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Wander Lord

Interesting on art, nature, people, history

Altai – land of people and gods

Altai - land of people and gods

Altai – land of people and gods


The great philosopher and painter Nicholas Roerich called Altai the cradle of peoples, the center from which mankind once settled our planet. It is rare to find such a variety of natural phenomena and such an abundance of contrasts, as here. The ancient cultural monuments are preserved in its original form here. This is a land that keeps many mysteries that are still waiting for their researchers.
In the Ulagansky district there are five large mounds which resemble the graves of tribal leaders of the Scythian period (V-IV century BC).
From 1929 to 1949, several archaeological expeditions carried out their excavations. Unique items were found in the burial chambers: the world’s oldest knotted-pile carpet, lushly decorated saddles, a four horse chariot and much more. Interestingly, at that time the Assyrians, Persians, Greeks and other peoples with a developed culture did not yet have saddles.

Musical instruments were also found – a multi-string harp and a tambourine. But the main mystery was that there were no weapons, although the Scythians considered themselves primarily warriors.
These burial mounds are called “miracle graves”. They are associated with the people of the Chud tribe, who once lived (and according to legend are still living) in these places.
Five huge smooth plates covered with petroglyphs are in the Chui steppe. Their height is from six to seven meters. The stones are laid out in a strict circle and are oriented to the sides of the world. Each stone weighs several tons and is brought from a terrain, at least 500 kilometers away. These five plates are called the Altai Stonehenge. Stones have different electric charges. It is a kind of generator of electromagnetic waves. If you stand in its center, you get the feeling that you are dragging into a kind of funnel. The Altai Stonehenge is presumably dated back to the 8th-6th centuries BC.
The Ukok Plateau became famous throughout the world, when in 1993 archaeologists discovered a mummified body at the Ak-Alah burial ground, the estimated age of which is two and a half thousand years. It was called The Princess of Ukok. Altai shamans are sure that this body is the legendary ancestor of their people. Once in ancient times, its burial was desecrated, and because of this all the troubles of these places began.
Another stone riddle of Altai is the so-called geoglyphs, huge images, which can only be seen from a bird’s eye view. Their origin and meaning are still incomprehensible. The drawings are similar to geometric figures or animals. Some of them resemble rock paintings of mythological griffins, described even in ancient Egyptian and Assyrian literature. Figures are separated by clear lines, similar to spears and arrows.

Interesting facts
– There are more than 17 thousand rivers and about 13 thousand lakes in the Altai Territory.
– 70% of the territory is occupied by the Ob basin.
– 32 rivers of the Altai Territory have a length of more than 100 km, 3 rivers – over 500 km.
– Some lakes do not freeze even in the most severe frosts, for example, Lake Bolshoye Yarovoye.
– The city-resort of federal significance Belokurikha is famous for its unique climate and mineral springs. Even today it is the only center of the rehabilitation medicine of the federal level beyond the Urals.
– The largest area of arable land in Russia – 6.5 million hectares of plowed land – is located on the territory of the Altai Territory.
– In the Altai Mountains there is the highest peak of all Siberia, the snow-white Belukha beauty with a height of 4509 meters.
– The rare animals in the Altai Mountains are snow leopards (irbis), argali mountain sheep, red wolves.

Altai – land of people and gods

Paintings by Grigory Ivanovich Gurkin (Choros-Gurkin)