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Republic of Altai

Belukha mountainLake KarakolShavlinsky LakesLake Kucherlinskoe

The Subject of the Russian Federation:
Republic of Altai

Federal District: The Siberian Federal District

Area: 92 903 km2
Population: 210 788 persons.

Emblem of the Republic of Altai
Emblem of the Republic of Altai

Flag of the Republic of Altai
Flag of the Republic of Altai


This place is a traveller's paradise. Experts say that Altai is one of the most unique corners of the world where one can still meet many unexplored archeological objects of different kinds: settlements and sites, burial mounds and earthen barrows, cave paintings, stone monuments, megaliths that are of the same human value as the pyramids of Egipt and other objects of universal heritage. 

Judge for yourself: five natural monument have the status of World Heritage objects: Altai state state nature reserve, Teletskoye lake, Katun state nature reserve, the Ukok no-take zone and the Belukha mountain; the totalarea of specially protected natural sites and object makes up no less than 20481.5 square kilometres that comprises about 22.04% of the total republic area.

Here a traveller can give scope to his or her imagination. The mysteries of Altai are waiting for you...

The Altai Republic  is  a subject of the Russian Federation.

The capital is the city of Gorno-Altaysk.

Was founded in June 1, 1922.

Borders with the Republics of Tuva and Khakassia, Altai krai and Kemerovo oblast as well as with China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan.

The population is about 200 thousand people.


Altai, due to its geopolitical location (in the middle of Eurasia, at the meeting point of several natural zones and cultural worlds) through different historical eras has united different cultures, ethnic groups, arts and religion, was the witness of how a whole range of nations and civilizations appeared, developed, flourished and fell in internal wars.

The Stone age— according to archeological data people settled in the valleys between the Altai mountains as far as at the dawn of the stone age, about 1.5 million years ago. That is the approximate age of the world-famous Ulalinskaya settlement discovered in Gorno-Altaysk.  

The Paleometal age is famous for burials and settlements of Afanasevo and Karakol cultures. At that period the Altai tribes turn from appropriating farming patterns – hunting, foraging and fishing – to producing ones; they start to breed horses, sheep, cattle; step by step the hoe farming is developed. Archeological data testify that the inhabitants of that distant age smelted ore and produced weapons, instruments of labour, household objects, jewellery and other art objects made of copper, bronze, gold as well as stone, ceramics, horn, felt and wood.

The Iron age  was the time for the culture of the Scythian type in the Altai; it is connected, first of all, to the Pazyryk culture monuments. In barrows of the given period one can meet, as a rule, metal caulkers, knifes, mirrors, torcs, bar bits, buckles. In permafrost burial mounds leather, felt, wooden and fabric objects have been preserved as well as embalmed bodies that became the world-wide sensations (the most famous of those are Pazyryk burial mounds and Ukok upland findings). The Pazyryk culture was transformed into the Hunn-Sarmatian one, that is also represented by burial mounds, settlements, sites, sanctuaries and production centres. It became the exact basis for the population of the Turkic times that was formed in the Altai in VI – X centuries.

The Turkic times. The most famous monuments of this time are burial mounds and funeral complexes. A special place between the monuments of those days is taken by pertoglyphs – the cave paintings that give us much knowledge about everyday life of that period. One of the most significant achievements of the Turkic culture was the development of the Runic alphabet that is known today under the name of the Old Turkic script. It was widespread between the Khaganate tribes (due to the Turki nationhood). Perhaps this was the reason for the scientific branch – altaistics as well as the notion of the “Altaic language family” to appear in the international science. There are three large groups there: the Japanese-Korean, the Tungusic and the Turkic-Mongolian ones.  

Altai enters into the Russian state. Twelve Altai Zaisans gathered in the Yelo settlements and made their historical choice in Russia's favour, 'wishing not to be forced by the Qing army to come under their power, they asked to take them into the Russian empire'. That's how Altai took Russian citizenship. Those events began in 1756 and finished only in 1869 when boundary signs between on the Russian-Chinese borders were establishes in Altai. July 1, 1917 the first local government body was created for the Altai people, that is, the Altai mountains Duma. The final stage of the history of the Gorny Altai was the transformation on July 3, 1991 the Gorno-Altai Autonomous Oblast into the Gorno-Altai Soviet Socialist Republic within the RSFSR.  

On February 8, 1992 the Gorno-Altai SSR was renamed into the Gorny Altai Republic, and since May 7, 1992 it has been called by its present name – the Altai Republic.

Gegrafic location, natural resources, climate

The Altai Republic is situated at the very middle of Eurasia, in the south of Western Siberia. It takes the Russian part of the Altai mountain system (Gorny Altai) with the area of 92 902 km; the woods comprise 47% of the Republic territory; it outstretches for 400 km in longitudinal direction at most and for 360 km in latitudinal direction.

The climate of the Altai Republic is extremely continental, with short hot summers and long freezing winters.

Thus, in summer the solar radiation level in intermountain basins exceeds the rates of such southern resorts as Yalta, Batumi, Sukhumi, Sochi; the mean January temperature in the high-altitude Chuya Steppe falls to -31.7°С(with the absolute minimum of -62°С), at the same time the mean temperature at the southern end of Teletskoye lake makes up only -8.1°С. The average annual temperature in the republic ranges from -4.2°Сto +4.4°С, the average January temperature – from -5.1°Сto -24.3°С, the average temperature in July – from 14.4°Сto +18,0°С. The temperature falls as the mountains get steeper; the spread between the day and night temperature increases, and even in the hottest months tourists may need warm clothing.

The hygrographic network of the republic boasts more than 20 thousand streams with total length of 60 thousand km and about 7 thousand lakes with total area of more than 700 square kilometres. The largest rivers, the Katun and the Biya, conflue and form the Ob – one of the largest Syberian rivers. The largest lake is Teletskoye with water surface area of 230.8 square kilometres and maximum depth of 325 metres. The potential ground water resources are estimated to be 22000 thousand cubic metres a day; there are also found some healing mineral water springs.  

Glacial fresh water resources are of no less importance. The total ice volume of measured Altai glaciers reaches 57 cubic kilometres. The largest glaciers are: the Bolshoy Taldurinsky – 35 square kilometres; the Mensu – 21 square kilometre, the Sofijsky – 17 square kilometres, the Bolshoy Maashey – 16 square kilometres.  

The plant resources of the republic comprise more than 2 thousand plant species with 200 species of endemics that are met only in the Altai mountains.

The total gross resources of medicinal plants make up about 500 thousand tons; of exploitable ones – hundreds of thousands tons. Many relict and endemic plants are entered into the endangered-species list.

The fauna of the Altai Republic is represented by 80 mammal, 44 fish, 7 reptile and 2 amphibian species as well as a large group of invertebrates. 72 animal species are entered into the Red Book of the Altai Republic.


Industrial companies are mainly located in the city of Gorno-Altaisk. Timber, woodworking, light industry as well as food processing and textile industries are of the greatest importance for the republic. There are also mining and ferrous metallurgy enterprises there. The tourism industry, which bears a great promise for the region, has been developing recently. The Altai territory is diverse and varied in the uniqueness of natural landscapes that have been preserved here as well asin the scope of cultural and historical heritage that allows us to develop  numerous types of tourism  here, that have recently attracted a large number of vacationers and tourists.

The country's industry is represented by such branches as food processing, light industry, building materials industry, mining and nonferrous metallurgy. Those are mainly small and medium-sized enterprises.

Food industry produces bread and bakery products, sausages and smoked meats, cheeses, butter,canned  fruits and vegetables, various wines and soft drinks.

Light industry produces cotton fabric, curtain and lace cloth, shoes and garments.

Forestry and wood-working industry produes workable timber, lumber, millwork, furniture and various souvenirs.

Construction Industry: prefabricated concrete structures, brick, granite and marble decorative tiles.

Mining industry: mercury, gold, tungsten-molybdenic concentrate, jewelry. In Gorno-Altaisk The printery works operate in Gorno-Altaysk on a regular basis  


The main branch of the republic in agriculture is livestock. Is is represented by  the following branches: sheep, goat, horse, dairy and beef cattle breeding, beekeeping. The antler reindeer breeding is of particular importance.

The number of deer heads in the republic exceeded 38.4 thousand animals, and sika deer herd  reached the number of 4.500 heads . 27.0 tons of canned deer and red deer antlers are produced in the republic,  Remaining the main export product, and providing foreign exchange earnings to the republic, antler production it  is  of great demand in the markets of Southeast Asia.

The Altai population has long been involved in sheep farming. Sheep are bred in 7 districts. Goat breeding is also well developed in the republic. After many years of breeding a home breed of fiber goats appeared, which is called  the Gorno-Altai breed

The Altai Republic is one of the traditional high quality cheeses producers  in the country. The high-altitudelpine meadows are akin in their grass structure to the alpine grasses and makes the production of a recognized world cheese — the "Swiss". According to experts, it has little competition among the best food of man. Altay cheesesarenutritious, delicious, fragrant, easily and arequickly digested.

The Altai beekeepers annually produce thousands of tons of fragranthoney. Mountain honey far exceeds in its taste the steppe one, as the main part of the honey is collected from flowering alpine meadows and taiga areaswith  rich medicinal flora and therefore Altai honey is largely n usedfor  medicinal purposes.


The automobile transport is virtually the only means for cargo and passenger transfer in the republic.

The  public motorway network is represented by federal and regional motor roads with the total length of 3273 km; the 541 of which is taken by the federal M-52 highway called Chuisky tract that goes from Novosibirsk to Biysk and then to the Mongolia border; 2732 km are represented by territorial roads. 2700 km (82%) of the public motorways are hard-surfaced.

The Altai republic has the highest rate of roads for 1000 citizens – 13.2 km. 381 bridges of total length of 7471 m operate in the motorway network.

The federal road Chuisky tract crosses the republic from the north to the southeast; it passes through 6 regions out of 10. Bordering three states (Mongolia, China, Kazakhstan) and four regions (the Altai krai, Tuva and Khakassia) the republic as the Federation subject is connected by the Chuisky tract to the Altai krai and Mongolia. The promising pass to China through Kosh-Agach – Argamdzhi and Kanas crossing, the development of Western Siberia regions economical relations with Mongolia raise the status of the Chuisky tract. Apart from this, the problem of the Republic reaching out to the neighbouring states and regions, the development of economical bonds poses the task of expanding the federal roads network by the means of Kosh-Agach – Argamdzhi – the China border road as well as those between Gorno-Altaysk – Tashtagol – Abakan, Cherga – Besh-Ozek – Ust-Kan – Talda – the Kazakhstan border.  The first order of priority for roads of these directions is establiches in contracts, agreements, reports of intentions for developing mutually beneficial economical, social and cultural cooperation between the Altai republic and the Chinese XUAR Altai region as well the Kemerovo oblast administration and the eastern Kazakhstan oblast of Kazakhstan. The Biysk – Turachak – Artybash highway of republican status with the length of 125 km provides the connection between the Turachak region with its timber cutting industry and woodworking enterprises in Biysk as well as the railway station in Biysk. Apart from that, the road  is important for the tourist enterprises on Teletskoye lake. The highway Inya – Ust-Koksa – Ust-Kan – Tuyekta with the length of 344 provides the connection between Ust-Koksinsky and Ust-Kansky regions to the  Chuisky tract. The Ust-Sema – Chemal – Yelanda – Kuyus highway connects the right bank Katun regions to the centre of the republic – Gorno-Altaysk. The road passes through some difficult environment. 

The republic has no railroad network of its own; the closest railway station is situated in Biysk at a distance of about 100 km from Gorno-Altaysk. The airline service is nowadays represented by the Gorny Altai aircraft enterprise. There are 3 operating airports in the republic (in Gorno-Altaysk, Ust-Koksa and Kosh-Agach settlements) and several helicopter landing sites.

The Gorno-Altai airport is one of the most important transportation hubs of the republic, it's not for nothing that it bears the name of the Altai mountains airgates. The Gorno-Altai airport receives such aircraft as Tu-204, Boeing-737, -757, -767, Аirbus-319, -320, -330. It is planned to establish direct regular and charter flights to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod and other Russian cities.

Types of tourism in the region

  • Healthcare
  • Cultural and educational
  • Religious
  • Active
  • Hunting and fishing
  • Eco-tourism

Places of interest

  • Ulalinskaya ancient encampment
  • The Republic local history museum named after A.V. Anokhin
  • The Altai natural reserve  
  • The Katun natural reserve
  • Belukha natural park
  • Ukok no-take zone natural park
  • Uch-Enmek natural park
  • The church of venerable Makarius of Altai
  • The national drama theatre named after P.V. Kuchiyak
  • Manzherok mountain skiing complex

Famous natives

  • Gurkin Grigoriy Ivanovich (1870—1937) — an Altai painter
  • Nikolay Ulagashev (1861—1846) — an Altai folk storyteller
  • Kuchiyak Pavel Vasilyevich (1897—1943) — an Altai Soviet poet, playwright, the founder of the Altai Soviet literature
  • Kalkin Aleksey Grigoryevich (1925—1998) — an Altai folk storyteller, the 'kai' guttural singer
  • Lazar Vasilyevich Kokyshev(1933—1975) — a writer
  • Kara Maymanov (Maymanov Nikolay Amyrchinovich  — an actor, the USSR honoured artist, the Altai Republic honoured artist, the artist of the Altai Republic National theatre.
  • Karagyz Yalbakova (Yalbakova Yelizaveta Chankyshevna) (1946) — a singer, the RSFSR honoured artist, the Lenin Komsomol Prize of Altai laureate
  • Konchev Vladimir Yegorovich (1954) — a composer, the RF honoured art worker, the Altai Republic honoured artist, the RF 'Dusha Rossii' prize laureate
  • Balina Anna Chekcheyevna (1938) — a singer, the RF honoured artist, the Altai Republic  national theatre artist, the RSFSR honoured artist (1982), was awarded a medal

'For labour merit'

  • Valeriy Kommunistovich Kinikov (1957) — the RF honoured artist
  • Okhrina Irina Yegorovna (1949) – the RF honoured artist, the Altai Republic honoured artist, played more than 60 roles  
  • Shinzhin Ivan (Dansypai) Boksurovich (1936) – a writer, the RF honoured cultural worker, the honoured Altai Republic storyteller, the member of the RF Unity of Writers, carried out a great amount of work on Altai storytellers, has written more than 300 scientific articles on 'kaichi' singers, compiled a series of Altai heroic eposes called Batyrlar.
  • Bediurov Brontioy Yangovyich (1947) – a writer, the RF honoured cultural worker, the People's writer of the Altai Republic, the RF honoured radio operator, has written more than 30 books in the Altai and Russian languages, a full member of the Russian philology academy, member of the Russian academy of natural sciences, the secretary of  the RF Union of Writers secretary, the  chairman of the Altai Republic Union of Writers, the RF veteran of work
  • Ortonulov Ignat Ivanovih (1933) – a graphic designer and painter, the member of the Altai Republic Union of Artists, the People's artist of the Altai Republic, the author of the Altai Republic national emblem
  • Surazakov Aleksandr Sazonovich (1948) – a historian (the ancient medieval history), a senior research worker of the Surazakov research institute history department, the chief editor of the Yevraziytsy public magazine; has more than 300 works on history and philosophy   
  • Mamadakov Amadu Vasilyevich (1976) – a theatre and film actor, a theatre director, the Altai Republic honoured artist, the G.I. Choros-Gurkin prize laureate for contribution into the Altai culture development, more than 50 theatre and film roles, works as a teacher in the Altai workshop of M.S. Shchepkin Higher Theatre School (Institute)   
  • Kalankov Madiy Kalankovich (1946) – a sportsman, the first USSR master of sport for  Greco-Roman wrestling in Gorny Altai, he won his title in 1972 in Tashkent, competing in the all-Union tournament for the USSR hero, general I. Rayamov prize. Is the founder of the Greco-Roman wrestling school in Gorny Altai.
  • Samtayev Ivan Aduchinovich (1964) – a sportsman, the USSR champion of Greco-Roman wrestling, the European champion (Athens, Greece, 1986), the World cup champion (Chicago, the USA, 1986). Russian honoured master of sports for national Russian sports. The recipient of the Order of Friendship (1997), the director of children's and youth sports school for Olypmic reserve.

Emergency phone numbers

The RF Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Altai republic headquarters, the duty officer: the universal 112 number (emergency response services universal 112 dial system), 01, 02, 03 (38822) 2-3758

The sources of information on the region tourist resources  

The ecological and tourism information centre of the Altai Republic

Phone: (913) 694-0004

Tourist and information centre 'Region 04'

Phone: (913) 690-0090, (906) 939-8140

Tourist and information centre 'Kedrogor'

Phone (38843) 2-7644, (903) 996-6108

The Russia's Ministry of Emegrency of Emergency Situations territorial bodies

The RF Ministry of Emergency Situations, the Altai republic headquarters

Phone: (38822) 2-3758

Address: Gorno-Altaysk, Kommunistichesky avenue, 115/1

The hotline for fire safety technical regulations (38822) 2-9417

Operational planning department (38822) 2-9412

Press service: (38822) 2-7390

State Inspection of Small Vehicles (38822) 6-4696