Tourist Map (44KB); Russia Destinations (main page)
Bordering China, Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, the Altai Mountain Range in Russia is one of the world’s last great unspoiled regions. The World Wildlife Fund lists Altai among 200 other world ecosystems, and since 1999, Altai earns a status of the world natural heritage from the UNESCO. The Altai Mountains are part of an ancient mountain system formed almost 20 million years ago, and is the highest point of the Arctic watershed. The range covers an area of 650 km long and 600 km wide. One of the longest rivers in the world, the Ob’ river, has its start in the Altai Mountains. The highest peak in this system is Mount Belukha, at 4506 meters. There are over 1500 glaciers in the range, covering an area of over 900 square kilometers. Spread throughout this vast system are mighty waterfalls and over 1274 lakes. The greatest lake in the Altai Mountains is Lake Teletskoe, which has clear waters allowing visibility to 15.5 meters. The lake itself is the second deepest in Siberia after Lake Baikal, reaching 325 meters. Within the Altai system are over 2000 species of plant, 212 of which are found nowhere else, and almost 500 species of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles.
For centuries the region was inhabited by Nomads. It was proved in recent findings of ice preserved sacrificial burials dating back to 22,000 years ago.