetsky are made of multicolored dolomite and covered with moss. Under the waterfall there is a bowl of rounded shape.
The surroundings of the waterfalls are very beautiful: there are yews and boxwoods, colchic ivy, maples and conifers. If you walk around the territory, you can find other smaller waterfalls. And to get to the site is not difficult, you just need to wear shoes with non-slip soles and comfortable clothes.
Isichenko Cave and Waterfall
Due to the accessibility of this attraction, tourists always visit it with pleasure. It is located in the picturesque gorge Kurdzhips. The waterfall and the cave were first explored by a study group of students, led by Isichenko, which stuck in the name.
The cave has a rather low and partially flooded rooms, so you can not fully explore it. But you can visit a spacious 20-meter grotto, which precedes it. From the cave flows and waterfall, then falling from a height of 15 meters to the river Kurdzhips. To visit Isichenko cascade is better in spring. There are two more small waterfalls nearby, but they usually dry up in summer.
Among the most interesting places in Mezmai is the cave in the Dry Kurdzhips Valley of the Lagonak Plateau. It is located at a height of 1,350 meters and is of karstic nature. Mezmaya cave goes 35 meters deep. It was discovered in 1987, and a few years later the skeletons of two Neanderthals, who had inhabited the cave 70-40 thousand years ago, were found there. The remains belonged to children and were in good condition, which allowed their DNA to be examined.
Also in the cave and the surrounding area were found tools of mycocci technology, traces of volcanic ash, the remains of bison. Analysis of the finds allows us to draw conclusions about the ecological situation in ancient times. The research work in the Mezmai cave continues, and archaeologists from abroad also take part in it. Tourists will also find it interesting to look at the sinter formations.
Monk’s waterfall and cave
The route to the Monk’s cave is considered quite difficult, but interesting. And the absence of a large number of tourists will allow you to fully enjoy the atmosphere of the place. The name of the cave is associated with the legend that centuries ago, a monk-hermit lived there. He spent his time in prayer and a little time healing the local population.
Inside the cave, you can still see crosses and icons. A stream flows out of it, which later turns into a waterfall, also called Monk’s. There are two routes to the cave, both with a set of heights and require physical preparation. The surroundings of the cave are picturesque, and there are several convenient observation sites.
This is another of the most beautiful places of Adygea and Mezmaya. The length of the Guam Gorge is 5 km, and runs from Mezmai to Guamka. The toponym “Guama” is thought to come from an Adyghe word meaning “musty air”, another version is “the smell of mistletoe”. Since mistletoe is a poisonous parasitic plant, these versions are not mutually exclusive.
There are relict plant forms growing in the gorge, there is yew, fir, beech, and boxwood. The area offers remarkable views. The natural monument also has a historical landmark: the railroad, which was laid almost a century ago. One section has been repaired, and a pleasure train carries tourists on it.
The landmark was formed by the flow of the Kurdzhips River. The name, according to various versions, is translated as “mountain river” or “Georgian river. The gorge, like all the places in the vicinity of Mezmai, is remarkable for its picturesqueness and variety of vegetation forms. There are boxwoods and lianas, and the stones are covered with lichens and mosses. Many plants are included in the Red Book.
On the territory of Kurdzhip Canyon there are several observation sites with wonderful views of the valley, waterfalls and forests. Here is also the Isichenko Cave. Throughout the gorge continued hiking trail, so it is convenient and safe to walk around.
Museum, devoted to the blacksmith’s craft, was founded by the residents of Mezmai in 2008. To create the composition local enthusiasts traveled to different cities and collected artifacts, tools, photos and archival documents, and talked with hereditary blacksmiths.
All in all, the exposition includes about 2 thousand exhibits. In addition to blacksmithing, other crafts such as weaving, pottery and carpentry are also represented. The tools are in good condition and ready to use. Tourists will especially enjoy visiting the forge where they can try out this challenging craft for themselves. Also in the museum are held master classes and festivals, expeditions are organized.
Observatory “Sunny Wind”.
Mezmai is quite a remote place from civilization and large cities. The absence of light and industrial pollution creates ideal conditions for observing celestial bodies. The climate also contributes to this: a lot of cloudless days a year, when the Milky Way opens up as if on the palm.
“Solar Wind” named after A.L. Ivanov is not just an observatory, but a full-fledged tourist base. Here you can stay for a few days in anticipation of ideal weather conditions and unusual astronomical phenomena. Several powerful telescopes are located on the grounds, allowing a glimpse into the distant corners of the cosmos. Several significant discoveries have even been made here, such as the comet Georgia.
Entertainment for tourists includes lectures on the structure of the universe, and there are laser shows. In addition, the observatory is located near the main attractions, so guests can combine their sightseeing with an educational program.
Waterfalls of the Kurdzhips River
In the upper reaches of the river there is a whole series of waterfalls, which is quite easy to get to. To do this you need to get to Azishskiy pass in Lago-Naki highlands, where the wonderful alpine meadows are spread out. After admiring the flowers and breathing the mountain air, you will have to go on foot.
There are about a dozen waterfalls on the river. The largest – Mozhzhevelovy, which is 50 meters in height. It was named so because of the abundance of juniper growing in the vicinity. On the way to it is Kurdzhip Cascade, which is also very picturesque. Sometimes it is called “Steps of Wisdom”. In general, all waterfalls on the river are good and unique in their own way.
In fact, there are three waterfalls with such a name in the Mezmai region, which causes confusion. The first one is situated at the estuary of Kurdzhips River and is 7 meters in height. Another one, also “fake”, is situated in the mouth of Chinarka.
And the “real” Palmovy is 700 m away from the first one and consists of several steps of different height. The best way to get to it is through the Isichenko cave and the observation platform “Pine”. By the way, it is also worth lingering on it to admire the views. And it was named for the lone pine on the edge of the ledge.
One of the wild, non-tourist places in the vicinity of Mezmai is the canyon of the Sukhaya Balka Creek. In fact, the channel is not dried up at all, and the place itself is very beautiful, a real kingdom of untouched wildlife.
The place is quite inaccessible, guests will have in many places to walk directly on the water. Even in summer it is quite cold, but hardened tourists can still swim. There are many waterfalls in the vicinity. Yavorovy waterfall is located at the inflow of Yavorovaya river into Sukhaya Balka. The name comes from the fact that there are a lot of yavor (maple) trees growing here. The waterfall is not very abundant, but it is 50 meters high.
Mezmai Stone .
This is the name of the observation point in the vicinity of the village. It’s also quite a hard-to-reach site, but it’s worth it: the views from the site are unforgettable.
Mezmai Stone is a rocky ledge in the Guam Gorge. On the way you will meet streams with clear water, flowering glades and frozen mudflows; you will also have to overcome a railway bridge. From the top of the observation deck you can see the ridge Guam, the cliffs and Mezmai itself.
Mikhailov Stone is another viewpoint with dizzying views. This panoramic point is located on the Guam Ridge. The rocky ledge is located at an altitude of over 1,000 m.
It is easy to get to the site on foot from the highway, the road takes a quarter of an hour. From the height offers a beautiful view of the village Mezmai, Lago-Naki plateau, Temnolesskaya and mountain slopes with dense forests. On the edge of the ledge is a memorial plaque, equipped with space for outdoor recreation.