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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.
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.
History of Nalchik
The territory of modern-day Nalchik was formerly known as
Slabada. It was inhabited by native Kabardians, Balkars, Chechens,
Adeki, and Cherkese, until around 1743: groups occasionally clashed
over and dispute their claims to the land. The modern city dates
from the early 19th century when the expanding Russian Empire built
a fort there together with settling Mountain Jews in 1818; this date
is seen at the top of the city's coat of arms. With the founding of
the city of Nalchik, the disputes among the native groups calmed and
life improved for the people in the region.
In 1838, a
Russian military settlement was founded in the city, and after the
Russian Revolution of 1917, in the year 1921, Nalchik was given the
status of administrative center of Kabardin Autonomous Oblast.
The word "Nalchik" literally means "small horseshoe" in
Kabardian (or Circassian, a Northwest Caucasian language) and
Karachay-Balkar (a Turkic language). It is a diminutive of na'l, a
common Middle Eastern word (Arabic, Persian, Turkish) for
"horseshoe", possibly from the ancient Scythian, 'nalak"
(horseshoe). The city of Nalchik was named this way because of how
it is shaped as surrounded by the mountains of the land, and the
Nalchik River is named after the city it runs across.
World War II, on 2 November 1942, Nalchik was occupied by Romanian
mountain troops (Vânători de munte) under the command of Brigadier
General Ioan Dumitrache. Nalchik was the farthest point of Axis
advance into the Caucasus, its capture earning the Romanian General
the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross. The city was heavily damaged
during the conflict. Nalchik's Jewish population, mostly Mountain
Jews, suffered brutal beatings and tremendous harm at the hands of
the Romanians under Nazi orders. However, the Jewish People of
Nalchik were able to survive the invasion because they were able to,
somewhat, blend in with their neighbors. The Jews and Muslims of
Nalchik have supported and protected each other from the tyranny of
the Nazis and their allies, who've advanced their forces at the time
into the city. Subsequently, due to the harsh treatment of Jewish
People by the Soviet Union, there has been a mass exodus of Jews
from Nalchik over the decades, reducing the population that is left
to a small percentage of what once was.
Nalchik was chosen
the "second cleanest city of Russia" in 2003.
On October 13,
2005, Nalchik was attacked by a large group of Yarmuk Jamaat
militants led by Shamil Basayev and Anzor Astemirov. Buildings
associated with the Russian security forces were targeted, killing
at least 14 civilians and wounding 115. Thirty-five policemen were
killed in the fighting and eighty-nine militants, including
prominent leader Ilias Gorchkhanov, were killed while another
fifty-nine were arrested.