Nalchik, Russia


Description of Nalchik

Nalchikis a city in the south of Russia, the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. It is included in the municipality "City District Nalchik." It bears the honorary title of "City of Military Glory." Being in itself a rather large city, Nalchik is also a resort similar to the cities of the Caucasian Mineral Waters, as well as an important intermediate point on the way to mountain attractions such as Elbrus region.

Perhaps there are no first-class sights in Nalchik, although some examples of Stalinist and modern architecture, a large and pleasant park for walking, silhouettes of high mountains on the horizon and a noticeable Caucasian flavor are of some interest.



The city is located on the banks of the river of the same name, at the foot of the Greater Caucasus, at an altitude of 400 to 800 meters. Nalchik suburbs stretch far to the north, closer to flat land. To the south-west of the railway station there are quarters of the Soviet center, rectangular on the map, where the main administrative and residential buildings are concentrated; its main artery is Lenin Avenue. To the south, they pass into a huge park, and then into a sanatorium-resort zone. If in the city center the mountains are visible in the prospects of the streets, then here they come almost close.


Getting in

The most convenient way to get to Nalchik is through the cities of Caucasian Mineralnye Vody, the nearest of which is Pyatigorsk.

By plane
As of December 2016, you can fly to Nalchik daily from Moscow (Pobeda, UTair), there are less frequent flights to St. Petersburg (Pobeda) and Istanbul (Onur Air). The nearest major airport nearby is Mineralnye Vody, there is no information about direct transport from it to Nalchik, but you can definitely get there with a transfer in Pyatigorsk or the city of Mineralnye Vody itself.

1  Airport , Kabardinskaya street, 195. ☎ +7 (800) 222-86-62. It is located within the city, which somewhat simplifies the traditional North Caucasian problem of transport to the airport. The terminal itself is very small and cramped; in the waiting room or in the baggage claim room, all the passengers of the flight can hardly fit. An incredible number of taxi drivers gather on the square near the terminal for the arrival of the flight. There is also the final bus route number 17, passing through almost all the key points of the city.

By train
As of December 2016, a direct carriage runs from Moscow to Nalchik, it takes about 1.5 days on the way. On the same train it is convenient to travel from Rostov-on-Don, it turns out exactly one night on the way. There are no other long-distance trains from Nalchik.

Commuter trains: two pairs a day to Mineralnye Vody (3.5 hours), passing the Prokhladnaya junction station along the way, and one more pair to this station itself, through which trains going to the Eastern Caucasus pass.

2  Railway station , Osetinskaya street, 132a. 6:00–19:30.

By car
The city is located on the P217 highway (formerly M29), which branches off from the M4 in the Krasnodar Territory and leads through the entire North Caucasus to the border with Azerbaijan. To the west along it to Pyatigorsk is 84 km, then to Rostov-on-Don 600 km, and to Moscow 1700 km. To the east, 120 km to Vladikavkaz, 210 km to Grozny.

By bus
Bus routes from Nalchik cover the entire south of Russia. The most active movement outside Kabardino-Balkaria is to the cities of the Caucasian Mineralnye Vody, as well as to Stavropol, Vladikavkaz, Nazran and Grozny. You can get to almost any place in the republic by buses and minibuses.

There are two bus stations in the city. The main one is located on the outskirts of the city near the airport, all intercity flights and a significant part of suburban flights depart from it. The second bus station is located near the city market.

3 Bus station No. 1 (AV-1, intercity), Temryuk Idarov street, 124a. ☎ reference +7 (8662) 91-59-53. There is a small waiting room, which also houses ticket offices - long-distance tickets must be taken there. There is also a small buffet, but apparently there are no souvenirs there.
4 Bus station No. 2 (AV-2, suburban), Pacheva street, 54 (near the Green market). Pretty chaotic bus stop.


Around the city

Represented by buses, trolleybuses and minibuses. The fare (2016) in buses and trolleybuses is 13 rubles, in minibuses - 15 rubles (after 20:00 - 20 rubles). Pay attention to the bus and minibus number 17, they connect almost all the key points of the city: the airport, the train station, both bus stations, the market, the city park and the city center.

During rush hours, be prepared for the fact that people are stuffed into minibuses like sprats in a jar: the regular capacity of the crew can easily be exceeded one and a half times. At the same time, passengers usually try to compact themselves in the seats, so that three or four people can sit on a pair of seats (especially if there are children among them).



Nalchik is essentially a resort, so all its sights (if they do not include institutions of the Kabardian and Balkar cultures) one way or another have a resort connotation. If you are only interested in educational tourism, a few hours will be enough for you in the city, a large part of which will be spent visiting museums.

City center
In the center of Nalchik, it is difficult to single out any individual sights. It is logical to take a short walk in this part of the city and feel its general flavor, especially if you are going to visit museums and / or the market. Even in the center of Nalchik, there is a garden city with wide alleys of streets, in the perspectives of which one can sometimes see high mountains (however, their most impressive panoramas open from the park). You can easily see at least two "five-thousanders": Dykhtau and Koshtantau, the second and third highest mountains of the Caucasus and Russia (but Elbrus, unfortunately, is closed by less high, but closer peaks). The urban layout is such that in the courtyards, behind the front Soviet buildings of the streets, houses of pre-revolutionary construction are sometimes preserved, but it is unlikely that any of them will impress you.

If we still talk about any individual objects, then most often the Square of Concord with a light and music fountain in front of the building of the republican parliament appears as a postcard view. On another square, in front of the musical theater building, there is a monument to the 400th anniversary of the annexation of Kabarda to Russia, often more historically correct called "Forever with Russia", which depicts Maria Temryukovna, one of the wives of Ivan the Terrible. From the point of view of architecture, perhaps the most beautiful building in the city is the stalinka of the railway station, there are several modern front buildings on Lenin Avenue, including even the “gates” of two symmetrical buildings. Finally, there is a pedestrian Kabardinskaya street in Nalchik.

The only attraction that can be called such without any questions is located on the edge of the city, but not on the south, where the park is, but on the opposite northwest:

Stalin's dacha, Calm microdistrict. A whimsical dacha of the early 20th century in the Art Nouveau style (the base of the building is brick, but the decorative elements and extensions are wooden) belonged to a Rostov merchant before the revolution. During the civil war, he emigrated, and the dacha was transferred to state use. In the 1920s, it also acquired historical significance, Stalin rested here several times, and now the dacha is primarily associated with his name. Now the building is used by the Faculty of Biology of the KBSU, whose botanical garden adjoins the dacha.


What to do

House-Museum Marko Vovchok, ul. Marko Vovchok, 3 (Dolynsk).



1 Green market, Tolstoy, Pachev, M. Gorky, Akhokhov streets. The main city market, orientally large and crowded. Almost everything is sold here, and for travelers it may be of interest to local goods.
2 Deya Shopping Center, 320 Kirova Street. 9:00–24:00. Large shopping center near the main bus station. There is a hypermarket with a large selection of local pastries, as well as several cafes with a variety of cuisines. There are apparently no souvenir shops. WiFi.
3  Goat market, Kanukoev street (south of Atazhukinsky garden). except Mon. A large selection of various (including quality) knitted products, as well as souvenirs. It is advised to come to the market in the morning.



Almost all hotels are located in the resort area and are either sanatoriums or rebuilt from them.



The name of the city comes from the hydronym Nalchik, the etymology of which remains unclear. There is a well-established point of view that the name of the city is based on the word nal - “horseshoe”, which is present both in the Kabardino-Circassian and Karachay-Balkarian languages and borrowed, according to some sources, from the Persian language. The horseshoe is the emblem of the city. Problems arise with the explanation of the -chik element. This can be a transformation of the Kabardian schych - “tearing off” (a horseshoe ground) or the Turkic diminutive formant chik - “small”.


History of Nalchik

Foundation of the fortress
The fortress of Nalchik was founded by General Yermolov in 1818 (or in 1822; also, according to some sources, the first information about the settlement dates back to 1724). The military settlement at the fortress was founded in 1838, transformed into a settlement in 1871, in which 3.5 thousand people lived at that time. From 1871 to 1901 the population of the settlement increased to 5096 people.

Soviet period
Nalchik received city status on September 1, 1921.

During the Great Patriotic War, Nalchik was occupied by German troops from October 28, 1942 to January 3, 1943 (see Nalchik-Ordzhonikidze operation (1942)) and was significantly destroyed. In the city park, the Eternal Flame burns in memory of those who died during the Great Patriotic War. In addition, evidence of the bloody battles of those years can be seen in other places in the city - a T-34 tank is installed as a monument near the viaduct next to the elevator, and a cannon near the local history museum; on the territory of secondary school No. 9, which served as a hospital during the war, there are graves of two soldiers. The liberation of Nalchik was carried out by the troops of the 37th Army of the Northern Group of Forces of the Transcaucasian Front together with the partisans of Kabardino-Balkaria.

Immediately after the liberation of the city from occupation, its restoration began. Soon they began to give products to the mill, the meat processing plant. Already on March 15, telephone communication was established with 13 regional centers, the restored bridges and roads made it possible to open railway traffic in the Nalchik-Prokhladny section. In June 1943, the Kabardian Drama Theater resumed its work, a philharmonic society was opened, schools and medical institutions began to work.

The restoration of peaceful life was overshadowed by the tragic events in the history of the Balkar people. On March 8, 1944, his forced deportation began. In 14 echelons, the special settlers were sent from the Nalchik railway station to an indefinite exile in Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.

The city has a regular network of streets built up mainly with multi-storey residential and administrative buildings of the 1950s-1970s. In the 1960s and 1970s, Nalchik was landscaped according to a new master plan approved in 1966, corresponding to the status of a resort city. A distinctive feature of urban development was that between the main streets with high-rise buildings there were entire blocks of private houses, many of which were built before the revolution. They seem to be hidden so as not to introduce an imbalance into the splendor of the main streets.

On July 13, 1968, riots took place in the city. The reason for the riots was rumors spreading in the Central Market that a detainee had been killed in the police stronghold in the market for disturbing public order. The gathered crowd broke into the premises of the checkpoint and released the detainee. However, rumors of "murders" at the stronghold continued to circulate. During the day, the crowd several times stormed the office of the local policeman, who was eventually killed. Appeals for calm from representatives of the city and republican authorities who spoke to the crowd, as well as the efforts of the military personnel of the city garrison to restore order, were inconclusive. The riots stopped only in the evening. As a result, about 30 people were prosecuted, of which three were sentenced to death.

By the mid-1980s, certain phenomena and trends emerged in the life of the city that determined its further history. Along with external well-being and well-being, there were a number of problems in the life of the townspeople. Thus, the bus service within the city was irregular, the bus fleet was worn out, most of the city's roads, especially on the outskirts, were not paved or were constantly dug up due to repairs of communications, which took months. The number of telephones in the city was extremely low, especially in the private sector of development.



With the beginning of the 1990s, marked by the collapse of the Soviet Union, perhaps the most difficult times began for the city of Nalchik, and for Kabardino-Balkaria as a whole. People will call the 15-year period in the history of the republic the era of V. M. Kokov, the first president of the KBR. During the August coup in 1991, a crowd gathered in front of the House of Soviets demanded that the monument to Lenin be removed. It has been dismantled. Nalchik becomes the capital of the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. All institutions of power of an independent subject of the Federation are located in the city.

From September 24 to October 4, 1992, a rally was held in Nalchik, which began with demands for the release of Yu. Shanibov, president of the Confederation of Mountain Peoples of the Caucasus (KGNK), and ended with calls for the resignation of the republic's leadership. The Republic was on the brink of war. It all started with the detention by representatives of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation of the President of the Confederation of the Peoples of the Caucasus, Yuri Shanibov (the detention was associated with his decree on the KGNK, ordering all military formations of the Confederation to break into Abkhazia, overcoming any resistance with battles - in the conditions of the beginning of the Georgian-Abkhaz war, in which the KGNK took the side of Abkhazia). The leadership of the republic, considering the events in Nalchik as an attempt to seize power, was forced to make concessions, such as assistance in the release of Shanibov, early parliamentary elections, a complete renewal of the Electoral Commission, and others.

In 1993, Nalchik was a rather sad sight. Just like in all of Russia, the collapse of the USSR and the severance of industrial ties led to the fact that most of the city's enterprises were closed, workers were fired and left to their own devices in search of a livelihood. Unemployment has increased every year. At operating enterprises, wage arrears reached several years. A rapid outflow of the able-bodied population, mainly qualified personnel, began. The city economy and transport fell into decay, the roads were destroyed, the houses were shabby. City markets began to grow spontaneously - dirty, unfurnished, where you could buy anything you wanted. By 1995, the situation worsened even more when, at the invitation of President V. M. Kokov, refugees from Chechnya were placed in sanatoriums and rest homes. The entire resort area and the city park fell into decay and almost completely fell out of sight of the city authorities.

At the same time, despite the drop in living standards in the republic, the huge increase in unemployment and wage arrears, political stability was maintained in the republic.

1997 was a turning point for Nalchik in many respects. The city authorities made the first attempts to improve the city. The reorganized trust "Gorzelenkhoz" took up active decoration and gardening of the city and the city park. These efforts have borne fruit. Real achievements in greening the city, putting the streets in order, landscaping the park area, as well as, to some extent, the inactivity of industrial enterprises (and as a result, the absence of environmental pollution) allowed the city of Nalchik in 1997, 1998, 2003, and then in 2007 take 3rd, 1st, 3rd and 3rd places, respectively, in the All-Russian competition for the title of "The most comfortable city in Russia" among cities of the first category. From that moment on, the city receives quite significant funds for improvement. By Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of October 31, 1999 No. 1203, the city of Nalchik was approved as a resort of federal significance.

In October 2005, the city was attacked by Islamist militants. Another attack on the city, on a smaller scale, was launched in February 2011.



On March 25, 2010, by the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev, Nalchik was awarded the honorary title "City of Military Glory".

Within the framework of the project "City of Russia" National Choice-2017, Nalchik entered the top five cities in the country, taking fifth place.

The Domofond portal conducted a survey of citizens of the country on the ecology of their cities, according to the results of which Nalchik took sixth place. According to a survey by the same portal, Nalchik took second place in the rating of friendliness among Russian cities.


Physical and geographical characteristics

Geographical position

Geomorphologically, the considered territory of the city is confined to the area of transition of low foothills into a sloping foothill plain. Directly from the south, the region is bounded by one of the ridges of the Wooded Range, 800-1000 meters above sea level. The highest point within the city is Mount Nartia - 999.8 meters above sea level. From the north, the Wooded Range adjoins a hilly area, cut through by many rivers and gullies. The outlines of the hills are usually soft, smoothed. The average height of the foothills is 550-700 m above sea level. The foothills gradually pass into the Kabardian Plain, to which the main part of the urban area belongs.

Nalchik is located in the central part of the republic, on both banks of the Nalchik river of the same name (Terek basin), at a latitude of 43°29' and a longitude of 43°37'. The area of the urban district is 131 km2, of which 67 km2 fall directly on the land of the city of Nalchik.

Nalchik is located in the MSK (Moscow time) time zone. The offset of the applicable time from UTC is +3:00. In accordance with the applied time and geographic longitude, the average solar noon in Nalchik occurs at 12:06.

The city is located in the foothill zone of the republic. From the west, south and east it is surrounded by ridges of the northern slope of the Wooded Range. The ridge has a steep, almost steep slope in the south and a more gentle northern part, and in the form of a horseshoe surrounds the city of Nalchik from three sides. The outlines of the uplands of the Wooded Range are mostly soft and smoothed. In the north, the southwestern tip of the Kabardian foothill plain, with an inclined wavy relief, adjoins the Wooded Range. The average altitude in the city is 512 meters above sea level. The highest point of the city is Mount Bolshaya Kizilovka (849 m), the height of which drops to a minimum of 420 meters in the north of the city.



The Nalchik river of the same name flows through the lands of the city, as well as the rivers Shalushka (in the north-west of the city) and Dry Shalushka (in the west of the city). Along the valley of the Nalchik River in the territory of the city park there are four lakes, the largest of which are the First Lake and the Fourth (Resort) Lake. To the south of the city there are several impounded lakes used to regulate the flow of the Nalchik River. On the territory of the city there are 18 mineral springs of various physical and chemical composition. In general, the lands of the city are abundantly provided with water. Groundwater is mainly found at a depth of 3-5 meters. The Nalchik River is the only green strip that connects the lower part of the city with the upper one.



The ecological state of the resort city of Nalchik is generally stable. The only large polluting enterprise on the lands of the city is JSC Hydrometallurg, which produces tungsten anhydride and molybdenum concentrate. For several years now, the republic's Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology has been demanding the suspension of the plant's operations, but the trial continues.



The climate of the city is the climate of the foothill zone. The relative proximity of the Main Caucasian Range has a significant impact on the development of climate on the lands of the district. The formation of the climate of the city is significantly influenced by its protection from the direct invasion of cold air. A characteristic feature is the daily fluctuations in air temperature, mainly in summer, associated with local mountains and valley winds (mountain breezes). Average air temperatures range from +25°…+28° in July to -3°…-5°С in January. The average annual air temperature is 9.6°C. The highest air temperature is observed at the end of July, and the lowest - at the end of January or at the beginning of February. Thaws up to +15°С and higher are possible. The average annual rainfall is about 600 mm. The value of relative humidity is unstable. The average annual humidity is 78%, reaching a maximum in winter (85–86%), and a minimum in summer (68–69%). The prevailing wind directions throughout the year are southwest, east and northeast.




Nalchik is a large industrial center. The following plants are located in the city: machine-building (equipment of trucks, mainly KRAZ, for geological exploration and mining), electronics (Nalchik plant of semiconductor devices, NZPP OJSC, manufactures products for the needs of the Military Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation, Telemechanika, Nalchik Electrovacuum Plant , "Sevkavelektropribor", which produced, among other things, defense products), metalworking ("Chertsvetmet"); plant of artificial leather and raincoat fabrics "Iskozh"; a halvich plant producing a wide range of food products, including sparkling water and beer; confectionery factory "Nalchik-sweetness" (founded in 2004); elevator of republican significance; metallurgical plant "Hydrometallurg" for the production of tungsten oxide.

46% of the employed active population lives in Nalchik. 40% of fixed production assets are concentrated in the city, about 50% of the republican output is produced.



A distinctive feature of the city is the high level of resort and recreational development. Nalchik is a balneological and mountain climatic resort. Due to the mild natural and climatic conditions, the presence of a variety of mineral waters and therapeutic mud, the balneological resort of Nalchik has received all-Russian and international recognition, along with the resorts of the Caucasian Mineral Waters. The city treats diseases associated with the musculoskeletal system, cardiovascular and nervous systems, digestive and metabolic organs, liver and biliary tract.

Approximately a quarter of the city is defined as a resort. In the resort part of the city and near it there are about 40 sanatoriums, rest houses, tourist centers, boarding houses. The balneological treatment procedures provided by the sanatoriums may include baths both inside the sanatoriums and in the city water and mud baths. The city has two amusement parks (in the resort area and in the Molodyozhny microdistrict), four artificial lakes (filled during the swimming season from the Nalchik River), two cable cars (one of them has not been functioning since 1993), mineral springs, a huge a park (one of the largest in Europe), turning into a forest, a health path, a zoo, a hippodrome. The picturesque mountains around are conducive to tourism, in particular, to hiking and mountaineering. On the mountain Malaya Kizilovka opposite the resort part of the city there is a restaurant complex "Sosruko" and observation platforms with an overview of the city, its near and far environs and mountain ranges.

Sanatorium-resort institutions in the city:
Children's sanatorium "Star"
Children's sanatorium "Spark"
Children's sanatorium "Eaglet"
Children's social and rehabilitation center "Raduga"
Boarding house "Dolinsk"
Boarding house "Pear Grove"
Sanatorium "Blue Fir"
Sanatorium "Mountain spring"
Sanatorium "Valley of Narzanov"
Sanatorium "Friendship"
Sanatorium named after Betal Kalmykov
Sanatorium named after Sergei Kirov
Sanatorium "Komsomolets"
Sanatorium "Swan"
Sanatorium "Leningrad"
Sanatorium "Mayak"
Sanatorium "Moscow"
Sanatorium "Narzan"
Sanatorium "Olimp"
Sanatorium "Terek"
Sanatorium "Chaika"
Sanatorium "Elbrus"