Erzi, Russia


Erzi (Ing. Arzi - "Eagle") is a state natural reserve located in the Dzheyrakh and Sunzha regions of Ingushetia, Russia.



The reserve was established on December 21, 2000 by the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 992 on the territory of the part of the federal nature reserve "Ingush". Initially, the area of ​​the reserve was 5,970 hectares. The protected zone was formed by the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Ingushetia No. 326 dated October 23, 1999. Its area was 34 940 hectares (according to the Regulations on the State Institution "Erzi State Natural Reserve", approved on December 20, 2000 (as amended on March 17, 2005) .)). In accordance with the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 1446-r dated October 3, 2009, the territory of the Erzi reserve has been expanded by 29322 hectares in the Sunzhensky and Dzheyrakhsky districts of the Republic of Ingushetia. Thus, the territory of this reserve has increased almost 6 times and is 35,292 hectares.

Geographic information
The reserve is located on the northern macroslope of the Greater Caucasus, in the Dzheyrakh-Assinsk depression and the Rocky Range mountains adjacent to it from the north. The largest rivers in the territory of the reserve are Assa and Armkhi, which belong to the Terek river basin. About a third of the territory is occupied by forests: on the northern slopes of the mountains there are areas of oak and beech forests, sometimes with an admixture of Norway maple. Sea buckthorn, willow and gray alder grow in the floodplains of rivers. Above 1500 meters on the slopes, hooked pine with an admixture of oak, birch, hornbeam, linden, mountain ash. Further, there is a birch crooked forest with an undergrowth of Caucasian rhododendron, and above 2000 meters, mountain steppes and meadows, above which are alpine meadows. Above 3500 meters there is a belt of glaciers and snowfields.



Such rare species as bezoar goat, tur, chamois, forest cat live here; of birds - Caucasian snowcock, golden eagle, peregrine falcon.



More than 180 species of rare plants grow, including many endemics of the Caucasus. There are unique natural objects - an array of hooked pine, thickets of sea buckthorn.



One of the largest tower complexes in Ingushetia is located on the territory of the reserve. The tower complex is located at the end of the mountain range in the Dzheyrakh gorge and includes 8 combat towers, 2 semi-combat towers and 47 residential towers encircled by stone defensive walls.

The battle towers are up to 30 meters high, at their base are square (from 4.8 m to 5.8 m), mainly in five floors (one 6-storey) with pyramidal-stepped roofs.

In one of these towers, in the 19th century, a bronze figure of an eagle was discovered, made at the end of the 8th century AD, known as the "Eagle of Suleiman".