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'''Dagestan''' is a region of [[Russia]] in the [[North Caucasus]] bordering [[Chechnya]] and [[Georgia (country)|Georgia]] to the west, [[Stavropol Krai]] and [[Kalmykia]] to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, and [[Azerbaijan]] to the South. Due to its own instability and its proximity to Chechnya, Dagestan is an unsafe travel destination, but travel is possible for the intrepid.
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{{pagebanner|North Caucasus Banner.jpg}}
 +
 
 +
{{warningbox| Due to ongoing sporadic violence in Dagestan, travelers should be aware of potential risks and exercise caution when visiting this region. It is a good idea to consult your embassy when planning a trip here. }}
 +
{{quickbar
 +
|image=Гуниб.JPG
 +
|location=Dagestan in Russia.svg
 +
|flag=Flag of Dagestan.svg
 +
|capital=[[Makhachkala]]
 +
|government=Russian Republic
 +
|currency=Russian ruble ('''RUB''')
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|area=50,300km²
 +
|population=2,910,249
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|language=Russian, Aghul, Avar, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Dargwa, Kumyk, Lezgian, Lak, Nogai, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tat, Tsakhur
 +
|religion=Muslim 83%, Non-Religious Spirituality 9%, Russian Orthodox 2.4%, Caucasian folk religion 2%, Atheist 2%, Unaffiliated Christian 1%, Other 8%
 +
|electricity=220V, 50Hz (European plug)
 +
|timezone=UTC+3
 +
}}
 +
 
 +
'''Dagestan''' ([[Russian phrasebook|Russian]]: Респу́блика Дагеста́н ''rees-POOB-lee-kuh dah-gee-STAHN'') is a region of [[Russia]] in the [[North Caucasus]] bordering [[Chechnya]] and [[Georgia (country)|Georgia]] to the west, [[Stavropol Krai]] and [[Kalmykia]] to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, and [[Azerbaijan]] to the South.
  
 
==Regions==
 
==Regions==
  
 
==Cities==
 
==Cities==
 +
* [[Makhachkala]] — Capital and largest city.
 +
* [[Buynaksk]] — In central Dagestan in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
 +
* [[Derbent]] — 5,000 year old walled city and [[UNESCO World Heritage List|UNESCO World Heritage site]] on the Caspian in southern Dagestan; a must visit for any traveler in Dagestan.
 +
* [[Khasavyurt]] — A relatively large city (for the region) near the border with [[Chechnya]]
 +
* [[Tindi]] — A small picturesque aul with a historic minaret in the mountains of southwestern Dagestan, near the [[Georgia (country)|Georgian]] and Chechen borders; probably not a safe area for travel.
 +
* [[Kizlyar]] — A city near the border with Chechnya and Stavropol krai (region).
 +
* [[Yuzhno-Sukhokumsk]] — A city located in northwest Dagestan.
 +
* Izberbash - A city south of Makhachkala, midway to Derbent. Beside the Caspian beach, you can see Pushkin Tao, a mountain which resembles the face of the Author Pushkin.
 +
* Kaspisk - Another resort city on the Caspian sea. Here you can see the only remaining Ekranoplan (a soviet huge boat designed for the Caspian sea).
 +
*Kizilyurt - A good hub to visit Chirkey hydroelectric Dam, which is the biggest in Dagestan. It forms a beautiful lake on the Sulak river.
  
* [[Makhachkala]] — capital and largest city
+
==Other destinations==
* [[Buynaksk]] — in central Dagestan in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains
+
*Dagestansky Nature Reserve — comprised of the marshy Kizlyar Bay region (a bird watcher's paradise) and the desert Sarykum Sand Desert region
* [[Derbent]] — 5,000 year old walled city and [[UNESCO World Heritage List|UNESCO World Heritage site]] on the Caspian in southern Dagestan; a must visit for any traveler in Dagestan
 
* [[Khasavyurt]] — a relatively large city (for the region) near the border with [[Chechnya]]
 
* [[Tindi]] — a small picturesque aul with a historic minaret in the mountains of southwestern Dagestan, near the [[Georgia (country)|Georgian]] and Chechen borders; probably not a safe area for travel
 
* [[Kizlyar]] — a city near the border with Chechnya and Stavropol krai (region)
 
* [[Yuzhno-Sukhokumsk]] — a city located is northwest Dagestan
 
  
==Other destinations==
+
*Sulak Canyon - an amazing landscape of Sulak river and Chirkey dam/lake. The nature is very intact and stunning. If you are lucky you can see many eagles flying around. The region can be reached by car and is not far from Makhachkala.
  
*Dagestansky Nature Reserve — comprised of the marshy Kizlyar Bay region (a bird watcher's paradise) and the desert Sarykum Sand Desert region
+
*Pushkin Tao - A mountain that is said to look like famous russian author; Pushkin Tao is close to city of Izber bash, south of Dagestan.
  
 
==Understand==
 
==Understand==
 +
Dagestan shares with its Caucasian neighbours the towering mountains of the Greater Caucasus, rushing Caucasian rivers, and spectacularly situated stone auls (mountaintop villages). But in an already diverse region, Dagestan is a wonderland of ethnic and cultural diversity. About 35 separate ethnolinguistic groups live in this [[Scotland]]-sized republic and the region contains an amazing 12 language ''families''! For all this cultural diversity, Dagestanis are fairly united in their Islamic religion — virtually all non-Russian ethnic groups are Muslim.  This is probably true since almost 32,000 people have left in a mass exit from Dagestan since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.  Many of those people were the Mountain Jews--Juhuro--who spoke Persian or one of its dialects.
 +
 +
Given its ongoing instability and relatively underdeveloped tourist infrastructure, Dagestan is certainly not a 'traditional' tourist destination and is better suited for the more adventurous traveller. With that said, coming here is definitely feasible and those who do so will be greatly rewarded by the very friendly and hospitable people, incredible natural beauty and impressive historical sites.
  
Dagestan shares with its Caucasian neighbors the towering mountains of the Greater Caucasus, rushing Caucasian rivers, and spectacularly situated stone auls (mountaintop villages). But in an already diverse region, Dagestan is a wonderland of ethnic and cultural diversity. About 35 separate ethnolinguistic groups live in this [[Scotland]]-sized republic and the region contains an amazing 12 language ''families''! For all this cultural diversity, Dagestanis are fairly united in their Islamic religion — virtually all non-Russian ethnic groups are Muslim.
+
If you'd like to catch a glimpse of Dagestani culture and beauty, check online for a copy of the late Sergei Bodrov's haunting film, Prisoner of the Mountains (Кавказский пленник), which was shot in a Dagestani mountain aul, hiring the villagers as extras.  
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
 
+
[[Makhachkala]] will almost certainly be your first destination, whether by plane from [[Moscow]], or by train via [[Rostov-on-Don]] through [[Mineralnye Vody]]. Note that security is very tight at the Makhachkala airport.
[[Makhachkala]] will almost certainly be your first destination, whether by plane from [[Moscow]], or by train via [[Rostov-on-the-Don]] through [[Mineralnye Vody]]. Note that security is very tight at the Makhachkala airport.
 
  
 
==Get around==
 
==Get around==
  
 
==Talk==
 
==Talk==
 
 
Within the 7 language families of the Dagestanian language grouping alone there are about 30 languages, many of them considered among the most difficult in the world to master. Fortunately, everyone, regardless of nationality, understands the lingua franca, [[Russian phrasebook|Russian]]. [[Azerbaijani phrasebook|Azeri]] is also widely used in the southeast Caspian region around [[Derbent]]; those who speak [[Turkish phrasebook|Turkish]] may be able to make themselves understood in this area.
 
Within the 7 language families of the Dagestanian language grouping alone there are about 30 languages, many of them considered among the most difficult in the world to master. Fortunately, everyone, regardless of nationality, understands the lingua franca, [[Russian phrasebook|Russian]]. [[Azerbaijani phrasebook|Azeri]] is also widely used in the southeast Caspian region around [[Derbent]]; those who speak [[Turkish phrasebook|Turkish]] may be able to make themselves understood in this area.
  
 
==Buy==
 
==Buy==
 
+
*Famed Dagestani rugs particularly Lezgian and Avar kilims
*Famed Dagestani rugs, likely to be absurdly cheap due to the rather chaotic situation the region is in.
 
 
*Beluga Caviar
 
*Beluga Caviar
 
*Traditional swords and daggers of the various ethnic groups
 
*Traditional swords and daggers of the various ethnic groups
 
*Traditional hats and costumes
 
*Traditional hats and costumes
 +
*Kubachi silverware
 +
*Untsukul Woodwork
 +
*Balkhar Ceramics
  
===Costs===
+
==Eat==
 +
Dagestan is famous for its local dishes of: hinkal (a tasty pasta/dough-like entity served with garlic sauce and some kind of meat, usually young, boiled lamb), chudu (a quesadilla-like thin dough with special meats, cheeses or vegetables inside), and shashlik (roast shishkabab, usually lamb meat). There are countless cafes serving Dagestani and Russian foods. A handful of newer Asian (Chinese/Japanese) restaurants have sprung up, but woefully lack in authenticity and flavour. Western foods are likewise a scarcity. There are NO Western food chains to be found anywhere in Dagestan. And don't be fooled by the many advertisements for 'pizza' - even by typical Russian standards, the pizzas here lack the most basic ingredients of pizza sauce, cheeses, pepperoni, etc. The closest you'll come to finding a 'real' steak will be at the new 'El Gusto' cafe close the centre of Makhachkala, a delightful new restaurant where you can find a few other Western dishes satisfactorily prepared (e.g., Chicken Schnitzel).  On the whole, unless you like traditional Dagestani dishes, you will not be impressed. Like other former Soviet Union contexts, customer service is completely lacking, and Dagestani culture adds to the experience the guarantee of waiting a very, very long time for your order!
  
==Eat==
+
Note that as most locals are Muslims, so they do not eat pork. So dishes made with pork elsewhere are substituted here with beef or lamb. So take note when visiting locals' homes.
  
 
==Drink==
 
==Drink==
Line 51: Line 78:
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==
 +
Like other areas of the North Caucasus, Dagestan has experienced much instability due to fighting between the government and a radical Islamic insurgency. However, the worst of the violence happened many years ago and the situation has greatly improved. At present, the armed conflict is at a very low-intensity and consists mostly of small-scale, isolated incidents such as shootouts and police raids of houses with suspected militants. Bomb attacks against various government targets have also occurred, but are now a rarity. Aside from this and some heightened security presence in certain areas, life is completely calm and normal in Dagestan. The sporadic violence does not pose a great threat to tourists because the chance of being caught in a terrorist attack is very low, and the militants are mainly focused on targeting the authorities, not tourists or foreigners.
  
Dagestan is not a safe tourist destination by any stretch of the imagination. The mountainous areas of the republic (i.e., the most interesting areas) have seen major military operations in recent years between various groups and the Russian military. Criminal activity is widespread throughout the region, often targeting the few foreign tourists that do continue to visit for kidnapping, extortion, and worse. Dagestan shares along with the rest of the [[North Caucasus]] an extravagantly corrupt official culture and bribes and harassment are business as usual.
+
In general, people coming to Dagestan are safe as long as they observe common sense and basic safety considerations such as trying to stay away from checkpoints, police stations, etc. Travellers should also exercise caution in Dagestan's southern mountainous regions, and solo trekking there is not encouraged.
  
If you'd like to catch a glimpse of Dagestani culture and beauty, check online for a copy of the late Sergei Bodrov's haunting film, ''Prisoner of the Mountains'' (''Кавказский пленник''), which was shot in a Dagestani mountain aul, hiring the villagers as extras.
+
Significantly greater risks than terrorism in Dagestan include unsafe and careless driving, which is widespread, and corruption, which is above average compared to the rest of Russia, perhaps even more so than [[Chechnya]].
  
 
==Stay healthy==
 
==Stay healthy==
  
 
==Respect==
 
==Respect==
 +
Dagestan is a predominantly conservative Muslim region with very strong chivalric mountaineer traditions. Be careful not to insert yourself into local politics or to insult locals' sense of honour, or you might find yourself estranged (eg shot) in a strange land.
  
Dagestan is a predominantly conservative Muslim region with very strong chivalric mountaineer traditions. Be careful not to insert yourself into local politics or to insult locals' sense of honor, or you might find yourself estranged in a strange land.
+
==Contact==
  
==Contact==
+
===Mobile===
 +
In Dagestan there are four GSM/3G-UMTS operators (MTS,Beeline,Megafon) and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Dagestanian and other North-Caucasus people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. If you buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than USD10.
  
 +
===Embassies and Consulates===
 
Visitors should know that there is no real embassy or consulate in Dagestan. Your best bet would be Moscow in Russia, Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, or Yerevan in Armenia. Good luck!
 
Visitors should know that there is no real embassy or consulate in Dagestan. Your best bet would be Moscow in Russia, Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, or Yerevan in Armenia. Good luck!
 +
 +
===Get Out===
 +
Uytash Airport between Makhachkala and [[Kaspijsk]].
  
 
[[WikiPedia:Dagestan]]
 
[[WikiPedia:Dagestan]]
{{isIn|North_Caucasus}}
+
{{isPartOf|North Caucasus}}
 
{{outline}}
 
{{outline}}
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{{regionguide}}
 +
 +
*[http://www.e-dag.ru/ Official Dagestan government site]{{ru icon}}
 +
*[http://dagestan.travel/ Official Tourism Agency site]{{ru icon}}
 +
 +
 +
[[nl:Dagestan]]
 +
[[ru:Дагестан]]
 +
[[wts:Category:Dagestan]]

Latest revision as of 18:23, 14 September 2016

Travel Warning WARNING: Due to ongoing sporadic violence in Dagestan, travelers should be aware of potential risks and exercise caution when visiting this region. It is a good idea to consult your embassy when planning a trip here.
Dagestan
Location
Dagestan in Russia.svg
Flag
Flag of Dagestan.svg
Quick Facts
Capital Makhachkala
Government Russian Republic
Currency Russian ruble (RUB)
Area 50,300km²
Population 2,910,249
Language Russian, Aghul, Avar, Azerbaijani, Chechen, Dargwa, Kumyk, Lezgian, Lak, Nogai, Rutul, Tabasaran, Tat, Tsakhur
Religion Muslim 83%, Non-Religious Spirituality 9%, Russian Orthodox 2.4%, Caucasian folk religion 2%, Atheist 2%, Unaffiliated Christian 1%, Other 8%
Electricity 220V, 50Hz (European plug)
Time Zone UTC+3

Dagestan (Russian: Респу́блика Дагеста́н rees-POOB-lee-kuh dah-gee-STAHN) is a region of Russia in the North Caucasus bordering Chechnya and Georgia to the west, Stavropol Krai and Kalmykia to the north, the Caspian Sea to the east, and Azerbaijan to the South.

Regions[edit]

Cities[edit]

  • Makhachkala — Capital and largest city.
  • Buynaksk — In central Dagestan in the foothills of the Greater Caucasus Mountains.
  • Derbent — 5,000 year old walled city and UNESCO World Heritage site on the Caspian in southern Dagestan; a must visit for any traveler in Dagestan.
  • Khasavyurt — A relatively large city (for the region) near the border with Chechnya
  • Tindi — A small picturesque aul with a historic minaret in the mountains of southwestern Dagestan, near the Georgian and Chechen borders; probably not a safe area for travel.
  • Kizlyar — A city near the border with Chechnya and Stavropol krai (region).
  • Yuzhno-Sukhokumsk — A city located in northwest Dagestan.
  • Izberbash - A city south of Makhachkala, midway to Derbent. Beside the Caspian beach, you can see Pushkin Tao, a mountain which resembles the face of the Author Pushkin.
  • Kaspisk - Another resort city on the Caspian sea. Here you can see the only remaining Ekranoplan (a soviet huge boat designed for the Caspian sea).
  • Kizilyurt - A good hub to visit Chirkey hydroelectric Dam, which is the biggest in Dagestan. It forms a beautiful lake on the Sulak river.

Other destinations[edit]

  • Dagestansky Nature Reserve — comprised of the marshy Kizlyar Bay region (a bird watcher's paradise) and the desert Sarykum Sand Desert region
  • Sulak Canyon - an amazing landscape of Sulak river and Chirkey dam/lake. The nature is very intact and stunning. If you are lucky you can see many eagles flying around. The region can be reached by car and is not far from Makhachkala.
  • Pushkin Tao - A mountain that is said to look like famous russian author; Pushkin Tao is close to city of Izber bash, south of Dagestan.

Understand[edit]

Dagestan shares with its Caucasian neighbours the towering mountains of the Greater Caucasus, rushing Caucasian rivers, and spectacularly situated stone auls (mountaintop villages). But in an already diverse region, Dagestan is a wonderland of ethnic and cultural diversity. About 35 separate ethnolinguistic groups live in this Scotland-sized republic and the region contains an amazing 12 language families! For all this cultural diversity, Dagestanis are fairly united in their Islamic religion — virtually all non-Russian ethnic groups are Muslim. This is probably true since almost 32,000 people have left in a mass exit from Dagestan since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Many of those people were the Mountain Jews--Juhuro--who spoke Persian or one of its dialects.

Given its ongoing instability and relatively underdeveloped tourist infrastructure, Dagestan is certainly not a 'traditional' tourist destination and is better suited for the more adventurous traveller. With that said, coming here is definitely feasible and those who do so will be greatly rewarded by the very friendly and hospitable people, incredible natural beauty and impressive historical sites.

If you'd like to catch a glimpse of Dagestani culture and beauty, check online for a copy of the late Sergei Bodrov's haunting film, Prisoner of the Mountains (Кавказский пленник), which was shot in a Dagestani mountain aul, hiring the villagers as extras.

Get in[edit]

Makhachkala will almost certainly be your first destination, whether by plane from Moscow, or by train via Rostov-on-Don through Mineralnye Vody. Note that security is very tight at the Makhachkala airport.

Get around[edit]

Talk[edit]

Within the 7 language families of the Dagestanian language grouping alone there are about 30 languages, many of them considered among the most difficult in the world to master. Fortunately, everyone, regardless of nationality, understands the lingua franca, Russian. Azeri is also widely used in the southeast Caspian region around Derbent; those who speak Turkish may be able to make themselves understood in this area.

Buy[edit][add listing]

  • Famed Dagestani rugs particularly Lezgian and Avar kilims
  • Beluga Caviar
  • Traditional swords and daggers of the various ethnic groups
  • Traditional hats and costumes
  • Kubachi silverware
  • Untsukul Woodwork
  • Balkhar Ceramics

Eat[edit][add listing]

Dagestan is famous for its local dishes of: hinkal (a tasty pasta/dough-like entity served with garlic sauce and some kind of meat, usually young, boiled lamb), chudu (a quesadilla-like thin dough with special meats, cheeses or vegetables inside), and shashlik (roast shishkabab, usually lamb meat). There are countless cafes serving Dagestani and Russian foods. A handful of newer Asian (Chinese/Japanese) restaurants have sprung up, but woefully lack in authenticity and flavour. Western foods are likewise a scarcity. There are NO Western food chains to be found anywhere in Dagestan. And don't be fooled by the many advertisements for 'pizza' - even by typical Russian standards, the pizzas here lack the most basic ingredients of pizza sauce, cheeses, pepperoni, etc. The closest you'll come to finding a 'real' steak will be at the new 'El Gusto' cafe close the centre of Makhachkala, a delightful new restaurant where you can find a few other Western dishes satisfactorily prepared (e.g., Chicken Schnitzel). On the whole, unless you like traditional Dagestani dishes, you will not be impressed. Like other former Soviet Union contexts, customer service is completely lacking, and Dagestani culture adds to the experience the guarantee of waiting a very, very long time for your order!

Note that as most locals are Muslims, so they do not eat pork. So dishes made with pork elsewhere are substituted here with beef or lamb. So take note when visiting locals' homes.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Learn[edit]

Work[edit]

Stay safe[edit]

Like other areas of the North Caucasus, Dagestan has experienced much instability due to fighting between the government and a radical Islamic insurgency. However, the worst of the violence happened many years ago and the situation has greatly improved. At present, the armed conflict is at a very low-intensity and consists mostly of small-scale, isolated incidents such as shootouts and police raids of houses with suspected militants. Bomb attacks against various government targets have also occurred, but are now a rarity. Aside from this and some heightened security presence in certain areas, life is completely calm and normal in Dagestan. The sporadic violence does not pose a great threat to tourists because the chance of being caught in a terrorist attack is very low, and the militants are mainly focused on targeting the authorities, not tourists or foreigners.

In general, people coming to Dagestan are safe as long as they observe common sense and basic safety considerations such as trying to stay away from checkpoints, police stations, etc. Travellers should also exercise caution in Dagestan's southern mountainous regions, and solo trekking there is not encouraged.

Significantly greater risks than terrorism in Dagestan include unsafe and careless driving, which is widespread, and corruption, which is above average compared to the rest of Russia, perhaps even more so than Chechnya.

Stay healthy[edit]

Respect[edit]

Dagestan is a predominantly conservative Muslim region with very strong chivalric mountaineer traditions. Be careful not to insert yourself into local politics or to insult locals' sense of honour, or you might find yourself estranged (eg shot) in a strange land.

Contact[edit]

Mobile[edit]

In Dagestan there are four GSM/3G-UMTS operators (MTS,Beeline,Megafon) and they often have offers that give you a SIM card for free or at least very cheap. If you are planning to stay a while and to keep in touch with Dagestanian and other North-Caucasus people, then you should consider buying a local SIM card instead of going on roaming. If you buy a SIM card from a shop you'll need your passport for identification. It only takes five minutes to do the paperwork and it will cost less than USD10.

Embassies and Consulates[edit]

Visitors should know that there is no real embassy or consulate in Dagestan. Your best bet would be Moscow in Russia, Tbilisi in Georgia, Baku in Azerbaijan, or Yerevan in Armenia. Good luck!

Get Out[edit]

Uytash Airport between Makhachkala and Kaspijsk.Create category

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