Balkar towers

Bezengi tower balkars nothern Caucasus mountains

Bezengi valley

The Balkar people built their own towers up in the high Caucasus mountains, in what is today’s Kabardino-Balkaria republic. The Balkar tower in Bezengi valley is built and furbished in typical Balkar style: the carpets, furniture, pottery, guns etc, while at the same time having modern amenities for tourists.

Other Balkar towers – Upper Balkaria

Click below to take a 3D tour of the beautiful Bezengi valley and to visit the tower

безенги

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Gunibskaya hydroelectric dam

Gunibskaya dam Dagestan Karakoysu river Caucasus mountainsGunibskaya hydroelectric dam, named Rasul Gamzatov (Dagestani poet) – built on Karakoysu river (“Black river”) in Gunibsky district of Dagestan. It represents a modern facility (built 1995-2005).

On Karakoysu river lies another hydroeletric dam – this time the oldest in Dagestan (built 1930’s) by the name of Gergebilskaya.

Despite having high-capacity and large hydro-plants, Dagestan’s energy is used mostly for exports to other republics/countries. Electricity shortages are common in Dagestan. Read more below

Dagestanis Seize Power Stations to protest electricity shortages

Dagestan in Blackout Crisis

 Electricity cutoffs in the capital of Dagestan and social unrest

Mamison pass/ abandoned settlements

abandoned Lisri in Mamison gorge North Ossetia Caucasus mountains best natural landscapes

Mamison pass (located at 2900 meters altitude) stretches from North Ossetia to South Ossetia and to Georgia.

Due to the political tensions between Russia and Georgia, the pass is closed to tourists.

Several old villages spread along the Mamison gorge (supposedly built between the 15-17 centuries), though not much has been studied about their history and at present they lie abandoned. The architecture is typical of the Caucasus region with residential structures and several watch towers.

Kurush – highest settlement in Europe

Shalbuzdag mountain Kurush village Dagestan Kurush Caucasus mountains

Kurush village and mount Shalbuzdag

Kurush village – location at 2600 meters altitude makes it the highest settlement in Caucasus and Europe.

Kurush is situated on Mount Shalbuzdag (in southern Dagestan), which has the highest peak in the republic at 4142 meters. According to local beliefs, Shalbuzdag is a holy mountain.

Nij tower complex _Tsorey-Loam

Ingushetia vainakh medieval Nij castle Caucasus mountains beautiful landscape

Nij tower complex – built near Tsorey-Loam mountain in the XV century.

Ingushetia medieval Nij Caucasus mountains .

 

Located in the southern district of Dzheyrahsky in the Dzheyrakh-Assin historical and architectural museum and nature reserve. Dzheyrakh-Assin has the biggest concentration of medieval Vainakh settlements (like the Argun State History, Architecture and Nature Museum Reserve of southern Chechnya).

Nij tower complex consists of defense towers (6-7 stories high), residential towers (3-4 stories high) and nearby burial grounds, which are underground, or above ground vaults, typical of pre-Islam pagan period.

Nij complex has 4 well preserved defense towers, the residential structures having been destroyed in the XIX century by the Russian imperial army.

*In 2001, Russian helicopters attacked historic sites in the area. Ingushetia itself was not a war-zone and the destruction was caused by military corps stationed in Ingushetia – article from Moscow Times   Army Unit Attacks Ancient Ingush Site

Gegsky ~ “Circassian waterfall”

Abkhazia – Gegsky waterfall, also called Circassian waterfall, stands 350 meters tall

 

Khevsureti

Shatili Khevsureti medieval Georgia Caucasus mountains

Khevsureti is a historic region located in eastern Georgia on the border with Chechnya.

An ethnographic hypothesis claims the highlanders of Khevsureti are descendants of the last European crusaders. On the other hand, the towers and crypts of Anatori and Kistani have an obvious resemblance to Vainakh architecture from neighboring Chechnya.

The Khevsurs were traditional warriors and were regarded as guardians of the borders. They are adherent to Christianity, although they maintain significant pagan traditions as well.