Ru / En


Spiritual Enrichment

Altai Republic
Sacred Natural Sites in Altai

The entire area of Altai is often referred to as a ‘sacred place’. But this has more to do with the cumulative effect of the general narrative: there are, indeed, many places in Altai that have been considered sacred and spiritually powerful over the centuries. They can be distinguished from other tourist sites and natural wonders by additional demands on the traveller – it is recommended to visit sacred natural sites (or, as they are sometimes called, power vortexes) with elevated awareness, a specific request, an open heart and deep respect for local spirits, traditions and history.

Sacred Natural Sites in Altai

Petroglyphic Complexes

These are the places where the ancient people left detailed, fascinating tales of their lives to future generations. You can touch and feel the outlines of the petroglyphs, feel the depth of images carved into rock by stone tools. The most famous among them are the Kalbak-Tash sanctuary and the Elangash valley at the foot of Mount Iiktu.

Kurgans and Ancient Burial Mounds

These places have historically enticed both tourists and professional archaeologists. The Ukok Plateau, which glorified Altai with a unique find, the perfectly preserved body of a woman – the Princess of Ukok or the Siberian Snow Maiden, would be enough to mention in the context. The Ak-Alakha-3 burial mound was made c. the 3rd–5th century BC, but the artefacts and remains discovered inside in 1993 turned out to be almost untouched by time and made it possible to establish not only the woman's age but also the cause of her death. The Princess herself, by the way, was not at all happy about this: the earthquake with the epicentre right in the middle of the barrow that followed her discovery is commonly associated with the revenge of the disturbed woman. On top of that, it is believed that talking on the plateau should only be done under one’s breath so as not to displease the local spirits.

Mountain Peaks

The indigenous population has a long-standing ban on climbing some of the local mountain tops. Among them, for example, is the Uch-Enmek peak in the Karakol valley, where ancient sanctuaries are located, and Mount Belukha, the highest point in the Altai Mountains. Belukha, equidistant from the world's oceans and allegedly connected with Everest by an invisible energy bridge, is associated with many mysterious beliefs and superstitions. For example, shamans claim that Belukha is the entrance to Shambhala. Another legend has it that one day a city, destined to become the starting point of a new era of civilisation, will emerge at the foot of Belukha.

River Confluences and Lakes

This long list of ‘energetically charged’ and spiritually significant water sites includes the confluence of the Chuya and Katun rivers, the mystical Lake of Mountain Spirits, and Lake Akkem at the foot of Belukha, known as a place of physical and spiritual healing.