Southern Federal District
Republic of Dagestan
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).
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Federal district: Southern Federal District.
Main cities: Derbent, Khasavyurt, Kaspiysk, Kizlyar, Izberbash.
Land and Resources: It is the largest republic of Russia in the North Caucasus, both in area and population. The republic is situated in the North Caucasus mountains. It is the southernmost part of Russia. It borders: Republic of Kalmykia (N), Chechen Republic (W), and Stavropol Krai (NW); Azerbaijan (S), Georgia (SW). The highest point: Bazardyuzi Mountain (4,466 m). There are over 1,800 rivers in the republic. Major rivers include: Sulak River, Samur River, Terek River. Most of the Republic is mountainous, with the Greater Caucasus Mountains covering the south.
Climate: The climate is hot and dry in the summer but the winters are hard in the mountain areas. Average January temperature: 2 ℃ (35.6 ℉). Average July temperature: 30 ℃ (86 ℉).
Transportation: Derbent is well served by transportation, with its own harbour, a railway going south to Baku, and the Baku to Rostov-on-Don road.
Makhachkala`s historic predecessor was the town of Tarki, now a mere suburb, whose history goes back to the 15th century and possibly much earlier. The modern city of Makhachkala was founded in 1844 as a fortress; town status was granted in 1857. The original name of the city was Petrovskoye — after the Russian tsar Peter the Great.
Derbent is a city in the Republic of Dagestan, Russia. Derbent being in practice a huge museum and with magnificent mountains and shore nearby, a great potential for development of the tourism industry exists, further increased by UNESCO`s classification of the Citadel, Ancient City and Fortress as a World Heritage Site in 2003; however, instability in the region has not allowed further development.
Often identified with the legendary Gates of Alexander, Derbent claims to be the oldest city in the Russian Federation. Since antiquity the value of the area as the gate to the Caucasus has been understood and Derbent has archaeological structures over 5,000 years old. As a result of this geographic particularity the city developed between two walls, stretching from the mountains to the sea. These fortifications were continuously employed for a millennium and a half, longer than any other extant fortress in the world. Over the years different nations gave the city different names, but all connected to the word `gate`.
To the north of the town is the monument of the Kirk-lar, or forty heroes, who fell defending Dagestan against the Arabs in 728. To the south lies the seaward extremity of the Caucasian wall (fifty metres long), otherwise known as Alexander`s Wall, blocking the narrow pass of the Iron Gate or Caspian Gates (Portae Athanae or Portae Caspiae). This, when entire, had a height of 29 ft (9 m) and a thickness of about 10 ft (3 m), and with its iron gates and numerous watch-towers formed a valuable defense of the Persian frontier.
The twenty-metre-high walls with thirty north-looking towers are believed to belong to the time of Kavadh`s son, Khosrau I of Persia. During the 5th and 6th centuries Derbent becomes also an important centre for spreading the Christian faith in the Caucasus.
Sassanian fortress in Derbent: The recent excavations on the eastern side of the Caspian Sea opposite to Derbent, have revealed the eastern counterpart to the wall and fortifications of the city in the Great Wall of Gorgan. Similar Sasanian defensive fortifications--massive forts, garrison towns, long walls--are seen on the eastern shores of the Caspian extending literally into the sea as they are witness emerging from the rising waters of the Caspian in the west at Derbent.
The Caspian Gates: A large portion of the walls and several watchtowers have been preserved in reasonable shape till our days. The walls, reaching to the sea, date from the 6th century, Sassanid dynasty period. The city has a well preserved citadel (Narin-kala), comprising an area of 45,000 m², enclosed by strong walls. Historical attractions include the baths, the cisterns, the old cemeteries, the caravanserai, the 18th century Khan`s mausoleum, as well as several mosques. The oldest mosque is the Juma Mosque, built over a 6th century Christian basilica; it has a 15th century madrassa. Other shrines include the 17th century Kyrhlyar mosque, the Bala mosque and the 18th century Chertebe mosque.
There is a Lezgin drama theatre (S. Stalsky theatre). About two kilometres from the city is the vacation colony of Chayka (Seagull).
Mountain lake in Dagestan
Aul Shamilja in Dagestan
the Aul Kurush in Dagestan
the Dzhuma-mosque in MakhachkalaSources:
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.e-dag.ru/ - Official website