Arkhyz, Russia


Arkhyz is a village in the Zelenchuk region of Karachay-Cherkessia. The administrative center of the Arkhyz rural settlement. It is located in the basin of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River.

The “mountainous region of Arkhyz” includes the upper part (upper reaches) of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk gorge and its tributaries, including the villages of Arkhyz and Nizhny Arkhyz. The settlement is located at the bottom of a large depression, on a river terrace (1450-1500 m).



This mountainous region is located in the Western Caucasus between the spurs of the Main Range. From the north and northwest, it is bounded by the long Abishira-Akhuba ridge (a spur of the Lateral ridge), separating it from the basin of the Chilik, Urup and Kyafar rivers. From the east, the Uzhum ridge rises, which is a watershed between the Marukha and Kizgych rivers.

In the south, the Arkhyz region closes the Main Caucasian ridge with rocky peaks and significant glaciers. The largest of them are Sofiyskiy, Bolshoi Kizgychskiy and Psyshskiy. Between the sources of the Kizgych and Psysh rivers, to the north of the Main ridge, spurs branch off with the dominating peak Sofia (3637 m) over the surrounding mountains, which is considered the symbol of Arkhyz. Its ridge, which abruptly drops off to the north, forms the Sofia saddle and is connected to the Cheget-Chat ridge by a watershed between the Sofia and Kizgych rivers. To the northwest of Sofia, parallel to the Cheget-Chat ridge, the Sofia ridge with rocky peaks Dzash-Kaya (3354 m) and Kush-Kaya (3226 m) branches off.

From the south-west and west, the region is bounded by the Arkasar ridge with the Zakzan-Syrt peak (3096 m). It is connected by a low cofferdam to the Abishira-Akhuba ridge, forming the Phiya Pass. The Arkasar ridge is a watershed between the Bolshoy Zelenchuk and Bolshaya Laba basins.

South of the Dukka pass from the Arkasar ridge to the north, the short Gabulu-Chat ridge branches off. Its highest point is Goryacheva Rock (3045 m). The highest point of the Arkhyz region is the Pshish peak (3790 m).

The main waterway is Bolshoi Zelenchuk, with a length of about 170 kilometers (from the confluence of the Psysh and Kizgych rivers to the confluence of the Kuban). The most abundant tributary of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk is the Psysh with its tributaries Sofia, Amanauz, Belaya, Kyzyl-su, Koshevaya. The tributaries of the Rechepsta and Dukka flow into the Arkhyz river. The latter receives the waters of Malaya Dukka and Temir-Kulak. Maly Kizgych, Bugoy-Chat, Chigordali and others flow into Kizgych.

There are more than 75 lakes in the distant surroundings of Arkhyz. They are concentrated in the alpine zone at an altitude of 2300 to 2850 meters above sea level. There are 13 lakes in the Morg-Syrt tract, in the Kizgych basins - 15, Sofia - 7, Psysh - 17, Dukka - 18, Rechepsty - 3. Directly the village of Arkhyz is located on the left bank of Bolshoi Zelenchuk at an altitude of 1470 meters above sea level.



The vegetation of the Arkhyz region is very diverse. There are over 140 species of tree and shrub species here. In the upper reaches of the Kizgych, a unique area of ​​the fir forest has been preserved. Kizgych firs reach 60 meters in height and one and a half meters in girth. Some specimens live up to 700 years. This forest area is a remnant of those forest areas that dominated the North Caucasus in the past centuries. Also in Arkhyz relict plants of the Tertiary period have been preserved: Caucasian pine, spruce, yew, Caucasian plane tree (beech), three-leafed watch.

The upper border of the forest is closed by a low-growing birch, which is replaced by thickets of rhododendron and subalpine meadows. Even higher is the belt of alpine meadows, reaching the border of eternal snows and glaciers.

Among the wild animals in this mountainous area live: Caucasian deer, bison, bear, tur, chamois, wild boar, wolf, lynx, fox, wild cat, marten, etc. There are at least 150 species of birds. Of the greatest interest are the Caucasian black grouse, the chukar, the snowcock and the largest birds in the world: the brown vulture, the griffon vulture, the vulture and the bearded lamb.



The heights of the Abishir-Akhuba ridge, which protect Arkhyz from cold winds, make the climate of Arkhyz mild and extremely favorable. The average annual temperature is about + 5 ° С, the average temperature in July is + 15 ° С, in January - −5.5 ° С. The winter, snowy and mild, lasts four months; the first snow usually falls in mid or early November. Summer in Arkhyz is not hot, there is no stuffiness in summer, thanks to the fresh mountain air. Autumn is dry and bright. The number of sunny days per year reaches three hundred. The greatest amount of precipitation falls in May. Due to the direction of the valley from east to west, in summer it is illuminated by the sun for an unusually long time - from 6 am to 7 pm.



The history of the development of the region begins in ancient times.

Archaeological finds allow us to establish that at the end of the II millennium BC in these places lived tribes-carriers of the Koban culture.

Along the Bolshoy Zelenchuk valley through modern Arkhyz and further to the Bolshoi Laba valley through the Phiya pass, then through the Sancharo pass to Pskhu, and finally through the Dou to the Gumista valley, an ancient trade route passed, connecting the North Caucasus with the Black Sea coast in Dioscuriada (Sukhum). Moreover, this route was a fragment of the Great Silk Road from China through Central Asia to the Black Sea and further to Europe.

Most of the monuments were left behind by the Alans, who lived here from the beginning of the 1st millennium until 1396, when the cavalry of Tamerlane passed through the Caucasus in a squall. In the IV century, the Huns invaded the Caucasus, seizing the Alanian state. On the territory of Arkhyz was the capital of Alania - Maas (Nizhne-Arkhyz settlement).

During the existence of the Alanian state, Arkhyz became one of the centers of early Christianity. Here are the remains of a large medieval Nizhne-Arkhyz settlement, on the territory of which three Christian churches have survived. They were built by masters of the Byzantine school in the middle of the 10th century, several decades before the appearance of the first Christian religious buildings in Ancient Russia. On the other bank of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River, a rock image of Christ the Savior, created in the 10th century, was discovered.


Rock image of Christ the Savior. X century

On the wall of the "Northern" church in 1802, Major Potemkin, who visited Nizhny Arkhyz, discovered the image of Nicholas the Wonderworker and the inscription in Greek "St. Nicholas the Patron of Aspe". It is also possible that “Aspe” is the name of the Alanian capital.

In the XIV century, due to climate change, avalanches began to pose a serious threat to the inhabitants of the village. Until now, in the area of ​​Arkhyz, in the tract "Old dwelling", you can see the remains of powerful barrage structures. But after a plague epidemic broke out at this time, the valley was abandoned.

The modern development of the valley began at the beginning of the 20th century. Founded here in 1922, a small Karachai village was named - "Old dwelling", but the name did not catch on and a few years later the village began to be called Arkhyz.

During World War II, Arkhyz became the site of fierce battles for the mountain passes leading to the Transcaucasus. After the war, part of the region (the valley of the Kizgych River) was included in the Teberda State Reserve.



Modern Arkhyz is a settlement with a population of over four hundred inhabitants. The basis of their existence is the reserve, forestry, resort and tourist business, a bottling plant of the same name (carbonic mineral waters are brought to the surface in the Arkhyz valley). In the Arkhyz area there are a number of tourist centers and sanatoriums - tourist centers "Arkhyz", "Alania", "Sulakhat", "Narat", "Pine Coast", the base of the University "RGEU RINH" (РГЭУ РИНХ), boarding houses "Energetik", "Krasnaya Skala", "Ministry of Internal Affairs "In the village, the tourist center" Romance "in the valley of the Arkhyz river, the tourist center" Taulu "in the Sofia valley and others.

Arkhyz can be called one of the main tourist centers of the Caucasus. The area allows you to make mountain hikes of the first or fourth category of difficulty. Bolshoi Zelenchuk is popular with water tourists. Relatively safe, it allows you to make hikes of the third category of difficulty, at the same time without having more difficult and dangerous obstacles. In recent years, equestrian, rafting, cycling and other types of tourism have been developing in Arkhyz. The region is also promising for climbers.

The largest astrophysical observatory is located in the Nizhny Arkhyz area, which includes BTA, the largest optical telescope in Russia with a mirror diameter of 6 meters. Downstream of the Bolshoy Zelenchuk River, near the Zelenchukskaya stanitsa, the RATAN-600 radio telescope operates, which has the largest receiving antenna diameter in the world - 600 meters.