The golden mountains of Atlai in southern Siberia are located within the large Atlai Republic. The listed property comprises of the high mountainous areas of Atlai, the headwaters of Katun and Chulyshman rivers and Lake Teleskoye. The property is divided into 3 distinct areas namely:
Note that 2 of the areas are located along the borders with China and Mongolia.
The mountainous area forms the watershed between the central Asia and the Arctic Ocean. The confluence of the Katun and Baya rivers beyond the boundary of the nominated site make the River Ob which stretches over a distance of 5,410 kilometers which make it the fifth longest river in the world. The river drains into the Arctic Ocean. The area is also characterized by mountain peaks such as the 4605 meters high Mount Belukha. Other physical features in the area include the cirques, trough valleys, lake basins, morainal hills and ridges.
The mountains were formed through the geological processes during the Caledonian Hercyninan Period. However, you will still find rocks from the Precambrian, Mesozoic and Cenozoic periods. The area is home to 1499 glaciers and is divided into the south Atlai group and the central Atlai group.
The Altaisky Zapovednik and the buffer zone surrounding Lake Teletskoye on the eastern region of Altai is made up of the mountainous taiga, the mountainous meadows, the high altitude tundra and steppe. About 1400 vascular plants, 72 species of mammals and 310 species of birds can be found here. If you get to spot the Snow Leopard and the Argali Mountain sheep, you will be one of the few people around the world who have spotted them in their natural habitat. Lake Teletskoye is the largest freshwater lake in southwestern Siberia.
The Katunsky Zapodevnik and the buffer zone around Mount Belukha are characterized by mountain taiga, glacial zones, alpine meadows, steppe and mountain tundra. You will find the relic and endemic species. Apparently, the Ukok Quiet Zone is located in the Atlai Republic and is dominated by hills and steppe, marsh, lake and streams.
This region is characterized by a rich cultural heritage. Among the peoples and empires that have ruled this region include the Khanates, the empire of scythians, Turks, Uigurs, Yenissey Kirgiz, Kidans, Mongols and Oitrats. It is only from the mid-18th century that the Atlai region became part of the Russian Empire.
This is one of the cheapest tourist destinations in the world. The area is mostly an icy landscape and you will need to park for temperate weather conditions. If you are looking for a holiday destination that is off the beaten path, you’ve just found it.