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The Karachay-Cherkess Republic , Nizhniy Arkhyz

Lower Arkhyz Archeological Site

The Lower-Arkhyz Historical, Architectural, and Archaeological Complex, dating back to the 7th-14th centuries (the Alan Period) is located in Zelenchuk District.

The most well-known object in the complex is the Alanian Archeological Site of the 7th-14th centuries. The capital of Alania — the city of Maas — was located there in the 10th-13th centuries.

The Alans are a medieval people, ancestors of the Karachays who created a strong and well-developed state in the interfluve area of the Laba and the Argun. Alania was the first state in Russia to convert to Christianity, in fact several decades before Rus adopted Christianity.

Five Christian, cross-domed churches of the first quarter of the 10th century and their adjoining architectural and archeological monuments dating back to the 7th-14th centuries still exist in Karachaevo-Cherkessia. Three of the five churches are located within the Lower Arkhyz Archeological Site: they are the North, Middle, and South temples, built by Byzantine craftsmen in the 10th century. 19th-century monastery buildings and remnants of the ancient township still exist. The image of Jesus, the oldest rock icon in Russia, is of particular interest.

Another unique structure is an astronomic object, a solar calendar, a variety of medieval observatory (the oldest in Eastern Europe). In ancient times, a portion of the Great Silk Road passed through the lands of Alania from the Orient (China and Sogdia) to the Byzantine Empire.

The Lower Arkhyz Christian religious structures are the oldest of their kind in Russia. Our country has no other monuments similar to the Lower Arkhyz complex, in terms of age and cultural complexity.

Ministry of Tourism, Resorts, and Youth Policy of the Karachaevo-Cherkess Republic.

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Address: Carachaevo-Cherkess Republic, Zelenchuk District, Lower Arkhyz Village

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