The Ukok Quiet Zone, better known as the Ukok Plateau, can rightfully be called one of the most remote and mysterious places on the map of the Russian Federation. Located practically in the very center of the Eurasian continent, at the junction of the borders of Kazakhstan, Russia, Mongolia (Ulan-Dab pass, Gobi desert) and China. Ukok, like other Altai reserves, is included in the UNESCO heritage list.
Ukok plateau: description, photo.
The Ukok Peace Zone is the keeper of many legends and secrets, because the Plateau has a fairly large number of archaeological sites, some of which were created during the Paleolithic era. Burials of cultures were also discovered on the plateau, which, as the research results show, existed in the 3rd-2nd millennia BC. e.
Archaeologists have discovered more than a thousand different archaeological sites on the plateau, most of which date back to the 8-3 centuries BC. e. On the Ukok Plateau, many mounds and stone statues were also discovered, symbolizing warriors. Petroglyphs are also common.
This millennial Plateau is considered sacred among Altai shamans and Chinese Buddhists. Altai elders call it “The Beginning and End of Everything” or “Chest” and believe that only those to whom the spirits of the mountains were supportive can get to Ukok. According to tradition, those who are going to visit the Plateau should tie a ribbon to the altar stone of the owners of Obo.
The uniqueness of the plateau lies in the fact that the pristine landscape of the Ice Age has been preserved practically unchanged. The climate is harsh; in winter, temperatures can drop to -50 ° C. It is worth noting that subzero temperatures can even be on summer nights. And while walking along the plateau there is a high probability of getting hit by hail.
Where is the Ukok plateau
The Ukok plateau is located in the extreme south of the Altai Republic at an altitude of 2200-2500 meters and is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges. The highest mark of the mountain frame is reached by the Kuyten-Uul mountain, 4374 m high. It is interesting to note that Kuyten-Uul is the second highest among the Altai mountains, and the first place belongs to the Belukha mountain.
The coordinates of the Ukok Plateau on the map:
Latitude – 49.32673
Longitude – 87.71168
Distance from settlements:
From Kosh-Agach to Ukok, about 111 km.
From Biysk to the Plateau about 671 km.
How to get to the Ukok plateau
When going on your way, know that all roads to Gorny Altai pass through the administrative center of Biysk. And to get to the Plateau, your path, most likely, will run in turn through the following settlements:
The frontier post “Soloneshnoe”.
Passing Biysk, you will find yourself on the historical part of the Chuisky tract, which was mentioned in the ancient Chinese chronicles under the name Mungalsky tract. There is a pretty good road – four-lane with good asphalt. Next, you will need to climb the Seminsky Pass, which is not considered technically difficult, and therefore you can overcome it in almost any car, regardless of the season. It should be said that after the village of Kosh-Agach there will be no more asphalt road.
Best time to visit Ukok plateau
In Altai, each season has its own advantages and disadvantages. The most popular season is, of course, summer. It is in the summer that various excursions and routes work. But you need to remember that summer is the time of holidays, so there will be a lot of tourists. Plus, you’ll have to endure the heat. The most suitable months to visit both the Ukok plateau and the Lago-Naki plateau are June and August, but July is the hottest month, besides, prices rise significantly.
In autumn, there are noticeably fewer tourists in Altai. If you are lucky with the weather, September will be the perfect time to visit, because it will be still warm and dry, and besides, prices will stop rising. The Altai winter is very similar to the Siberian winter, but at the same time it is not so cold. In winter, there is practically no snow on the Plateau, as it is blown out by strong winds.
The plateau is located in the border area, so you will definitely need to issue a special pass. Documents can be drawn up both in Gorno-Altaysk and at the frontier post itself, located in the village of Kosh-Agach. It is important to note that foreigners need to obtain a pass in advance, about a month in advance.
If you decide to go alone, be sure to take a detailed map of the area with you, so that later there will be no problems with the border guards, because there are practically no checkpoints. In addition, there is a risk that you will be left without cellular communication and the Internet. Be sure to plan ahead for what you need.
Since the climate on the Plateau is harsh, you can’t do without warm clothes and comfortable shoes. It will not be superfluous to grab a tick repellent. In addition, if you decide to hit the road by car, it must be an off-road vehicle. It is also worth taking water and food with you in reserve.
What to see in the vicinity
Not far from the Ukok Plateau there are several attractions that you can also visit. Kalgutinskaya factory and Kalgutinskiy mine. The factory, which previously carried out the enrichment of tungsten and molybdenum ore and the mine itself, where these ores were mined. Now the factory and the mine are not functioning.
The Teply Klyuch pass and the Teply Klyuch thermal sources. It is important to mention that the pass is considered quite difficult and long, so you need to prepare well for the trip. Not far from the pass there is a unique thermal spring – Dzhumaly spring, the water in which does not freeze even in winter. It is worth noting that the springs also belong to the UNESCO World Heritage, under the protection of which the world famous volcano Yellowstone Volcano is located.
Not far from the Ukok Plateau is the Tabyn-Bogdo-Ola massif with the highest point at 4374 m (Mount Nairamdal). This array is interesting because it is a sacred place for Chinese, Tuvan, Altai and Mongolian Buddhists. The Tabyn-Bogdo-Ola glaciers are the largest glaciers in Altai.
The Ukok Plateau is an incredibly beautiful and mystical place, which in terms of the strength of sensations is often compared to Tibet, or Machu Picchu. Snowy mountain peaks, bright maral flowers, burial mounds and mountain lakes – all this forms a natural ensemble of indescribable beauty.