The Altai region is a complex territorial entity, which included the western regions of the Altai-Sayan Mountains and the southern regions of the West Siberian Plain. Gorny Altai is an amazing and very beautiful region, about which a lot of enthusiastic words have been said and written. Because of its striking similarity with the Swiss Alps, it is called the Siberian Switzerland. And it’s often compared with Tibet.

According to many legends, somewhere here there is an entrance to the mystical Shambhala – the country of touching the Secret, the knowledge of truth and enlightenment.

Altai is a land of contrasts. There are many unique and completely dissimilar natural climatic complexes. Here is the highest peak of Siberia – Belukha Mountain (4506 m) and the first in depth cave of Russia – Ecological (345 m), and also the third in depth lake of Russia – Teletskoye.



Altaiskiy State Nature Reserve is Russia’s unique specially protected nature territory. A UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Site, the Reserve includes a part of the Teletskoye Lake water area – a true pearl of Gorny Altai, also known  as the “miniature Baikal” of Western Siberia. The Altaiskiy Reserve ranks among Russia’s top five reserves boasting exceptional levels of biodiversity.
Conservation of the exceptionally beautiful and highly valued Teletskoye Lake and its landscapes, protection of cedar forests and critically endangered game animals – sable, moose, Siberian stag (maral) and others, as well as permanent environmental studies in the region were a basic catalyst behind the establishment of the Altaiskiy Nature Reserve. The Reserve also provides for the conservation and study of natural processes and phenomena, the genetic fund of flora and fauna, specific flora and fauna species and communities, typical and unique ecosystems. Geomorphologically, the entire territory of the Reserve refers to the Altai province of the mountain country “Mountains of Southern Siberia”. Numerous high ridges stretch along the Reserve’s borders: Abakanskiy Ridge in the north (2,890 m above sea level), Chikhachev Ridge in the south (3,021 m above sea level), Shapshalskiy Ridge in the east (3,507 m above sea level), and its western border is delineated by the valleys of the Chulyshman and Karakem Rivers and Lake Teletskoye.

Lake Teletskoye, located among the mountains in Altai, is considered one of the most popular holiday destinations among tourists and is included in the list of UNESCO World Cultural and Natural Heritage Sites. The reservoir is also part of a specially protected natural area called the Golden Mountains of Altai. The dimensions of the reservoir are impressive: the width varies from 2.9 to 5.2 kilometers, and the length is 77.8 kilometers. This is not the most amazing thing: Lake Teletskoye is considered one of the deepest in Russia. The average depth of the reservoir – 174 meters, and the maximum – 325 meters.

Uchar is the largest cascade waterfall of Gorny Altai and one of the most amazing sights of the Altai Nature Reserve. The height of the fall of its cascades is 160 meters.

The reserve is located in the highest mountain area of ​​Altai – on the Katunsky ridge. From the northeast, the reserve is bordered by the foothills of Mount Belukha, forming a separate state park. Its territory covers the highlands with large glaciers, middle mountains with tundras and alpine meadows. In the valleys of the rivers and the lower parts of the slopes there are forests.

The area of ​​the reserve zone is 151 thousand hectares, the range of heights in the territory is from 1,300 to 3,280 meters.

Since 1998, the environmental unit has entered the international list of UNESCO along with other national parks of Gorny Altai, forming the Golden Mountains of Altai complex.

The borders of Russia, Mongolia (the Sayugem range), China (the Southern Altai range) and Kazakhstan converge on the Ukok plateau. The plateau is famous for its unique nature and archaeological finds.

Residents of Altai believe that spirits inhabit the Mount Tabyn-Bogd-Ola, and the area itself is sacred. Indigenous people believe that there is a mountain world, the second layer of heaven. Scientists believe that the plateau served as a sacred center for Scythians, Huns, and other Central Asian peoples. More recently, so-called geoglyphs have been discovered – drawings that are visible only from the air, which gives reason to talk about the connection between the ancient inhabitants of the area and otherworldly forces, extraterrestrial civilizations, phantoms and other unknown phenomena. Now many people consider the Ukok Plateau to be a special place of power.

Belukha Mountain is the main peak of the Katunsky Range and the highest peak of the Altai Mountains, and is one of the largest mountains in Russia.

The height of Belukha Mountain is 4509 meters.

The fauna of the mountain Belukha and the foothills – rodents, lynxes, snow leopards (extremely rare), the Siberian mountain goat.

Sarlyk Mountain is the main peak of the Seminsky Range, which stretches for 120 km along three districts of the Altai Republic. The mountain is a tourist attraction on the territory of the Shebalinsky district within walking distance of the federal Chui highway.

The height of the mountain Sarlyk – 2507 meters. And from the side of the Seminsky pass it seems to be just a gentle hill.

The Shavlinsky lakes of Altai are considered among the most beautiful not only in Russia, but also in the world. These natural reservoirs are notable for their incredible color palettes: deep green and azure blue hues look unreality bright. The photos here are amazing even without further processing. And the surrounding greenery and white glaciers on the tops of the mountains stagger the imagination with its grandeur.

In the middle of the mountain river Katun in the Altai there is a stone island called Patmos, to which a suspension bridge leads. The views from here are incredible: the highlands, the fast emerald river and the high cedars.

The existence of the island and the temple of John the Theologian located on it is known not only in the Altai Republic, but also far beyond its borders. Patmos in Altai is considered a holy place, legends and stories about it.