Gorny Altai is a unique natural complex with its recreational richness. It is a wonderful combination of picturesque mountain landscapes with different climate types determined by sunshine and heightened ultraviolet radiation. The Altai Republic's territory has beautiful forests and medicinal herbs, mineral resources and salubrious air.
The Altai itself considered to be a historical and landscape preserve which have no analogues. At the present moment the specially protected territories and natural complexes with an area of almost 22% of the whole Republic's territory are distinguished in the Altai Republic.
The specially protected territories are presented by two preserves (The Altai and The Katun Preserves), by five reserves (The Tcherginsky, Sumultinsky, Kosh-Agachsky, Turochaksky, Shavlinsky), the Zone of Peace "Ukok" and The Natural Park "Belukha".
126 memorials of nature including 44 of the Republican significance belong to specially protected territories and natural objects.
Lakes: Teletskoye, Manzherokskoye, Tenginskoye, Akkemskoye, Kucherlinskoye, Taimenskoye, Sadrinskoye, Karakolskiye, Multinskiye, Tuyukskiye.
Water springs: Arzhan Suu, Tcheremshansky, Tchelushmansky, Tchagan-Uzunsky, Buguzinsky, Kadrinsky, Kurlovskiye Dachi, Sviatoi Kluch, Kara Kebek, Bolshoi Yalomansky, Jumalinsky, Manzheroksky.
Waterfalls: Korbu, Tekelu, Kamyshinsky.
Caves: Muzeinaya, Kek-Tash, Kuldinskaya, Tut-Tash, Taldinskaya Karst Arch, Tarcolskaya, Karakokshinskaya.
Mountains: Belukha, Ikonostas (Iconostasis), Byely Kamen (White Stone).
Passes: Tchike-Taman, Seminsky.
Landscape territories: Ust-Seminsky, Shishkular-Katail, Tchisty Lug (Clean Meadow), Komsomolskaya Mountain, Tchelushmansky, Maiminsky Crumby Bank, Ulalinsky Crumby Bank.
All the specially protected territories and natural complexes are under the authority and control of the Altai Republic State Committee of Nature.
The Altai Preserve - one of the largest preserves in Russia - occupies almost the whole eastern part of the Altai Republic.
The Altai Reserve
The Altai State Nature Reserve was established in 1932. It is situated in South-Eastern part of Gorny Altai in the upper reaches and right bank of the Tchulyshman River and the Teletskoye Lake o n the territory of Ulagansky and Turochaksky Regions. The Reserve covers an area of 863861 hectares. The Reserve has a stretched form and is 250 km long in meridional direction having an average width of about 35 km.
The Reserve was founded to protect the nature of taiga and highland tundra. The absolute altitudes of the Reserve, which are situated o n Tchulyshman Plateau are 2500-3000 m high.
Main rocks are granites, granite and gneiss, mica shale.
In the Altai Preserve there are 1190 lakes having an area of over 0.01 square km each. The main part of them is situated in the upper lands. The origin of lake hollows is connected with glaciers' activity. The depth of the lakes is considerable - up to 35-50 m.
The biggest lake among the highland lakes of the Reserve - "Julukul" - is situated in the hollow with the same name at the altitude of 2200 m. The area of Lake Julukul is 30 square km, the depth - 7-9 m, the length - 10 km. The largest river of the Reserve - the Tchulyshman - flows out of this lake and stretches for 210 km.
The main reservoir of the Reserve - the Teletskoye Lake, the largest and the most beautiful lake of Altai - is situated at the height of 434 m above sea-level. The lake stretches for 78 km as a narrow blue ribbon squeezed by the ridges Korbu and Al-tyntu. Its width is 5 km and the area is not too big - 233 square km, however due to its depth (up to 325 m) it contains a great amount (40 bln. square km) of the purest fresh water saturated with oxygen.
Giving its waters to the Biya River, the Lake provides the Ob's supply to a considerable extent. About 70 rivers and 150 temporary streams flow into the Lake, and more than a half of the whole water is supplied by the Tchulyshman River. A great number of enthusiastic descriptions and legends is devoted to the Teletskoye Lake (Altyn-Kyol) - the Altaians' "Golden Lake".
The Teletskoye Lake is a beautiful natural memorial of Siberia surrounded by mountains and dark-coniferous - mostly cedar - taiga.
The Reserve's landscapes are presented by four vertical zones - steppe, forest, sub-Alpine and Alpine o nes.
In the whole the Reserve's flora contains 1270 plant species, 73 mammal species, about 300 bird species, 10 species of Amphibias and reptiles.
Among animals the most characteristic o nes are - maral, elk, brown bear, musk-deer, sable, glutton, lynx, roe, squirrel, chipmunk, snow leopard. Among birds - wood-grouse, hazel-grouse, eagle-owl, willow grouse and ptarmigan, redstart and others. There are 13 fish species in Lake Teletskoye. Grayling is found in majority of the rivers.
The main direction of scientific researches conducted in the Reserve is studying of mountain taiga's flora and fauna, highland tundra, Alpine high-altitude zone.
Katunskiy Biosphere Reserve Object of the World Natural Heritage of UNESCO
Officially the Katun State Nature Preserve was registered o n July 25, 1991 for the purpose of unique natural complexes of Central Altai protection.
In 1998 the Katun State Nature Preserve was included to the list of Universal Natural Heritage at the General Assembly of UNESCO o n Universal cultural and natural heritage.
The preserved territory covers macroslope of the Katun Ridge and is situated in the central part of the Altai Republic. Being actually in the very center of Eurasia, Altai is found in the zone of influence of different climate-forming factors, which create infinite number of ecological and geographical nuances giving vividly expressed originality and charm to the nature of this mountain region.
Mutual penetration of different landscape types creates inimitable and contrast combination.
There are a lot of glaciers, precipitous rocks, mountain streams with waterfalls, not large lakes o n the territory of the Preserve.
The Katun Preserve is a seat of modern glaciating. Glaciers play a great role in formation of modern river flows, climate and up-land landscapes of the Katun Preserve.
Flora and fauna of this region are varied and unique. 700 plant species grow o n the territory of the Preserve, 22 of them are entered in the Red Book of Russia and the Altai Republic. There are lots of plants of medical and technical value in the Preserve.
Also on the Preserve's territory are found: 51 mammal species, 140 bird species, 3 species of reptiles and 8 fish species. Among fur-bearing animals chipmunk, squirrel, sable are found, among forest hoofed animals - elk, maral, musk-deer. Siberian mountain goat is found in the up-lands. Typical for this Preserve are such wild animals as brown bear, lynx and glutton, as well as small wild animals - ermine, Siberian weasel, mink, weasel.
Besides specially protected animals, a whole complex of mammals and birds of hunting fauna inhabit the territory of the Preserve.
Lots of picturesque waterfalls are on the rivers flowing through the territory of the Preserve.
There are no large lakes o n its territory, but the present ones are very scenic and connected with activity of ancient glaciers: they are of big size and are situated in glacier and river valleys.
The Preserve is a model of Altai nature, for it is representative to a marked degree concerning flora and fauna. Landscape altitude zones are well-expressed within its limits, many vegetable associations are presented and flora contains the majority of plants found in Gorny Altai.
For this info thanks to altai-republic.com