Road M-52 (formerly P-256) is the maintransport artery of Altai. It runs along the route Novosibirsk - Biysk - Tashanta. The length of the motorway is 953 kilometers. The picturesque area from Biysk to Tashanti was called Chui highway. Most of the way passes through the Republic of Altai. Every year, the Chuysk tract attracts the attention of a huge number of tourists from all over the world. And he is one of the five most beautiful roads in the world. Today we will review the history and main sights of the Chui tract (Altai).
Before Viewing Attractionsalong the Chui tract, we will get acquainted with the history of the construction of this road. In the Chinese chronicle of a thousand years ago, there are references to a road called the Mungal tract, which is located exactly on the site of the modern Chui tract. Probably, this road was one of the branches of the Great Silk Road, along which trade caravans followed to Mongolia. Thus, a tourist who has visited the Chui highway can not only enjoy the beauty of the surrounding landscapes, but also touch the centuries-old history.
In 1756, when the Southern Altaians voluntarilyjoined the Russian Empire, the development of the tract began. In the Russian-language sources, the first mention of it dates back to 1788, when the merchants reached the Chuya River. Rapidly developing trade relations led to an expansion of the way. Nevertheless, until the beginning of the twentieth century, the tract was considered a dangerous mountain path, movement along which was accompanied by a serious risk.
Since 1860, when the governmentwas interested in strengthening political and economic ties with Central Asia and the Far East, projects on the construction of a thorough road began to be considered. However, none of the proposed ideas were implemented. It is assumed that there were two reasons for this: the lack of a technical base and the calculation of the state for financial assistance from the merchant class. Entrepreneurs gradually adapted the road to a more comfortable and safer movement around it. So, by the beginning of the 1890s on the site from Kosh-Agach to Khabarovsk, it was possible to move relatively safely: the path was expanded, stones were removed, stone barriers and wooden decks over the steep slopes were installed.
In 1901, a large-scaleconstruction of the Chuysk tract. Two years later the plot was ready from Kosh-Agach to Onguday. Then the local population and peasants from the nearest settlements were involved in the work. The construction involved about one and a half hundred people. Due to lack of funds and the desire to maximize the cost of the work, the constructed road quickly collapsed. Over the next ten years, it was not repaired and by the beginning of the 1920s it was again in a deplorable state.
In 1911, the conduct of the Chui tract wasis entrusted to the Ministry of Railways. To select the most successful direction of the road and make estimates, it was necessary to carry out large-scale exploration work. In 1913, the state allocated 15,000 rubles for these purposes. Then, the old road was surveyed from Biisk to Kosh-Agach. In the summer of 1914 an expedition headed by an engineer and future writer V. Ya. Shishkov arrived in Altai. The main task of the campaign was to find the shortest and most convenient direction of the Chui Trakt. Participants of the expedition traveled hundreds of kilometers. A huge work was carried out to study the terrain, as a result of which scientists made maps and created a draft of the future road. The survey was conducted with impeccable accuracy, hundreds of markings were recorded on the map about the height of the passes, the steepness of the slopes, and all, even the most insignificant, changes in the terrain. The First World War, the Revolution and the Civil War prevented the successful completion of research.
After the wars, the road was absolutely unsuitable foruse: most bridges and crossings were destroyed, and mountain plots - filled with stones. In 1922, when the state began a policy of strengthening economic and political ties with Mongolia, the construction of the route continued. In the same year, several bridges and ferries were built, and the first Soviet caravans went to Mongolia.
In the years 1929-1930. on the project V.Ya.Shishkov began large-scale repair and road works. They involved a large number of prisoners who were forced to work in the most difficult climatic conditions. These years in the history of the tract were remembered, on the one hand, as a breakthrough, and on the other - as a great tragedy, because because of the inhuman working conditions, not one hundred workers perished. Therefore, along with the inspiration from viewing photos with the sights of the Chuysky tract there is always a share of mourning. One way or another, the construction gained serious momentum, and by 1935 the route on the Biysk-Tashanta section was ready.
The subsequent work was carried out mainly withpurpose of improving the roadway and its expansion. In 1938, the tract received a major overhaul. In 1956-1957 years. The Ust-Sema-Shebalino site was rebuilt and bridges over Ishu, Katun and Biyu were put into operation. The construction of the roadway on the complex sections of the Chiqué-Taman Pass was completed only in 1984. Now, when we know the history of the Chui tract, the sights considered below will be perceived in a completely different way.
Museum of the Chuysky tract (354 km)
For your convenience, we will get acquainted withsights of the Chuysky tract by kilometer. In brackets after the name of the settlements located along the route, the distance from the beginning will be indicated. The same figures are indicated on the road signs near these settlements. In the city of Biysk there is a museum dedicated to the Chuysky tract. It is possible to get acquainted with photographs and documents of the times of road construction. It is from the museum that the familiar tourist route begins along the Chuysky tract.
In 30 south of the city of Biyska there is a mountainBabyrgan is the northern outpost of the Altai Mountains. The mountain is located on the left bank of the Katun River, 14 kilometers from the village of Platov. The summit ridge of Babyrgan consists of individual rocks up to 15 meters high, which have picturesque forms of towers.
Maima village (435)
The given settlement is located in 7kilometers north of the city of Gorno-Altaisk, on the rivers Algirka and Maime, in the place where they flow into Katun. In the village there is a temple of the Descent of the Holy Spirit. This is the first stone building in the Altai Mountains. From the village of Maima, the Chuysky tract goes along the Katun valley.
The lake and the village of the same name are located 17 kilometers from the village of Maima, on the left bank of the Katun, a little off the road.
The lake, which is located in a hollow and surrounded bygreen mountains, is characterized by warm and very clean water. Its water fills one of the three basins, located on the surface of the terrace. In the center of the lake there is an island called the Arbor of Love. You can get to it by swimming, the benefit of warm and clean water contributes to comfortable water procedures. The surroundings of the lake are attracted by charming mountain landscapes, caves and majestic pine forests.
The village of Manzherok (470)
At the 470th kilometer of the road, at the foot of Malaya MountainSinyuha settled the village Manzherok. The settlement was founded by Russian settlers in the late 19th century. The main attraction of the village is the source of drinking water, which has medicinal properties. In Manzherok, on the Katun River, there is also the popular threshold of the Manzherok Gates. Here, with the noise and splashes, fresh water pierces its way between the huge stones.
One and a half kilometers from the village, to the left of the tract,is Manzherok lake. It is located in the ancient terrace on the right bank of the Katun River. The lake is shallow, with fairly gentle banks. It contains the following types of fish: crucian carp, carp, tench, pike and minnow.
Source Arzhan-Suu (478)
At 8 kilometers from Manzherok is locatedthe state monument of nature is a spring, the healing water of which is saturated with copper, silver and other mineral impurities. It has a beneficial effect on human health and is stored for a long time. Near the source you can find so-called shaman trees, to which visitors hang colored fabric ribbons. As in other places of interest in the Chuysky tract and the Altai Mountains in general, local souvenirs are presented here in abundance.
Tavdinsky caves (477)
The next point of our virtualtravel on the sights of the Chuysk tract is on the opposite bank of the Katun River, almost in front of the source of Arzhan-Suu. Crossing to Tavdinsky caves is possible from the village of Lime, which is located 5 km up the valley. Despite the fact that the caves are located directly in steep rocks, it is not difficult to reach them. Long ago they served as a haven for people. Attention also deserves Tavdinskaya karst arch, which is a small natural bridge.
The village of Barangol (492)
This settlement is located on the coastKatun. Here you can find a large number of tourist bases and guest houses. Therefore, Barangol will be interesting for those who want to relax after a fascinating and exhausting drive along the sights of the Chuysky tract by car. From Barangol on foot you can walk to the picturesque Kamyshlinsky waterfall.
Elanda and Kuyus villages
Between these villages is a hugethe number of all kinds of archeological monuments: cemeteries and barrows, as well as rock paintings. Most of all these objects are saturated with the environs of Edigan, Orokoja and Elanda, as well as the estuary of Cheba and Biika. Not far from the village of Edigan, a kilometer away from the river of the same name, there are a number of picturesque rapids. A huge mass of water, passing between the steep rocks, forms whirlpools and chaotic jets. To get to these settlements, it will be necessary to leave the Chuyskaya tract on Chemalskaya on the 495th kilometer and travel 62 km along it.
The Karakol Gallery
Considering the sights of Altai andChuyskogo tract, we can not fail to mention such a colorful place, as the so-called Karakol Gallery. In the village of Tuekta, on the left bank of the Karakol River, about two kilometers from the mouth of the river, there are several plates on which you can see rock paintings and runic letters. The turn to the village of Tuekta is about 2.5 km from the turn to Ust-Kan (514 km).
Valley of the Great Ilgumen
After the Chicke-Taman Pass (661 km) the roadpasses through birch and poplar groves along the Bolshaya Ilgumen river. By the way, most of the Chui tract passes along the river valleys, since in these places the soil is the most level. On the Katun, near the mouth of the Great Ilgumen, one of the most powerful rapids - Ilgumensky - is located. After passing a little further, along the road you can meet columns-balbaly and stone women.
Throughout the Great Ilgumen, up tothe mouth of the Chui River, there are quite high river terraces. There is a suggestion that they were created in a short time, due to the fact that the natural dam was broken by a high mountain lake and the water poured into the open space with huge force.
Village Aktash (788)
Aktash is a former miner's settlement, whichwas formed near the mercury deposit. In the village there is a border crossing point, which issues permits to visit the village of Tashanta. Here the sights of the Chui Tract are over, since this locality is bordered by Mongolia. Aktash attracts tourists not only because it has a border detachment. In this village there is a certain boundary of natural zones: behind it begins Kuray, and then Chui high mountain steppe. On the remaining part of the tract, greens are very rare. If you continue on the Mongolian section of the route, you can see from the window basically a dry land with thorns and stones, which are periodically diluted by mountain peaks.
In addition, near Aktash, on the river belowthe name Cibitka, is a source with the purest mineral water. Also, this settlement serves as the beginning of the road to the valley of the Big Ulagan, which attracts tourists with the bubble volcanoes. Not far from Aktash you can also see the cascade of small waterfalls and picturesque gorges. A bit further the road from both sides will be surrounded by huge pink rocks, which are called the "Red Gate". On the left side of the road is Lake Cheybekkel, which was nicknamed "dead sea" because it never had fish.
We have considered only the mainsights of the Chuysky tract. In fact, there are many more. But it is valuable not even this, but the fact that the most interesting, mysterious and picturesque landmark of this area is the road itself. You can travel around the Chui tract on the car in just one day. But along the way there are so many beautiful places that, as the tourists say in their reviews, you always want to stop to admire them and take pictures. In order to make the trip as comfortable as possible, it is recommended to study in advance the sights of the Chui Trakta by kilometer. Photos and information about them is enough to plan your route in detail.