The Caucasus is
a vast mountain area consisting of many ranges. It
stretches for 1.500 kilometers from the Black Sea to the
Caspian Sea The conventional boundary dividing Europe
from Asia apportions the whole of the Caucasus to the
Asian continent Among the mountain ranges practically
parallel to one another, the principal one. the axis of
the whole Caucasus, is the Glavny or Vodorazdelny Range
whose highest peaks reach over 5.000 meters. These are:
Dykh-Tau, Koshtan-Tau, Shkhara and other giants. To the
north of the Glavny Range and in the same direction runs
the Peredovoi or Bokovol Range. In the latter towers the
towheaded volcano Elbrus. Its western cone is 5.642
meters- the summit of the Caucasus. The central, highest
part of this moun-tain system, is a realm of eternal
snow. glaciers and imposing rocky massifs. Further to the
north, and gradually getting lower, run the Skalisty (up
to 3.500 meters). Melovoi (or Past-bishchny) and Lesisty
(or Chorny) ranges, composed of limes of Cretace-ous age,
tertiary conglomerates and sandstone.
Kabardino-Balkariya is situated on the northern slopes of the central part of the Main Caucasian Ridge and the adjacent plains. The Republic is not very large, squaring 12,500 sq.km. only. But the Nature hasn't been sparing with her gifts to Kabardino-Balkariya. The Republic's mineral wealth, flora and fauna are very rich. All the five-thousand-metre peaks, except for Kazbek, the largest glaciers and troubled rivers are in the territory of our Republic. Mountain forests and Alpine meadows are splendid. Unique Blue Lakes, the famous Bezengi Wall, representing 13 kilometres of ice, snow and rocks of over 4,000 metres height, the Chegem Waterfalls with their rolling streams, five most picturesque gorges in Prielbrusye (The Elbrus Region), the internationally-recognized centre of mountaineering, mountain-hiking, summer and winter tourism - all this strikes anyone's eye and stamps on the memory of those, who has ever been there.
Twin- headed Mountain Elbrus, the highest and most beautiful peak of Caucasus, of which songs and legends have been composed, and also glorified by Pushkin and Lermontov is situated there, too.
But nature has been generous to Kabardino-Balkaria. It has plenty of natural resources; the mountain forests are truly splendid, and vegetation lush on the apline meadows. Pastures lie below the forest zone, in the foothills. Right from the northern foot of Elbrus starts the gently sloping and undulating plateau of Bechasyn, cut in all directions by deep canyons of the rivers rising among glaciers, and crossed only here and there by a few highways, insignificant on its vast spaces. From spring to late autumn Hocks of sheep and herds of thoroughbred cattle and horses graze here.
Routes to each of the gorges and all the beauties of the Republic start in Nalchik, the Capital of Kabardino-Balkariya.Nalchik is one of the biggest economical, administrative and cultural centres of the North Caucasus, the famous health resort, is situated in the picturesque surroundings at the foothills of the Main Caucasian Ridge at the altitude of 512 metres above sea level. Territory of Nalchik is 131 square kilometres, it's population(by January 1, 1992) equals 280 thousand people. Total square of the town's trees and shrubs is 991 hectares