Siberian Federal District
Time: Novosibirsk Time Zone (NOVT/NOVST). UTC offset is +0600 (NOVT)/+0700 (NOVST).
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Federal district: Siberian Federal District.
Main cities: Aleysk, Belokurikha, Biysk, Kamen-na-Obi, Novoaltaysk, Rubtsovsk, Slavgorod, Yarovoye, Zarinsk, Zmeinogorsk.
Land and Resources: It borders with, clockwise from the south, Kazakhstan, Novosibirsk and Kemerovo Oblasts, and the Altai Republic. Altai Krai has rolling foothills, grasslands, lakes, rivers, and mountains. The climate is severe with long cold dry winters and hot, usually dry summers. The regions main waterway is the Ob River. The Biya, Katun, and Chuya Rivers are also important. The biggest lakes are Lake Kulundinskoye, Lake Kuchukskoye, and Lake Mikhaylovskoye. Forests cover about 60,000 km² of the territory`s land.
Climate: The continental climate is defined by its geographical position at the southern end of the Siberian steppe: it is subject to long, frigid winters, with an average of -17.5 C/0 F in January, but also enjoys a short warm season in the summer with an average high of 19.8 C (68 F) in July. Temperatures can vary in the extreme, from -40 C (-40 F) in the winter to above 40 C (104 F) in the summer. The climate is relatively dry.
Transportation: Barnaul is linked by air, railways, roads and riverboats with other parts of Russia. The city is at a junction of the Novosibirsk–Almaty and Biysk train lines. There are also frequent buses to nearby cities Biysk and Gorno-Altaysk. It takes about four hours to reach the Altai Mountains in the south by car along the Chuysky highway. Barnaul airport is distant about an hour from the center of the city, which offers daily flights to and from Moscow and Saint Petersburg among other more local flights. Barnaul is approximately four hours by plane to Moscow, and slightly longer to Saint Petersburg. It also takes approximately four hours by plane to reach Vladivostok on the Pacific coast of Russia. Any part of the city can be reached using public transport, whether one decides to use the city`s many buses, trolleys, or taxis.
Altai is deservedly called the pride and pearl of Siberia. There is probably no other place that combines the beauty of Tibet and the Alps like this marvelous corner of the world. Visitors to Altai are captivated by its singular beauty. The word "Altai" means "golden mountains" in the local language.
Altai is not only a great natural area, but also an open-air museum of ancient cultures, where the paths of nomadic tribes intersected during the period of migration of different peoples. Archeological digs at ancient human sites show that humans lived here as early as a million years ago.
Altai Territory is one most interesting parts of Russia for tourists. Mountain climbers and alpine skiers are drawn by the spectacular mountains; people interested in history and geography, by the great variety of minerals and numerous archeological and ethnological sites; and hunters, by the forests abounding in bears, deer, moose, foxes, wild boars, and grouse.
Several resorts located in the territory are built around medicinal springs with radon water and therapeutic muds. The best known of these is Belokurikha with its amazing radon and silicate springs.
Professional Art in the Altai territory is presented with the Altai territory Shukshin drama theatre, the state musical comedy theatre, the state children and youth theatre, the state puppet theatre "Skazka", the state Philharmonic of the Altai territory and the state Russian folk orchestra “Sibir”.
Historical legacy of the Altai territory is a unique part of Russian culture. The Altai takes care of about 5059 monuments of history and culture. The first place in Siberia is taken by Altai in the number of historical and culture monuments. There 5 state museums here and 66 municipal museums.
Altai`s culture is attractive for its rich centuries-old traditions. The art of stonecutting was well developed here, and the works of its craftsmen were spread all over the world. The works of the artist, traveler, archeologist, writer, philosopher, and eminent political figure N.K. Rerikh and his wife also attracted world attention.
Altai Territory has favorable climatic conditions and unique historical and archeological monuments for recreation, tourism, and sports. There is also great potential for establishing resorts and health centers around therapeutic mineral springs.
Four year-round tourist centers (Katun, Golden Lake (Zolotoe ozero), Youth (Yunost), and Kucherla), the Turist hotel complex, and the Seminsky Pass (Seminsky pereval) training center operate in the territory.
With their steep gradients and turbulent flow, the rivers of Mountainous Altai are not navigable, but they are of great interest for water sports and tourism. The territory`s waterfalls attract large numbers of tourists and vacationers, especially to the Katun Range. There are also many waterfalls around Teletskoe Lake and in the Chulyshman, Charysh, and Anui river basins.
The territory`s glaciers also attract both tourists and mountaineers. Altai is in third place among the world`s mountainous countries in number of glaciers and glaciated area. A total of 169 glaciers are concentrated near Mt. Belukha. From the standpoint of tourism and mountaineering, Altai`s glaciers are no different from glaciers in any other mountainous country, being both moderately accessible and moderately dangerous.
Altai is multifaceted and varied enough to suit the taste of any traveler. There is great potential here for developing nontraditional forms of tourism. You can travel around Altai on foot; on skis; on horseback or on a camel; in a helicopter, hang-glider, or paraglider; in light sports craft on the wild rivers; on alpine skis on steep slopes; or in cars and on bicycles through the mountain passes. Whether climbing ice falls and sheer cliffs to reach the lofty peaks of Siberia`s highest mountains or descending the bottomless chasms of the deepest caves, scuba diving in the clear lakes, or hunting for rare trophies on the taiga, it is hard to imagine any kind of tourism that would not be possible in Altai.
The cities of Biysk and Zmeinogorsk are alpine skiing centers.
The real ski season opens in the second half of February and closes at the end of March, when temperatures have moderated, the amount of precipitation is sharply reduced, and the ice has still not broken up on the rivers, so there is no need to waste time on crossings.
There are many other sites of equal interest to tourists, for example, relict Savushinskoe Lake, the unique forest belts stretching for hundreds of kilometers, and Denisov Cave, which preserves traces of ancient humans (some historians maintain that the first humans appeared in Altai). There are a large number of archeological and ethnological sites in the territory, in particular, stone and earth burial mounds, ancient settlements, Stone Age cave dwellings, and copper and gold mine workings. The caves of Altai Territory have long attracted travelers, scientists, and tourists. There are more than 400 limestone, marble, and dolomite caves, some of them with beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations.
The Taldinskie, Charyshskie, and Khankharskie caves are especially popular. In the Charyshskie caves in particular, many investigators have found the remains of extinct animals such as the mammoth, wooly rhinoceros, bison, cave hyena, and fossil deer. Numerous campsites of primitive humans have been discovered in the Altai Mountains.
Near the village of Cherny Anui, there is a cave labyrinth with narrow twisting passages and many stalactites. An entire cave system has been discovered in the southern part of Salairsky Range.
Hunters and fishermen value the taiga wilderness and lake-covered areas teeming with game, from bears, wolves, and moose to grouse, ducks, and geese to game fish like pike and sturgeon. Hunting and fishing are excellent forms of recreation.
The Altay academy of culture and arts
the Monument to Shukshin, Barnaul
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.altairegion.ru/ - Official site of the government of Altai Territory