5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

A good vacation means a change of usual surroundings. You can see the oriental flavor without getting a visa and without exhausting yourself with expensive flights by choosing one of the most vibrant and original Caucasian regions of Russia – the Chechen Republic – as your destination. Still in doubt and monitor tickets to Dubai or Istanbul for the May holidays? We have at least five reasons why you will change your mind!

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Photo: © Idel Linkova

How to get there:
By plane to Grozny. The cost of a one-way air ticket in May from Moscow is 5,500 rubles. You can also get there by train, a ticket costs from 3,300 rubles, or by car. You will spend about a day driving from Moscow to Grozny. We recommend spending the night along the way, for example, in Rostov-on-Don or Volgograd.

Where to live:
In Grozny you can find housing for any budget, from the five-star “Grozny City” to modest and inexpensive Daymohk, “Zama” or the pleasant “Rus”, located in neighboring Gudermes.

How to get around:
In cities – by taxi. Between settlements – by regular bus. To the sights in the mountains – by personal/rented car or as part of organized groups.

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Reason No. 1: alpine meadows without a visa and overpayments

The Caucasus is beautiful at any time of the year, but in spring it is especially colorful. The parade of bright colors and aromas begins with the blossoming of fruit trees, which already in April are covered with pink and creamy fluffy clouds. Then the flowering from the cities and villages in the lowlands rises higher to the mountains, by mid-May changing the landscape here from snow-white to riotous rainbow. You will find the most amazing views here, among the majestic Caucasus mountains.

A real gem is like a shining treasure waiting for the traveler at an altitude of 1854 meters above sea level. Lake Kezenoy-Am warms its turquoise waters under the mountain sun on the border of Chechnya and Dagestan. In spring it is especially transparent, saturated with abundant melt water. The surrounding hills are excellent places for trekking. For example, in less than an hour from the lake you can walk to the open-air museum – the ancient settlement of Khoy.

On the lake itself you can rent a picnic gazebo with a beautiful view and go boating. Particularly brave tourists can fly over the water on a zipline that is almost a kilometer long. Just keep in mind: you will have to repeat the path twice; you can only go in the opposite direction along the trolley. Swimming in the lake is prohibited, and the icy mountain water is unlikely to give you a strong desire to take a dip. 

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Nihaloy waterfalls
In this shady, cool place, time seems to freeze to the sound of dozens of falling streams of water. Flowering fruit trees lean over the rushing stream, like the backdrop to a fantasy film. The cascade of waterfalls near the village of Nihaloy is a great place to relax your soul; you can spend the whole day here and not get bored. If you don’t want to leave at all, there is a tourist base at guests’ disposal. Grab a bite to eat at a local cafe or bring a picnic and sit in one of the cozy gazebos right by the water. Entrance to the trail to the waterfalls is paid: 100 rubles per person.

The modern ski complex “Veduchi” can easily compete with world resorts in terms of infrastructure development. But so far there are not many tourists here, especially in the off-season, so you can enjoy the bird’s-eye view of the flowering mountain slopes with pleasure and without queues. The excursion fare for the chairlift includes 1 descent and 1 ascent (400 rubles for an adult ticket, 300 for children from 6 to 13 years old). In about a comfortable 10-minute ride, you will descend to the observation deck, where you can not only admire the views, but also take a photo on a chair from the Game of Thrones. Photos are free, and the entourage sword will be taken out by the funicular caretaker upon request.

Reason No. 2: Eid al-Adha – festive mood as a bonus

Ramadan is a holy month for all Muslims. For thirty days, believers do not eat or drink from sunrise to sunset. This year, fasting begins on April 1 and ends on May 2, the second most important Muslim holiday, Eid al-Adha. According to tradition, on this day people forgive all insults, give each other gifts, and distribute sweets to children. It’s like a sudden spring New Year, which even a tourist of a different religion can touch. Do not refuse under any circumstances if local residents invite you to visit to celebrate the holiday! To enhance the festive mood, we recommend visiting one of the mosques.

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

“Heart of Chechnya” in Grozny
This mosque, named after the first President of the Republic, Akhmat Kadyrov, is truly the very heart of Grozny. Walk through the park around the huge building with tall sharp minarets, past the fountain, climb the marble steps to the main entrance and go inside. If your clothing does not comply with the dress code of the mosque, use the special colorful capes that can be selected behind the screen at the entrance. By the way, unlike the vast majority of mosques, here women tourists can enter through the same entrance as men to walk on a soft carpet under a huge vault in the main hall. Barefoot, of course.

“Pride of Muslims” in Shali
The beautiful snow-white mosque, like a fairy-tale palace, opens up to the gaze of a stunned tourist who has entered the “concrete jungle” of Shali. “The Pride of Muslims” is named so for a reason – it is the largest mosque in Russia and Europe. It can accommodate up to 30 thousand worshipers, and in the surrounding area – up to 70 thousand. But her beauty is no less impressive. Anyone can go inside the white miracle. The traditional rule applies here: women can only visit the second floor, entering the mosque separately from men. However, from the balcony the view is no worse, and you can see the pattern of the carpet in every detail.

“Mother’s Heart” in Argun
The architecture of this mosque is very different from classical oriental motifs. The futuristic building vaguely resembles the Valencian City of Arts and Sciences, and the minarets look like rockets ready to rush into space. The name of the mosque is a sign of special respect for the mother of the head of the Chechen region Ramzan Kadyrov – Aimani Kadyrova.

Reason #3: Architecture

Museums and historical buildings are beautiful at any time of the year, but in the spring it’s especially pleasant to wander through city squares, streets and parks. While there is no sweltering heat and the sights are not flooded with schoolchildren on vacation, all the beauty seems to belong to you.

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Photo: © Idel Linkova

Ushkaloi towers
Near the village of Ushkaloy in the gorge of the Argun Gorge, tourists will be greeted by unique twin towers. The guard idols silently watch through the window loopholes for travelers in the narrow gorge, and at their foot the muddy blue Chutney-Argun seethes. Just above the towers is a tourist area with a popular set of attractions in the region. A restaurant, a swing over an abyss, a glass bridge with a transparent floor right above the river. And for the bravest travelers there is a suspension bridge trembling in the wind across the gorge. A great place to take a break on the way to the Veduchi ski resort and take some beautiful shots. The towers, although restored enough to be considered new, give an idea of ​​how difficult life was in this mountainous region, when every visiting traveler could be considered an enemy.

Another partial remake, a must-see, is located on the outskirts of the village of Itum-Kale. The Phakoch museum complex was recreated relatively recently – in 2010. But at its core are the ruins of historical buildings. Ancient towers, a mill and outbuildings on this territory were erected in the Middle Ages (scientists suggest no later than the 12th century). Now in the museum on the territory you can see exhibitions with ancient utensils discovered here during excavations, including admiring a hatchet that is about 1000 years old. Entrance to the complex – 50 rubles.

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

City of the Dead Tsoi-Pede
Necropolis “City of the Sun” – a series of kashkovs (ancient family crypts), located in the upper reaches of the Argun Gorge. To get to the burial grounds, you will have to overcome a rather grueling path up the mountain. By the way, this necropolis, according to Forbes, is one of the most inaccessible Russian attractions – remember this on the way up. Once you get there, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding area and the opportunity to learn a thing or two about burial practices. The bones in such crypts are not buried in the ground; this is the ancient tradition of the peoples who lived here. Therefore, if you look inside through the window, you can see them. Tsoi-Pede is located in the border zone, so when going to it, do not forget your Russian passport. Beyond the nearest mountain ridge is Georgia.

The ancient village of Khoy
The village of Khoy has been decently restored and practically rebuilt over the past few years. This open-air museum can be reached on foot from Lake Kezenoy-Am. “Ho” in Chechen means guards, and “Khoy” means a settlement of guards. And indeed, a series of houses clinging to the rocks is like a disguised guard, designed to protect the territory of the lake from those who dare to come from beyond the mountains.

Reason #4: Safety

Many people do not associate Chechnya with tourism at all, but it’s time to destroy stereotypes. Every year a lot of budgetary funds and private investments are invested in the region’s infrastructure. Roads and good hotels are being built here, parks and trekking trails are being improved, and historical monuments are being restored. And the lifting of Covid restrictions in the region this spring makes tourism here even more enjoyable and accessible.

A tourist in Chechnya is a welcome guest, and at the highest state level, so local hospitality is not only a historical tradition, but also a legislative act. However, when going to Chechnya, remember that any guest should follow the rules and respect traditions.

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Photo: © Idel Linkova

Dress code
Men and boys over 10 years old wear long trousers here even on the hottest summer day, no wrestling shoes or bare torso. The T-shirt should at least cover the shoulders. The requirements for women are the same.

Chechnya is a Muslim region, and you cannot buy alcohol in any local store, and you can count on one hand the restaurants where you can order a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. If you brought a couple of bottles of alcohol with you, do not drink it in public places. 

Perhaps, compliance with generally accepted rules of ethics and morality is enough. Excessive displays of tenderness between lovers are not welcome here.

Reason #5: Food

It is almost impossible to get to know the culture and traditions of the region without trying the local cuisine. And even though seasonal fruits are not yet ripe in the spring, the first greenery – wild garlic – becomes an excellent addition to many dishes. And what pies and salads!

5 reasons to go to Chechnya in late spring

Pork, for the same reasons as alcohol, is almost never found here, but the local lamb is excellent. One of the most traditional dishes of the region can be called zhizhig-galnash. This is a hearty classic: meat and boiled dumplings. These are dumplings, only “separately”. And also chepalgash – something between a pie and a thick pancake with curd filling.

*Prices valid at time of publication.

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Main photo: © Idel Linkova

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