Altai is a mountainous country, with the highest mountains in Siberia, separated by deep valley rivers. This is a unique natural region, with many places included in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The wonderful landscapes of the Altai Mountains, the many beautiful mountain rivers and glaciers attract tourists, scientists, climbers, writers, poets, artists and photographers.
The famous Altai artist Grigory Choros-Gurkin wrote, "Altai is not just mountains, forests, rivers and waterfalls, but a Living Spirit, a generous and rich giant. He is fairy-tale beautiful in his colorful clothes of forests, flowers, grasses... The Lakes are his eyes, looking into the Universe. Waterfalls and rivers are his speech and songs of life, of the earth's beauty, mountains..."
There are unlimited opportunities for visitors to Altai Republic at any time of year. The Republic is a great place for active holidays; it has uniquely varied tours, activities and health and sport resorts. All kinds of summer activities are available: rafting, horse riding, trekking, rock climbing, diving, hang-gliding, helicopter tours, caving, fishing and hunting, and ethnocultural, archaeological and adventure tours.
The Altai Mountains are very popular with rock climbers. Climbing routes go up Belukha, Katunsky and Chuysky Ridges. As well as cliffs and mountains, climbers try to conquer glaciers. The glacier routes are of extreme difficulty, which attract climbers fr om all over the world.
Rafting down Altai mountain rivers is rightly considered to be the most popular and varied activity. The Katun and Biya Rivers have the easiest rafting routes, while the Chuya, Chulyshman, Bashkaus, Argut, Korgon and Ak-Alakha Rivers are much more challenging, with some rafting trips lasting several days.
Fishing tours are also popular in Altai Republic; you can catch grayling and taimen and go mixed fishing from rafts or take entertaining trips.
As most of Altai Republic is covered by a thick layer of snow for most of the year, skiing holidays are popular here. The republic has modern infrastructure for skiing and snowmobile safaris. Parts of Lake Teletsk remain ice free, which means that you can go swimming and diving in winter.
Many people visit Altai Republic for health reasons; there are hotel and tourist complexes situated in Chemalsky, Mayminsky and Ust-Kosinsky districts.
Altai has soaked up the culture of many nationalities, each of which has left their mark on the customs of the indigenous population. There are traditional folk festivals and games that describe history and modern life. El-Oiyn is a traditional national Altai celebration, wh ere folk groups perform in all local dialects; there are performances that dramatize Altai history and describe the heroes of Altai tales, myths and epic poems; and sporting contests, which culminate with the argymak – a performance of riders on the strongest and fastest horses. The Kupalskaya Night ethnic festival is held in summer.
Altai is a region with unique nature and a rich history, it is one of the most promising areas in Russia for tourism, and should be seen by everyone at least once in their life.