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Two regions – one Altai
Ethno & Traditions
Start & Finish
from 4 to 12 participants
Day 1. Welcome to Altai! Let’s go to the Altai Territory
We will meet you at the airport and go to Altai krai – city of Biysk. Biysk played a decisive role in the settling of Russians over of the territory of Altai. It was here that the first Bikatun fortress was built, and then the Biysk fortress, which served as the basis for the appearing of the city. Here, in 1755, a ceremony for the entry of the indigenous population of Altai into Russian citizenship was held. Merchants who organized trade with the inhabitants of Altai, Mongolia and China played an important role in the development of the city. We will walk along the streets of old Biysk, look for the remains of the fortress and admire the impressive architecture of stone houses of the 19th and 20th centuries.
In the evening we will check into a hotel in the historical part of Biysk.
Night: hotel | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 100 km | Walking: in the city
Highlights: excursion around the city
Day 2. Back to the 19th century
After breakfast we will visit the Bishop’s Metochion Museum. Here we will not only learn about the role of the Altai Spiritual Mission in the history of Altai. But we will also plunge into the era of the 18th and 19th centuries thanks to the excellent reconstruction and decoration of the halls and rooms. We will also learn some secrets of the Bishop’s house.
After the tour we leave for the mountains! Soon, the northern spurs of the Cherginsky and Seminsky ridges will appear. We will stop by the resort town of Belokurikha and visit a real forge, where you can watch the forging process and even forge yourself a souvenir. Then we will climb the most beautiful serpentine with 62 turns to Belokurikha-2. From the observation platforms we will admire how the steppe meets the mountains. In Mountain Belokurikha we will visit a 19th century tavern, a healer’s house, a bread house and a distillery and get an idea of the life of Russian peasants in Altai in the 19th century.
In the evening we will arrive at the guest houses in Iskra, where we will stay for 3 nights.
Night: guest houses (rooms for 2-3 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 167 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Bishop’s Metochion, Mountain Belokurikha, forge
Day 3. Visiting the Old Believers. Traditional wedding
Today we get acquainted with the culture of the Old Believers. To do this, we go to the village of Sibiryachikha, where the descendants of the Old Believers live. These people carefully preserved their traditions, rituals, and folklore through the centuries. After the Schism of the Church in the 1650s, persecution began against those who did not accept the reforms. And they, in search of shelter, rushed to hard-to-reach places, mainly in Siberia.
In Sibiryachikha we will visit the Gornitsa, equipped exactly with the traditions and rules of the Old Believers, it contains household items, everyday life of local old-timers, their costumes, ancient prayer books and icons. We will listen to folk songs and, of course, join the traditional feast. Here we will see a reconstruction of a fragment of a traditional wedding and even take part in it.
Night: guest houses (rooms for 2-3 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 100 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: traditional feast and wedding
Day 4. Day in nature. Shinok Waterfalls
We will devote the whole day to nature. We go on a hike to the beautiful waterfalls of the Shinok River along a forest path. After 4 km you will see the first large waterfall called “Gentle Illusion”. Its height is about 10 meters. The second waterfall “Yog” is located half a kilometer from the first and is very picturesque: from a height of 28 meters, the water rushes down, forming clouds of misty spray. And finally, you will see the highest waterfall in Altai – 72 meters. Water falls from a vertical cliff in a rather narrow stream. Maybe because of the resemblance to the neck of a giraffe, it was called “Giraffe”.
The distance to the third waterfall is about 5 km, but you will constantly have to ford the river, you need to be prepared for the fact that your feet can get wet.
In the evening we will return to the guest houses in Iskra village.
Night: guest houses (rooms for 2-3 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 60 km | Walking: intense 7 km
Highlights: 3 waterfalls of Shinok river
Day 5. Denisova cave. Entering the Republic of Altai
In the morning we pack our stuff and set off further, deep into Altai. On the way we will visit the world famous Denisova Cave.
Archaeological excavations have been carried out there since 1982. During this time, more than 80 thousand items were recovered from the cave: various tools, weapons, primitive jewelry and animal remains. The real fame came to the cave in 2008, when a fossilized phalanx of a girl’s finger was found – DNA analysis showed that this person does not belong to either extinct Neanderthals or Homo Sapiens, but represents a special branch of human evolution, called Denisovans. Almost every year, new discoveries are made in Denisova Cave, which become a world sensation.
Shortly after Denisova Cave, we will cross the border between the Altai Territory and the Republic of Altai and find ourselves on the land of the Altai-Kizhi people. Through the picturesque Kansk steppe and several passes we will go to the Chuysky tract, and then turn into the Karakol valley, which is considered a sacred place for all Altaians.
For the night we will stay in the guest houses of a local resident. Our acquaintance with the culture and traditions of the Altaians will start. We will enjoy a national dinner with observance of rituals and a concert of throat singing with playing traditional instruments – topshur, komus and others.
Night: homestay (rooms for 2-3 persons, ayil (for 4 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 180 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Denisova cave, Ground-squirell monument, Keser-Tash
Day 6. Heritage of the Karakol valley. Altai-kizhi traditions
Today we will spend the whole day in the Karakol valley, see sacred places, petroglyphs and ancient barrows. We will stop at an underground spring and get acquainted with the Altai rituals of visiting such places and tying dyalama ribbons.
In the village of Kulada we will visit a small museum and see outstanding wooden sculptures at the entrance to the village.
After lunch, we will have a relaxing walk to the beautiful lake Aru-Kem, located in the forest.
Night: homestay (rooms for 2-3 persons, ayil (for 4 persons) | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 50 km | Walking: intense 5 km
Highlights: Bashadar kurgan, petroglyphs, Aru-Kem lake
Day 7. Along the Chuysky tract
Today we return to the Chuysky tract and drive to Kosh-Agach. It will take us a whole day, as we have many interesting stops.
In the village of Kupchegen we will visit the center of folk crafts. There are craftsmen who still keep the traditions of saddlery, leather stamping, embossing, felting, bone carving, forging and other crafts and create real masterpieces.
We will stop at Kalbak-Tash to see petroglyphs from different eras. In addition, we will make stops to admire the beautiful views – the Chiketaman pass, the confluence of the Chuya and Katun rivers, the terraces of the Katun river and the bridge in the village Inya.
For the night we will stay in guest houses on the outskirts of Kosh-Agach with a picturesque view of the Chui steppe.
Night: | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 270 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: center of folk crafts, Chuysky tract
Day 8. On a visit to the Telengits. Traditional wedding
Today we will get up early to go to Kyzyl-Chin (Mars-1) while there are not many tourists there. Outcrops of red, yellow, burgundy, white and brown clays make this place truly fantastic. We will climb to the top of the hills and descend through a narrow small canyon.
After lunch we will continue our acquaintance with the culture and tradition of the Altaians. We will visit the ethno-ail in the village Ortolyk. Here we will be told about the traditions of the Telengits and we will see a fragment of the Altai wedding, remember how it happened among the Old Believers, and find common features.
Night: guest houses | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 80 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Mars, ethbo-ail, traditional wedding
Day 9. Secrets of the Chuya steppe
We will dedicate this day to the Chuya steppe. We will go to the valley of the Yustyd River, known for a huge number of ancient burials are concentrated here. We will definitely stop and admire the creations of the hands of the ancient inhabitants of the steppe – stone circles, triangles and other figures created thousands of years ago for a purpose that is still incomprehensible even to scientists. We will also visit the museum in the village Kokorya. Very interesting archaeological finds and other exhibits on the history and culture of the area are displayed here.
We will visit the Kazakh village of Zhana-Aul, to find out when and why the Kazakhs settled in the Chuya steppe.
Night: guest houses| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 80 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Kokorya museum, Chuya steppe
Day 10. Tarkhatinsky megalithic complex
In the morning we will stop at the Tarkhatinsky megalithic complex – a unique place where huge stones form an almost regular circle with a diameter of 60 m. On some of them you can find petroglyphs. Some scientists believe that there was once an ancient observatory here.
Sad as it may seem, today our return home begins … But we have a little consolation – the road back will be very beautiful.
For the night we will stop at Kamlak.
Night: guest houses| Meal: 3 times | Driving: 270 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights:Tarkhatinsky megalithic complex
Day 11. Capital of the Republic
In the morning we will walk in the botanical garden, enjoy its peaceful atmosphere. And then – a short transfer to Gorno-Altaisk, the capital of the Altai Republic. Here we will have a sightseeing tour of the city and the National Museum of the Altai Republic.
Night: hotel | Meal: 3 times | Driving: 70 km | Walking: moderate
Highlights: Botanical garden. Gorno-Altaisk, National museum
Day 12. See you soon!
After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport.
Attractions we will see
Adventure travel, nature tours to Altai - one of the most beautiful places in Siberia.
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