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Altai Republic

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Altai Republic

Altai Republic Banner.jpg

For other places with the same name, see Altai (disambiguation).

Altai Republic
Altai Republic in Russia.svg
Flag of Altai Republic.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Gorno-Altaysk
Government Russian republic
Currency Russian ruble (RUB)
Area 92,600km²
Population 206,168
Language Russian, Altay
Religion Russian Orthodox 27.6%, Non-Religious Spirituality 25%, Athiest 14%, Other 20.4%
Electricity 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
Time Zone UTC+6
Mt Belukha, the highest peak of Altai Mountains, on the border with Kazakhstan

Altai (Russian: Респу́блика Алта́й rees-POOB-leek-uh uhl-TIGH) [1] is a republic in Western Siberia, which has an amazing variety of landscapes: from boundless steppes to impassable taiga forests.


Very little is known about the region. The people are mainly ethnic Altai's, a Turkic related ethnicity, following a wide diversification of religions such as Russian Orthodoxy, Shamanism, Buddhism, thus having the honour of being Russia's most religiously diversified regions.

The modern Altai economy is based largely upon agriculture, but nowadays the tourism industry has underwent an exponential growth. The Altai Mountains are the highest in Siberia. The route goes through the spots of Roerichs expeditions, through southern Altai. The Altai Republic and nearby Altai Krai were very popular hunting, fishing and adventure tourist sites during Soviet times. The region is popular for rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, horse riding, fishing and hunting.

Despite the rapid growth of tourism, the region is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped places of Russia. However, if HDI is taken into account (0.748), it remains as one of the richest places of Asia.



  • Gorno-Altaisk, Ust-Kan, Shebalino, Chemal, Choya, Turochak


  • Onguday, Ust-Ulagan


Katun River
  • Ust-Koksa, Kosh-Agach


Altai Republic has no more cities; the major towns are as follows:


So far there are three big congregations of private campsites, rest bases and guesthouses, majority of them in the north, where the climate is warmer:

  • Northern shores of Teletskoye lake close to Iogach and Artybash villages.
  • Complex of campsites along the Katun river, known as 'Biryuzovaya Katun', Бирюзовая Катунь, all accessible from Chuysky Highway, which runs parallel to the river.
  • Riverside campsites continue south with tributary Chemal and are mostly concentrated in Chemal village.

To get there tourists buy tours in big cities or call to the owners beforehand and then arrive. One can try their luck and certainly will find a stay on the spot.

Other destinations[edit]

Lake Kucherla
  • Golden Mountains of Altai — UNESCO World Heritage Site
    • Altaisky Nature Reserve
    • Katunsky Nature Reserve
    • Teletskoye Lake
  • Lake Aya
  • Lake Manzherok
  • 77km away from the capital at the village Kamlak there is the Gorno-Altaisk Botanical Garden situated on the unique natural corner Shishkular-Katail-Chisty lug (Шишкулар-Катаил-Чистый луг). It is a department of Russian Academy of Science and a curious place to visit. The collected plants range 1535 species from Altai, Siberia, Far East and even North America. [2]


The Altai are a Turkic ethnic group closely related to Kazakhs and speak their own language of Altai. However, Russian is spoken nearly universally.

Get in[edit]

Altai Republic has no railway and only one mid-sized airport in Gorno-Altaisk. The best way is to get marshrutka or bus from Biysk or Barnaul. Taxi from Biysk is quite cheap too.

Get around[edit]

Marshrutka is the most common way of public travel there. It is some kind of bigger taxi, which goes once it gets full. Hitchiking is quite common too. Sometimes you can stop even a child on a horse.


Border between Altai Republic and Altai Krai
  • KM723-732 from Novosibirsk: A series of ancient (10,000BC) rock paintings and carvings can be seen on the main road bypassing through Altai Republic.




Eat at kafes, it is cheap and quite good. Kafe is common all around Russia and can be seen even in small villages.


Stay safe[edit]

  • Be aware of ticks, mainly in summer.
  • The region is prone to earth-quakes.

Stay healthy[edit]

Tap water is considered unsafe for drinking, and should be avoided. Since being one of Russia's poorest regions, only 60% of the population have access to safe drinking water. Sanitize all water, and drink only water that is bottled.

Hospitals are well equipped and the staff are well trained, but quality health care in Altai is virtually non-existent here. Most of the hospitals are equipped with neglected technology, and serious operations are seemingly impossible to do here.

Get out[edit]

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