The Karachay-Cherkessia Republic

In the small territory of the the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic, as in some kind of fairy-tale lies a treasure of pristine nature with the purest healing waters, freshest mountain air, snow-capped mountains, glaciers, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, meadows – what else could you ask for?

The pristine wilderness and ancient history of the Karachay-Cherkessia Republic is amazing and inspiring. Canyons, tracts, springs and baths of mineral waters, ancient forests, caves with stalagtites, ancient settlements and mountain villages, towers and bridges, dolmens and ruins of fortresses, reserves and wildlife sanctuaries - isn’t this a wonderland? Karachay-Cherkessia is a genuine, real, tangible place of miracles.

Teberda Nature Reserve

Teberda Nature Reserve is a strict ecological reserve located on the northern slopes of the western Caucasus mountains. There are awe inspiring gorges which one can feel the whole ancient power of the Caucasus mountains, emerald meadows covered with lush grass and fragrant flowers as well as mirror lakes, frothy rivers and turbulent, thundering waterfalls.

In 1997, the reserve received the status of a biosphere with the inclusion in the global network of biosphere reserves. Since 2009, Teberdinsky Reserve has been participating in the UNESCO GLOCHAMOST program and to date, the territory is in the UNESCO World Heritage List. Teberdinsky Nature Reserve is an environmental research and education institution of federal significance.

Its total area is 85064 hectares with a protected zone of 36350 hectares (89822 acres). The height of the territory varies in the range from 1260 meters (4133 feet) to 4047 meters (13277 feet) above sea level. On the territory of the reserve 100 glaciers are known, where the largest of them are located on the Main Caucasus Range. The range of the ridge from the summit of Dzhalovchat to Klukhor-Bashi, covered with glaciers and eternal snow, stretches for 42.5 km. It represents a continuous huge wall 3000–4000 meters (9842.52-13123 feet) high, separating the reserve from Abkhazia. Above the surface of the glaciers rise sharp peaks and ridges with steep slopes, devoid of ice and snow.

The whole territory of the reserve is covered by a network of large and small rivers and numerous mountain lakes are located in glacial cirques. In the reserve there are more than 130 lakes, which are formed by over 30 rivers and countless streams that flow from the mountains, forming picturesque waterfalls and raging rapids; all of which are tributaries of the main river, Teberda. The name of the river Teberda is derived from the Karachai phrase "Teiri berdy" - "God's gift." The lakes are under snow and ice most of the year with the largest being is Blue Ullu-Murudzhinskoe with an area of 18 hectares (44.4 acres) and a depth of 52 m (170 feet). The climate in the reserve is mild, moderately humid, with cool summers and relatively warm winters. There are 30 outlets of mineral waters in the protected area, where one can see traces of past volcanic activity. Microclimatic changes are very characteristic of the reserve: almost every gorge, slope, summit is characterized by its microclimate. This is a unique natural reserve where an incredible amount of different types of plants and animals are concentrated on a relatively small area.

A trip to the Teberda Nature Reserve is a unique experience that will leave a long-lasting impression.


Leso-Kyafar ancient settlement

Leso-Kyafar is a place shrouded in mysticism, magical attraction and many secrets. The village is located in a gorge and there is no trace of large developments, but the mystical settlement attracts tourists here. In this ancient city, the ruins of houses and fortress walls, sanctuaries on the rocks, stone figures, crosses carved on stones and slabs, fortune-telling oracles, rune (early form of writing) inscriptions, ancient drawings of people and animals were lost in the wilderness long ago and now discovered. Particularly interesting are 10000-year-old dolmens made of solid stone slabs with round holes and preserved runic inscriptions. It is said that one can contact the sage of the dolmen and experience its healing power, such as elimination of pain and body regeneration. Compasses and navigators do not work in these places and in the second half of the day there are waves of energy coming out of the ground that create unusual events.


Dolmens of the Kyzinka village

The dolmens of the Kizinka village are the largest cluster of dolmens with a total of 564 noted here (Hill Kislaya - 311 structures; Nablyudatelnaya - 43; Popovskaya - 163; Suimova - 8; Cerkovnaya – 36) and several individual dolmens on the slopes. These dolmens were built on the territory of the temples of a large settlement, and to this day they keep traces of those times, representing a rare place with a living memory.

Today, most of the dolmens are destroyed ruins, but well-preserved original structures still remain. The main uniqueness of Kizinki dolmens is their unusual compactness, variety and fine design, making these monuments one of the rarest in the Caucasus.


Sofia Falls

Sofia waterfalls are the largest and the most beautiful in the Karachay-Cherkess Republic. They are located on the slope of Mount Sofia, at an altitude of almost 2500 meters (8202 feet). Tons of water from the mighty Sophia glacier majestically fall from a hundred-meter height (328 feet) into the valley far below and gracefully permeates throughout the landscape. The two-stage streams of water flowing from the glacier form a chain of several waterfalls, which has the greatest flow of water during July and August.