Popular excursions in republic Kabardino-Balkaria

Kabardino-Balkaria is called the pearl of the Caucasus. There is no exaggeration at all. More then that. Everybody who knows our republic not at random, occasionally but directly, even intimately, i.e. through its canyons, mountains, rivers, the highest in Europe peaks, waterfalls, alpine meadows, lakes, fresh mountainous air and its sky, will agree that it is a world masterpiece.

Perhaps, its not correct to compare and rank speaking about Earth landscape creations because every place is a kind of God’s grace. But there is no place like home. And when this home is Kabardino-Balkaria you don’t compare and rank: you are simply delighted.

Let us make a short introduction before starting.
The Caucasus is a vast mountain area consisting of many ranges. It stretches for 1,500 kilometers from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea. The conventional boundary dividing Europe from Asia. Among the mountain ranges practically parallel to one another, the principal one, the axis of the whole Caucasus is the Main Range whose highest peaks reach over 5000 meters. These are: Dykh-Tau, Koshtan-Tau, Shkara and other giants. To the north of the Main Range and in the same direction runs the Bokovoi Range. In the later (at a distance of 10-15 kilometers from the Main) towers the two headed volcano Elbrus. Its western cone is 5,642 meters-the summit of the Caucasus.
Kabadino-Balkaria is situated in the central part of the Great Caucasus and adjoining plain called Kabardinian plain. Its area is 12 470 sq. km. It borders with Osetiya-Alania in the East, Karachay-Cherkess Republic in the West, Stavropol land in the North and Georgia – in the South. The last mentioned is at the same time the state frontier of Russia. Kabardino-Balkaria stretches from east to west for 160 km and from north to east – for 110 km.
Seven highest (above 5000 m) Caucasian peaks from the eight (except Kazbek) are in Kabardino-Balkaria. They are: Elbrus (5642,7 and 5621), Dykh-Tau (5204 and 5180), Koshtan-Tau (5152), Shkhara (5068 and 5057), Djangi-Tau (5058), Pushkin Peak (5100), Mijirgi (5025 m meters high correspondingly). Mountains occupy more than 60 percent of the republic’s territory forming five parallel ranges: Woody, Pasturable, Rocky, Lateral, Main. These ranges, except Main, are cut by seven canyons: Malka (Elbrus north), Baksan (Elbrus south), Chegem (canyon waterfalls), Bezengi (Bezengi camp), Chereck (Blue lakes), Psigansu, Lesken with the rivers from the mountains of the Main and Lateral canyons. These rivers flow into Caspian Sea.

And it is a great view! Every canyon is unique. Rocky, Main and Lateral ranges are considered to be the most picturesque with their cliffs of yellow-pink shades, turbulent rivers, chains of white tops with never melting snow. And of course, we should mention Elbrus – the marvelous giant with its two summits, the highest mountain in Europe. It is really beyond any comparison. It is even above imagination.


Resort Nalchik

The capital of Kabardino-Balkarian republic – Nalchik – is a beautiful city surrounded by parks, mountains, lakes and river Nalchik. Little city in South of Russia, population is 250 thousand people, attracts tourists from all parts of the country.Resort “Nalchik” is located in the resort zone Dolinsk, located at an altitude of 500 meters above sea level, surrounded by forests and orchards. The city itself is covered by a semicircle of the majestic mountains of the northern foothills of the Caucasus Mountains, resembling “horseshoe”, which gave the name of the city “Nalchik”. Resort “Nalchik” from 1964 is the all-Union health resort and with hospitality welcomes vacationers from all over the country. The resort is represented by 25 sanatoriums of different profiles. First of all Nalchik is famous for its health sanatoriums.

Blue Lakes and Hot springs

 One of the excursions included in the health centers of Kabardino-Balkaria is a trip to the Blue Lakes, located in the area Cherek and Bezengi valley. Group of blue lakes – natural phenomenon, interesting not only for Russia, but also in the whole world. The lakes are a group of water karst origin and are located in the beautiful nature, mountain deciduous forests and flowering alpine fields. Above and below the lakes – cliffs, and at the lowest, on the bottom of the canyon, with the noise and the roar of waters Balkar Cherek river. One of the deepest lakes in Russia and Europe with depth of 368 meters and more. The bottom is not reached yet.

Chegem Canyon waterfalls – ancient gorge

 Chegem waterfalls are one of the visit cards of tourist-recreational complex of Kabardino-Balkaria. They are located in the gorge near the village Hushtosyrt of Chegem canyon at 54 km from city Nalchik.

Chegem Waterfalls – Su-Auzu (translated from Balkar “water from the throat”) – a rare beauty pageant. On the right bank of the cliffs descend to the river Chegem noisy streams of water. Some of them were thrown out of the jets of small (finger thick) round holes in the rock and, describing an arc in the air, fall down. Others poured from a height of 30-50 meters in wide ribbon and before it reaches the river, breaks on ledges of cliffs, forming numerous water sparks. Illuminated by sun (by 10-11 o’clock of the day), waterfalls form a colorful rainbow.


Gili-Su springs – Mt. Elbrus North side

 Gili-Su is a combination of numerous wonderful phenomena among which mineral springs giving power, energy, health; surprising ancient burials; mysterious megaliths; lakes on the mountain slopes; grand waterfalls; amazing views and a lot of other things.

We may say that Gili-Su is first of all is the creation of Elbrus as it is situated on its northern slope and is inspired by its might.
Nowadays it is generally accepted that the formation of Elbrus volcano and its activity began about 4 million years ago and was over about 4,5 -5 thousand years ago. Elbrus is an inactive volcano but some volcanic processes are still going on that can be detected by the temperature of water from the mineral springs (up to 24 grades C). Gili-Su springs are among them.


Bezenri gorge

On the way to Bezengi camp ancient towers, castles, fortress are seen along the narrow canyon. There are no woods there. Instead there are huge mountains, ice and the roaring water. There is also the famous Besengi Wall – the 13 kilometers of ice, snow and cliffs rising to a height of five thousand meters. Even the very names of its peaks sound mysterious, far removed from the fuss of everyday life, and seem to carry one into a stern pure world: Dykh-Tau (5204 and 5180), Koshtan-Tau (5152), Shkhara (5068 and 5057), Djangi-Tau (5058), Pushkin Peak (5100), Mijirgi (5025 m meters high correspondingly) and other giants.

Priebrusye – Baksan canyon

 The Baksan canyon leads to the Elbrus, the Mountain of Happiness, which is the summit of Europe. At the foot of the Elbrus there are not only tourist centers and alpine camps but also health resorts. The air in the mountains is better than any medication. This area boasts of numerous mineral springs, which vary in composition and temperature, being hot or cold, iodine or sulphurous. They spring from under the ground to bring health to local residents and tourists.
Prielbrusye has become one gigantic center of tourism, mountaineering, skiing and simply holidaymaking. Prielbrusye is a conventional name. The borders of the area have been suggested by nature. At a point beyond the village Elbrus the highway enters a forest where tourist centers, mountaineers’ camps and sports schools stands amid the trees – this is where Prielbrusye starts, and it ends, as conventionally with the Azau glade.

Beautiful as the mountains may be, there is not only the beauty but also a danger of snow slides and avalanches, and a very severe climate. That is why the people who reside here are hardened by life and are always ready to help. And if you come here, warm recollections of the wild natural beauty will not out – do the sweet memories of reliable friends.

Mountains, romance, fancy – those are notions, which are very close to each other. Those who don’t know it will not understand the people who come from faraway places only to stroll in the mountains, to climb the mountain tops sharpened by the wind or ski down at a terrifying speed on the verge of a precipice.
Love for mountains is a noble disease. It is delighting when risking your life, clinging to every jut, you get to the top and proudly look around at the panorama lying underneath and recollect Pushkin’s poetry:

The Caucasus is under. And I am above it.
I dominate snow and glaciers and streams:
The browsing eagle, my equal he seems,
Floats motionless round the summit.
From here I watch the beginning of flows
The first avalanche and the slide of the snows.
The cloud moves peacefully, heavy with rain;
The waterfalls cut them, quick in their flight;
And rocks outstretched their powerful might;
Despising the moth and the bush of the plain…
top of Elbrus

A. S. Pushkin.
“Caucasus” – 1829 year

So we begin our journey… Enjoy it! You are welcome!

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