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.

Upper Balkaria

Kyunlyum village north caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery eastern europe

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful l scenery

Upper Balkaria is a historic region and rural settlement in Cherek district, Kabardino-Balkaria republic. It is located in Cherek-Balkaria valley of the Western Caucasus mountains and it’s rich in medieval dwellings, stone towers and castles which make up the archaeological and tourist complex “Upper Balkaria. Sadly, most were destroyed by the Soviets after the deportation of the Balkars in 1944.

In 1942, the NKVD (Stalin’s secret police) lynched up to 1.500 people in 2 villages from the Cherek valley in Upper Balkaria – mostly women, children and elderly, as the men were fighting on the front.

In 1944, the Balkars were deported by Stalin to Central Asia and about half of them died due to the unbearable conditions. The survivors returned in 1957 after Stalin’s death but found most of their villages destroyed.

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus beautiful natural landscapes

Ruins of Kyunlyum village and its rock battle tower

Rock tower Kyunlyum village north caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery eastern europe

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains

Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains natural scenery eastern europe

Abayev tower Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus

Medieval crypts

Medieval pagan crypts

Cherek canyon Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus beautiful natural landscapes

ruins Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria village caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Cherek canyon Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria mosque and north caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria north caucasus canyon

Верхняя Балкария

Upper Balkaria mosque north caucasus

Upper Balkaria village north caucasus

village upper Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains natural scenery

Upper Balkaria caucasus mountains eastern europe

Medieval crypts

Medieval pagan crypts

Amirkhana rock fortress

Amirkhana rock fortress

Amirkhana rock tower Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria stone towers fortresses caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful natural landscapes

Upper Balkaria village caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria villages north caucasus eastern europe

Boziev castle ruins

Boziev castle ruins

View from rock castle

View from rock castle

Remains of the battle tower near the village Zylgi

ruins in Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains

castle fortress Upper Balkaria caucasus mountains

Castle Boziev Cherek canyon Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria canyon caucasus mountains

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus landscapes

Cherek canyon north caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria Cherek canyon caucasus mountains natural landscapes

Upper Balkaria canyon caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery eastern europe

Cherek canyon Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains landscapes

abaeva tower Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains natural scenery

Cherek canyon Upper Balkaria north caucasus landscapes

Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful natural landscape eastern europe

Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery eastern europe

rock towers Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria rock towers caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria Kabardino-Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria north caucasus mountains beautiful natural landscapes

Upper Balkaria villages caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

Upper Balkaria village caucasus mountains beautiful natural landscapes

Upper Balkaria Kabardino Balkaria north caucasus mountains landscapes eastern europe

Upper Balkaria caucasus mountains beautiful natural landscapes

Upper Balkaria Abayeva caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery

old tower Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains

Kabardino-Balkaria north caucasus mountains eastern europe

Kyunlyum village 1936 (before deportation and destruction)

Kyunlyum village 1936 before deportation and destruction – although some towers has been destroyed by Tsarist armies one century earlier, the residences were still intact. They were blown up by soviets in 1944.

Kyunlyum before destruction

Kyunlyum villagers

Kyunlyum villagers

Balkar women of Kyunlyum

Balkar women of Kyunlyum

Kabardino-Balkaria Kyunlyum past north caucasus mountains landscapes

Upper Balkaria Kyunlyum deportees past north caucasus mountains landscapes

Upper Balkaria night caucasus mountains beautiful natural scenery