Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

Many people go to the Karachay-Cherkess Republic in winter to relax at the famous ski resort of Dombay. However, it is interesting to travel around these regions even in warm seasons, visiting historical sites and natural attractions. We have collected several places where you can enjoy the beauty of the Caucasus without snow.

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

How to get there

Travel through Karachay-Cherkessia usually starts from the neighboring region – Stavropol Territory. It is there, in the city of Mineralnye Vody, that the nearest major airport is located, where there are direct flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg. The cost of one-way tickets from the capital starts from 4,500 rubles*, and from the city on the Neva – from 3,700*.

Where to stay

Three-star hotel “Mountain House” (rating 8.2) – from 3,100 per night*.

Guest house “First Apartment House Building A” (score 9.0) – from 3,100 per night*.

Andersen Hotel (rating 8.6) – from 4,700 rubles per night*.

Hotel Mairi Park Hotel (rating 9.4) – from 10,000 rubles per night*.

Five-star hotel Arkhyz Royal Resort & Spa (score 10) – from 19,500 rubles per day*.

How to move around the region

Many sights of the Republic are located in mountainous areas remote from cities. Therefore, the schedule of regular bus routes that run between villages can significantly limit the possibilities of movement. In such conditions, it is more convenient to call a taxi or hire a driver with his own car. You can also rent a car and drive yourself. However, keep in mind that driving on mountain serpentine roads is not easy.

Honey Falls

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

In this beautiful place, five waterfalls of varying heights and power fall from the rocks at once. Ancient legends say that long ago there were many beehives in the stone cavities. One day the Echki Bash River overflowed its banks and they fell into the water. According to another version, the streams of waterfalls flowed directly through the hives and became sweet due to the fact that honey got into them.

Today Honey Falls are very popular among tourists, because the infrastructure around the natural miracle is actively developing. The area nearby is landscaped, guests can leisurely walk along the rocks, climb stairs and stand on bridges to get a better look at the splashes of water, feel cool on a hot day or take spectacular pictures.

Active recreation lovers can spend time in the extreme park and ride over the gorge on a zipline, as well as take part in a real horse trek. Afterwards, you should have a snack at a local restaurant and stay overnight at the camp site of the same name, choosing a room with views of the waterfalls.


Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

In winter, cable cars take skiers to the top of the mountain, and in the warm season they turn into excursion transport. Cabins hovering above the slopes offer views of blue mountains with white tops, alpine meadows and serpentine roads. One of the most picturesque cable routes is located in the Arkhyz resort. It is not yet as popular as Dombay, so it is relatively sparsely populated, and the infrastructure is new.

It is better to stay in modern cozy hotels in Arkhyz for a few days to wander around the surrounding area and restore your health with the help of the cleanest mountain air. There are historical sights and natural beauties – lakes, meadows, waterfalls – which you can walk to on your own or book a personal excursion. In clear weather, some points on the routes offer majestic views of the double-headed Elbrus. Active guests may be interested in jeep tours and horseback riding. And people who prefer a more relaxing holiday should pay attention to spa hotels with thermal springs.

Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

Half an hour’s drive from the village of Arkhyz there is a unique scientific site that anyone can visit. This is one of the largest domestic astronomical centers for ground-based observations of objects in the Universe. The glass diameter of the Large Alt-Azimuth Telescope (BTA) is 6 m, making it the largest in Eurasia. It is installed at the foot of Mount Pastukhov, far from the electric light of large cities. Observatory staff organize excursions during which tourists inspect the equipment, get acquainted with the work of astronomers and visit the planetarium. There is also a special outdoor night tour to observe real stars and other celestial objects through a telescope. To reserve a place in a group, you must call the phone number listed on the observatory’s official website.

Arkhyz settlement

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

One of the most notable historical sights of Karachay-Cherkessia is located not far from Arkhyz. The settlement of the 10th–12th centuries is the ruins of an ancient settlement in the open air. In ancient times, there was a rich and developed city of Magas, through which the Great Silk Road passed. However, as a result of Mongol raids, it was destroyed. The foundations and remains of the observatory, residential buildings, and outbuildings have been preserved on a vast territory. At the entrance to the settlement there is a stone statue of a warrior – a menhir.

The Alans (ancient tribes who lived in this territory) professed Christianity and erected temples in the Byzantine manner. Scientists believe that there were more than ten religious buildings on the territory of the historical reserve. However, today only three of them can be seen, which are designated as northern, middle and southern.

Thermal resort Teberda

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

If you drive from Kislovodsk to Dombay, then along the road you will notice a sign to the city of Teberda. Many ski tourists have never stopped here, and yet these places are so beautiful that they have inspired more than one poet. For example, the blue waters of the Teberda River were sung by the popular bard Yuri Vizbor.

In the warm season, we recommend coming to the resort of the same name to improve your health and breathe the air of a unique ecosystem: due to its location, Teberda has a special climate. In summer, the average temperature rarely exceeds +15 °C. Teberda is famous for its thermal springs and is recognized as one of the centers of balneological treatment in the country. Famous sanatoriums are located both in the city itself and 100 km away from it towards Cherkessk.

Get to know the region’s flora and fauna at the Teberda Nature Reserve Zoo and Museum, then go for a walk along one of the eco-tours.

Baduk Lakes

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

One of the easiest tourist routes along the Teberda Nature Reserve is the path to the Baduk Lakes. An adult can walk it in about six to seven hours in both directions. However, children and people with disabilities will have a difficult time on the last section, which runs along a pile of sharp stones – a kurumnik.

The road to the lake winds among mossy stones and tall tree trunks, sometimes climbing and sometimes descending the slopes. And finally, it leads to a cascade of three mountain lakes. The turquoise water is so clear that in some places you can see the bottom through it. Trout lives in one of the lakes, which sometimes swims straight to tourists. It’s cold to swim here even in summer, because the water is constantly renewed and practically does not heat up. The trail to the Baduk Lakes is marked with signs; entry to it is paid and limited in time so that all tourists have time to return before dark.

Jamagat Narzans and the ruins of the old village

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

Another route of the Teberda Nature Reserve leads to the Dzhamagat Narzans – springs of mineral water gushing out of the ground. Due to the high concentration of iron, the water in them is colored a characteristic red color, so you must drink it with extreme caution.

You can get to the place either on foot or by car. Narzan is located in a picturesque gorge, along the bottom of which a stormy mountain river flows, through which a bridge is built. The ruins of the village of Dzhemat are also located here. During the time of M. Yu. Lermontov it was a prosperous and proud settlement, but at the beginning of the 20th century the plague came here. Those who were able to survive left and never returned. And residents of the surrounding villages say that they see ghosts here.

Lake Tumanly-Kel

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

This is one of the most popular weekend getaways among locals. It is located on the border with Abkhazia.

As a rule, people travel to the lake by car along the former Military-Sukhumi road, which in itself is very picturesque. This section of the route passes through the territory of the reserve, so to travel you need to pay a fee at the checkpoint. Already at the approaches to the lake, a fantastic view opens up of the contrast of green slopes and sharp snow-white peaks of the Caucasus. And on the way you can look at the low but powerful Kitche Muruju waterfall.

Unlike many mountain lakes, the water of Tumanly-Kol has a cloudy green tint. But trout live in it, and there are so many fish that they can be seen with the naked eye. On the shore of the reservoir there are areas for beach recreation and barbecue. The border zone is very close, so at the beginning of the journey at the checkpoint you must request a residence permit.

Shoan Temple

Places in Karachay-Cherkessia where skis are not needed

On the ledges of the high cliff of Mount Shoana, a Christian temple built in the Byzantine style sheltered from the wind. The first mentions of it date back to the 10th century. Scientists believe that the architects copied the appearance of the temple from the Arkhyz settlement. Today it is not operational, but there are icons inside and you can pray.

You can get to the village named after Kosta Khetagurova, where the temple is located, by a car with good cross-country ability, but the last two kilometers of the road will have to be covered on foot, climbing the steps to the top. The difficult climb will be rewarded with a dizzying panorama of the surrounding rocks and the valley with the village, which opens from the gazebo located near the church.

*Prices are current at the time of publication.

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