Caucasus – XIX century paintings

Various paintings of the XIX century’s Caucasus seen through the eyes of Frans Roubaud, Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilya Nikolaevich, Lev Lagorio, Mikhail Lermontov and others.











































Gamsutl’ by Rashid Suleyman

Gamsutl’ (in Dagestan) ~ ancient Avar settlement carved in rock on top of a mountain (1.400 meters altitude – 4600 feet).

The inhabitants were forced out by the Soviets and resettled during the massive collectivization program. The village structures were blown up, as were numerous other historic settlements, in what was an incommensurable destruction to the historical heritage of the north Caucasus (other ancient settlements destroyed by the Soviets included those inhabited by the Chechen and Ingush, who were deported).

Gamsutl’ has yet to be listed as a historical site. There is only one person left living here (the “guardian” of the village).

Photography by Rashid Suleyman

Dagestan Gamsutl ancient avar village Dagestan Caucasus mountains beautiful landscape


The last inhabitant of Gamsutl’

Gil-Su mineral spring haven (Western Caucasus mountains)


Gil-Su – carbonated mineral springs with curative properties, located at an altitude of 2400 meters in Prielbrusie National Park (near mount Elbrus). In 2002, it became an open-air health complex.

The republic of Kabardino-Balkaria is rich with mineral waters including thermal waters.The Russian Federation has plans to produce up to 200 million litres in a year in the republic.

Although North Caucasus represents 1% of the Russian Federation territory, it accounts for 30% of all Russian mineral water and over 70% of its thermal water resources. (source

Going up to Gil-Su



Sultan waterfall during winter

Lago-Naki, Adygea (Western Caucasus mountains)

Lago-Naki plateau is located at 2.200 meters altitude, in the eastern part of Adygea (and western part of neighboring Krasnodar-Krai).

70 millions of years ago, Lago-Naki plateau was the bottom of Tethys Ocean.

Lagonaki is listed as UNESCO World Heritage site, still the Russian authorities have approved plans for a ski resort in Lagonaki, which will negatively impact the pristine environment. Russia Allows Ski Resort in Caucasus World Heritage Site

Tyrnyauz, Kabardino-Balkaria


Tyrnyauz (which means”narrow gorge” in Balkar language) is a small city located at the foothills of western Caucasus mountains, 40 km from Elbrus mountain (the highest of Europe).

It first appeared on the map as settlement built around Tyrnyauzsky mine, which is no longer operating and sits in ruins. In 1955, the settlement received town status.

In July 2000, a succession of three massive mudslide virtually buried the city, but the media reports on the incident were scarce – a move taken most probably in order to not discourage tourism in the area. The authorities were blamed for negligence in alerting the local population. More info here Rescue Workers Fear Mudslide Death Toll Could Rise

The town’s infrastructure was restored quickly as it is the main stopover on the way to Elbrus mountain.

Kahib, Dagestan (Eastern Caucasus mountains)

Caucasus mountains Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 10

Kahib was built between the 8th and 10th centuries by the Avars. It is located in Shamilsky district of central Dagestan.

The word ” Kahib ” is derived from the Georgian word ” Kahi “, which means scarce highland.

The old and current village are divided by a river valley, which also made the old village hard to access.

Its walls, like many structures of the Caucasus mountains, are adorned with pagan symbolism and solar signs, part of their religion before the conversion to Islam.


Caucasus mountains Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 3

Caucasus mountains Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 1

Caucasus mountains Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus

Caucasus mountains Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 5

tower in Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus

arched entrance Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 14

ancient symbols Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 12

medieval art symbols Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 21

medieval art symbols Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 22

Symbols of the pre-muslim Pagan religion

Kahib village Dagestan North Caucasus 7

Kahib in 1923

Kahib in 1923