Adventurers attracted to Altai Republic

24th Sep 2012

Russia is the world's largest country in terms of area and vast swathes of it remain largely unexplored by tourists.

While major cities such as Moscow and St Petersburg are well-trodden by tourists, the striking mountainous terrains and virtually untouched natural resources of the Altai Republic have spent years in the shadows.

But this is a trend that is finally changing, as the area is rapidly emerging as a must-visit destination for trekkers and adventure travellers.

Hailed as "Russia's Tibet", the remote area is isolated by the tallest mountains in Siberia and is on the border of Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan.

But the region's only commercial airport doubled the length of its landing strip last year and built a new terminal as natural wonders such as Altai's Golden Mountains draw in tourists from Russia and the rest of the world.

However, locals remain determined to open up Altai to tourism while preserving its natural charm and beauty. Galina Toptigina, who built the Chui Ooz Cultural Center near her ancestral village, said: "We have to keep tourism in our hands, offering our tourism, our services, our handicrafts."

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