We leave Nalchik at 3 am. We have a way through four republics.
The journey till Dagestan republic takes approximately 5.5 hours.
The trip is possible only for ACTIVE PEOPLE who easily endure the road.
This tour to Dagestan has collected the most colorful and amazing places of the republic. Full busy 3 days will not leave you indifferent to this region and you will fall in love with these places forever.
Derbent is waiting for us in the program – a beautiful ancient city in Dagestan, located on the Caspian coast. Its history is very rich: for many centuries the city, especially its powerful wall, served as a defense against enemy attacks. Now the city of Derbent is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site of mankind.
Gamsutl is a picturesque village with a centuries-old history and traditional mountain architecture, located in the Gunibsky district of Dagestan. People left it about 30 years ago. Here you can feel that time has stopped.
Day one - Derbent
08:00 | Arrival in Derbent. We leave things at the hotel and go on a tour.
09:00 | Departure for a guided tour of Derbent.
The main attraction of Derbent. This stronghold, built in the 6th century, is quite well preserved. This fortress in ancient times blocked the passage between the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea and was a strategically important object. Its area exceeds 4 hectares. The walls of the fortress, which reached a thickness of 3 m, prevented the constant raids of nomads from Southeast Asia. The southern part of the fortification was practically destroyed, but the northern section has survived to this day. Interestingly, throughout the history of its existence, the Derbent walls have survived many invasions. Also, the baths located inside the fortress have survived to this day. On the territory of the citadel there is a cross-domed temple of the 5th century.
Derbent has a very specific layout and looks like a huge two-layer partition from the dominant height with the Naryn-Kala citadel to the very seashore. This partition consists of two rows of walls – North and South. The southern part is not well preserved and only in three sections. The northern wall is much better preserved. These are the areas that are enclosed between the walls from Freedom Square to Naryn-Kala, their common name is the Old City.
Museum of Culture and Life of Ancient Derbent. Maiden Baths
It is located in the building of the monument of architecture “Maiden’s Bath” (XIX century on the territory of the ancient historical part of the city, not far from the Juma mosque and the gate “Orta-kapy”. Underground baths are a traditional type of construction for the East. Such baths played a big role in a Muslim city, like mosques and bazaars. Baths were built in crowded places, along crowded shopping outlets of the city, in markets, near mosques. People came to the bath not only for bathing, washing, but also to strengthen strength, raise a fallen mood, for relaxation, for a friendly conversation. “Maiden’s Bath” – built in the 19th century. It was intended for washing only unmarried girls. Before the wedding, the bride, accompanied by her friends, musicians, went to the “Maiden’s Bath”.
Lunch near Naryn-Kala fortress (included).
This mosque today is an important shrine for the followers of Islam in Russia. It is located in the very center of the historical part of the city and at the time of its construction (8th century) it was the largest building in Derbent. Juma Mosque was rebuilt several times. So, one of the inscriptions says that it was reconstructed after a strong earthquake. In the 15th century a madrasah was built near it. The formation of the mosque complex was completed only at the beginning of the 19th century. During the Soviet era, the city prison was located in this building, and only in 1943 did the Juma Mosque begin to play its spiritual role.
Museum of the History of World Cultures and Religions
The museum presents the history of confessional culture and art of Derbent and Dagestan. Derbent is a city where tolerance and interpenetration of cultures are not just words, but a way of life, a form of existence. The main task of the museum is to generalize the experience of world religions in a cultural context, to demonstrate the commonality of their components in order to foster religious tolerance and respect for the religious traditions of representatives of different faiths and peoples. The permanent exposition of the museum includes artifacts that personify the religious preferences and life of the peoples of the Caucasus and, in particular, Dagestan.
Ancient Armenian Church of St. All-Savior. This church is one of the most important religious buildings in Derbent. Despite the fact that it was built only in the 19th century and was badly damaged during the Civil War, this building is one of the most interesting sights of Derbent. Today, in the building of the old Armenian church, there is a city museum, which exhibits authentic works of folk arts and crafts of Dagestan, rooted in the life and culture of the peoples of the past. Severe natural conditions forced each aul to engage in a certain craft. Therefore, today Dagestan is rightly called the “pantry of craftsmen”. Museum of “Carpet and decorative and applied arts, Armenian – Gregorian Church”.
After sightseeing we go to the hotel. At your disposal are comfortable rooms, twin and dbl accommodation.
Day two - Derbent-Kubachi
09:00 | Departure for an excursion
Peter 1 House Museum Complex
The house of Peter I or the Dugout of Peter I is the place where Tsar Peter I spent the night in 1722 during the Persian campaign. This cultural and historical complex is an architectural composition, including a pavilion-colonnade, the remains of the dugout of Peter I, a monument to the Russian emperor and a museum building. In 2015, a museum complex was opened on the site of the dugout. The main exhibit of the museum is the remains of the dugout, in which the Emperor stayed during his stay in Derbent.
Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God
Church of the Intercession of the Holy Mother of God is an Orthodox church in the city of Derbent in Dagestan. The parish belongs to the Makhachkala deanery of the Makhachkala diocese (until 2011 to the Baku and Caspian diocese) of the Russian Orthodox Church. Located in the center of the city of Derbent on the street. Lenina, 22. The only surviving Orthodox church in the city. History of creation is 1894, the Derbent Orthodox community raised the issue of building a new parochial school. For these purposes, donations were collected and a plot of land in the city center was purchased. The construction of the school began in 1899, and on January 7, 1900, it was solemnly consecrated. In 1901, an Altar was arranged at the school, and it turned into a church-school, which on October 1, 1901 was consecrated by Bishop Vladimir (Sinkovsky) of Vladikavkaz. In 1902, in the courtyard of the church-school, a new building of the parochial school was built, and the old one was completely given over to the church. In 1939 the church was closed, but in 1943 it was again handed over to believers.
Kyrkhlyar ancient cemetery
Forty ancient graves, allocated in a special revered place in the Northern Muslim cemetery of Derbent, are called the Turkic word Kyrkhlyar, that is, simply “forty”. Together with the Juma mosque, these graves are one of the oldest and most important Islamic shrines for the Caucasus. According to legend, the bodies of the dead soldiers were left to be eaten by birds, but they miraculously remained intact, and then they decided to bury them with honor. The long inscriptions on the slabs, which old historians and travelers write about, are poorly preserved to this day. Their remains allow us to attribute the tombstones to the 7th-9th centuries. Some sources, including the Derbent medieval chronicle, name the leader of the warriors as Salman ibn Rabiya al-Zahili. According to another version, the “forty” are not Arabs, but a detachment of Ottoman Turkic warriors of a slightly later time. The small plot is possibly the later graves of the Derbent righteous. The cemetery is credited with miraculous properties: its land allegedly saves from the evil eye and cures infertility. Next to the sarcophagi there is a cult object – a stone cradle. Married couples need to rock it together and, as they say here, there will be children.
Our first stop Ekranoplan “Lun”. Perhaps this Dagestan attraction, located near Derbent on the very shore of the sea, has become just as popular and visited, like its ancient fortress. Lun is the world’s only ekranoplan missile carrier – a Soviet naval ship that is able to glide right over the waves at a speed of 500 km / h. They tried to create such military rocket ships in the 70s of the last century, but only one Ekranoplan “Lun” became the only one.
Now Lun is located on the beach of Derbent, and will soon be the central exhibit of the Patriot Park which is constructed.
The village has been known since the Middle Ages as one of the largest craft centers in the North Caucasus, and specifically the artistic processing of metal, stone and wood.
In the Middle Ages, the locals were famous for their skillful ability to make excellent chain mail, sabers, daggers and other weapons, and the name “Kubachi” from Turkic translates as “chain mail, armor makers.” It is believed that the Kubachi people began to work with metal 5 thousand years ago, and they still do it, many secrets are passed down from generation to generation. According to the legends, Alexander Nevsky, Prince Mstislav and other important people of the past had Kubachi weapons.
Day three - Gamsutl
07:00 | Breakfast.
08:00 | Check out and departure from the hotel. Heading to Gamsutl.
Gamsutl is a ghost village located in the Gunibsky district of Dagestan.
There used to be watchtowers on the sides of the village. They entered it on folding bridges. It is believed that Gamsutl was never taken by any of the conquerors – it is too impregnable. People left it about 30 years ago, and the last resident, or as he called himself “the mayor of Gamsutl” – Abdulzhalil Abdulzhalilov died in 2015. Since then, interest in the abandoned colorful aul, as if clinging to the mountainside, has only been growing. Hundreds of tourists visit it every day. But the tourist flow is not controlled: the village has no protected status. People roam the old sagging and already partially destroyed roofs, leaving graffiti on the walls.
What will we see on the way to the village?
The Gimry tower is a defensive tower in the village of Gimry, Untsukulsky district of the Republic of Dagestan. Built in the 19th century. One of the samples of the defensive structures of the highlanders of Dagestan, built to defend against the attacking enemy. It is believed that the tower is a witness to the death of Gazi-Muhammad, the first imam of Dagestan.
The tower originally built on this site has not been preserved, only the ruins of the foundation have remained of it. However, in 1997 a new Gimry tower was built here. Inside it is completely empty and you can climb the wooden stairs to the roof, which offers a beautiful view of the surroundings.
The new building is equipped with loopholes and has an observation deck; it looks like an old tower that was once destroyed. There are memorial plaques around, one of which has the following words: “Imam Shamil landed here after jumping from a sakli on the day of the death of the first imam of Dagestan and Chechnya, Gazi-Magomed.”
The tower is famous for the fact that on October 10, 1832, the troops of Baron Rosen approached the village of Gimry and took it. Gazi-Magomed and Shamil, who arrived to help, took refuge in the tower. Rosen’s troops laid siege to the tower and bombarded it until the Highlanders ran out of ammunition. Ghazi-Muhammad rushed to the besiegers and died. Shamil, according to legend, jumped out of the tower far away, finding himself behind the military ring. He miraculously managed to escape from the battlefield.
Having imbued with history, we drive further along the Irganai reservoir, where we will make a stop for a photo. The views there are amazing.
The Irganai reservoir is a reservoir on the Avarskoye Koisu River in Dagestan, created as a result of the construction of the Irganai hydroelectric power station in 2008.
During the creation of the reservoir, 940 hectares of agricultural farmland and gardens were flooded, 521 buildings residential and non-residential premises were moved to a safe place. As a result of flooding, the village of Irganai was completely resettled, and the villages of Zirani and Maidanskoye were partially resettled. As a result of the haste with which the reservoir was filled, only 30% of its bed underwent sanitary cleaning, gardens, houses, outbuildings and cemeteries that had not been cut down went under water.
Climbing the mountains, it is impossible not to stop at this reservoir, which impresses with its majesty of the mountains and the beauty of the water surface.
The Irganay reservoir is an artificial object created as a result of construction work on the construction of an embankment dam near the village of Gimry. It is located in the area of the Avar Koysu River, which, in turn, is a tributary of the Sulak River, carrying its waters to the Caspian Sea.
The dam at the Irganai hydroelectric power station began to be built in 1977. But the reservoir was completely filled relatively recently – in 2008.
As a result, the Irganai HPP entered the top three most powerful hydroelectric power plants in the North Caucasus region.
Today, the Irganai reservoir is a rather busy place: several settlements are located on its banks (the village of Shamilkala, the village of Irganai, Zirani, Maidanskoye), two rivers flow into it – Arsul and Baranitlyar.
After examining this miracle of man made, we will immediately go to the main part of our route – to the ghost village of Gamsutl.
Aul ghost Gamsutl
No matter how many times we have been there, we always want to return there again and again. When we first saw it, having overcome this path on foot up the mountain, we could not believe our eyes, we were in a fairy tale, everything seemed impossible and drawn. Questions immediately arose in my head, how did people live there, what did they do? And after what we saw, the answer came by itself – they were happy there.
Gamsutl – like an ancient fairy tale, living somewhere high in the mountains of Dagestan, it is a kind of fortress and a masterpiece of architecture of ancient builders. The village is considered the third oldest settlement in Dagestan. Translated from the Avar language means “at the foot of the Khan’s tower”
The village of Gamsutl stands on a mountain peak near the village of Chokh. Among the cluster of empty houses and streets of the “Dagestan Machu Picchu”. The history of the settlement dates back about 1600 years, so artifacts from different eras and religions have been preserved here: Christian crosses are adjacent to the Stars of David and carved quotes in Persian.
Gamsutl is an aul abandoned by the inhabitants, standing alone on the mountain peaks and related to them for hundreds of years. You will have to climb on foot – a steep road leads to a cluster of empty houses and streets, along which only the wind walks.
But it’s worth it: the views will impress anyone. Gamsutl seemed to have grown into the mountains. This is partly true: houses were built so that the rock served as one of the walls. The rest were made from rock fragments. Some houses are two- and even three-story – wealthy people could afford them. But you still have to be careful when walking near them: the masonry is crumbling, and the earthen roofs have already been washed away almost everywhere. There are only a couple of streets in the village. Only a part of the village, which is located on the very top of the cliff, has been preserved – here it is about 1500 meters above sea level.
If you want to feel how time stops and empty windows of abandoned houses look at you, go up to Gamsutl and stand among its streets in silence for at least a couple of minutes.
After the end of the tour we leave for Nalchik.
Return back to Nalchik.
The price includes:
Travel by minivan/4wheel car tour class;
Transport services according to the program;
Hotel stay 2 nights in Derbent (twin rooms);
1 lunch in Derbent, 1 lunch on the canyon, 2 breakfasts;
Guided sightseeing tour of Derbent;
Trip to Gamsutl;
Trip to Lun WIG;
lunches and dinners which not included
entrance tickets fees to museums
|PRICE||20’000 rubles per person|
|DEPARTURE TIME||02:00 am from city Nalchik|
|INCLUDED IN THE PRICE||
|You must have: ✓ Passport, ✓ Snack, ✓ Sports shoes, ✓ Rain clothes
Important to know! If weather conditions are unfavorable for the tour, then changes to the planned route are possible, including the day and time of departure.