Visit Siberia's Switzerland, a Sanctuary for Endangered Species
In ancient times the word "Altai" referred to a mountainous region in the middle of Asia populated by a distinct group of Turkic people. Today that region has been divided politically between the nations of China, Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Russia. In modern Russia, Altai refers geographically to the flatlands and mountains of southeastern Siberia. Due to similarities in nature and landscape, the region has often been referred to as Siberia's Switzerland.

The etymology of "Altai" comes from the Turkic word "Altan" ("gold"), indicating wealth. And there's definitely no shortage of beauty and natural abundance in this part of Siberia. You can find rainbows emerging from its numerous waterfalls neighboring formidable peaks and cliffs. There's an abundance of caves and mountains of every imaginable shape and size, lakes and roaring rivers spewing crystal-clear glacier water and sonorous mountain streams.
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Above all, Altai is a land of contrasts containing a multitude of unique and varying microclimates. You can pass through Siberian coniferous forest, blooming grasslands and imposing mountain peaks in a single day. Siberia's tallest peak, Mt. Belukha 4,506 m (14,783 feet) , can be found in Altai, as well as Russia's deepest cave, Ekologicheskaya 345 m (1131,89 feet). It also has the country's third deepest lake, Teletskoye.

No visit to Altai is complete without an appreciation of its rich and pristine animal and plant life. Unfortunately, today many of the species face the threat of extinction and are protected under law. The diversity of Altai's rare species impresses even the most travelled zoologist: freshwater species, insects, various mammals, etc. Altai contains a total of over 500 different kinds of animals, including 17 endangered mammals including the snow leopard, manul cat, Mongolian gazelle, Altai argali and several types of wild boar and bear.


The battle for preserving Altai's animal and plant worlds has been going on for decades. Our documentary brings you unique footage of the rarest species living in this remote part of the planet.
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