The Altai-Sayan eco region is one of the last remaining untouched areas of the world. The Altai-Sayan are situated on the boundary between Siberian taiga forests and Central Asian deserts stands out from its surrounding territories with its unique diversity of animal and plant worlds. The major ecosystems in the region are: Alpine, Taiga, Mountain-Forest, Forest-steppe, Steppe, Desert steppe, and Freshwater/wetland. Link
The Altai Mountains in southern Siberia are one of the great undiscovered tourist destinations, featuring breathtaking lakes and peaks, with many signs of the ancient lost world, such as burial mounds, standing stones and the exhibition of petroglyphs, many from the Bronze and Iron ages.
Many of the carvings are found on rocks that form a symbolic rock garden, with the sun’s beams helping to illuminate the artistic work and making them appear similar to photograph negatives.
According to Altai legend, the location of these megaliths was a result of the mythical hero Sartaksakpay, who is said to have jokingly changed the direction of the rivers and scattered the mountain valleys with huge rocks. Link
Quoting from author Arita Baaijens’s experience:
I like everything about it, the fact that I had to completely rely on myself and that there was nobody there. For a lot of people that would be a nightmare, for me it was a dream. Just to wake up at night, have a look at the camels, all the stars, and know that for hundreds of miles around there is nobody. It gave me, I can best describe it as intense joy for life. You feel totally alive. Happy is not the word.
Authors know how precious it is to be able to find this experience, one that few get to have these days. Link
Quote from photographer – Gary Tepfer
There are advantages to working in the Altai however.
“This area is unspoiled photographically; there are no power lines or fences or jet trails. There are mountains, ever changing light and the challenge is to capture the relationship of archeology to the landscape and how people relate to both.”
The Altai mountains are a photographers dream – this is a once in a lifetime experience to come and photograph this absolutely stunning part of the world. Link
Trekking in the Altai mountains not only brings you closer to nature but also to something a bit more mystical. It has been reported that it is here that the Russian version of Shangri-la: Belovodie resides. For those who are seekers this is the place to travel to, it’s has also been declared a UNESCO nature preserve.
A quote from Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
From Gorno Altaisk, where people are related with the Mongolians (although everybody speaks Russian), you have to fly by helicopter to the Sayan/Altai mountains, and if the pilot is nice, (bring a bottle of vodka with you as a present to give it to him) he will call for a few minutes in the beautiful Teletskoye Osera (lake), and you will see the Belukha mountain, the tallest peak in those mountains (4506 meters), where some people think that there exists a forbidden and fabled city called Belovodie (the Russian version of Shangri-la, or Shambhala).
This is a trekkers mecca. Link
A quote from The Kremlin’s ‘Mr Siberia’ Viktor Tolokonsky
‘I have said many times that on one hand it is hard for me to compare life in Siberia with life in other places – I have never lived anywhere else but Siberia.
‘On the other hand, living in Novosibirsk I have never experienced the period of time when something did not suit me here or disturbed me in any way.
‘Although it does not mean that I feel something wrong when I visit other places – Europe, Asia, with a warm climate so different from ours. But in Siberia I have never felt myself being cut off from the world.
‘I think that there are many people keen to check Siberia out. The difference to tourists is that we must live and work here.
‘Of course there are a lot of interesting things in Siberia – busy life, exceptional nature. Many people from all parts of the world come to our mountains, like Altai, Khakassia, Tyva. I am not an expert, I rarely go to the countryside but I did visit the Altai Mountains, and I managed to spend several summer days in Khakassia and Sayany Mountains.
‘It is a very special sky, silence, and greatness of nature. Believe me, Switzerland cannot be compared with what we have here.
Are you tired of the hustle and bustle of the big city, ready to get a bit of R & R? The Altai Mountains are the place. Link
Currently 5 of the 15 slots are filled for this journey to the Altai Mountains – If you are interested please visit my other post here for more details. Link