You will encounter a broad mix of experiences during this tour in Dagestan. The hustling business of the city, the bazars overloaded with fruit, people talking a wide variety of languages, the hospitality and friendliness. The silent pastures in the mountains, scenic waterfalls.
Dagestan is the most populated Republic of the North-Caucasus. Three million people are coming from more than 40 different ethnical people groups, who each are distinct and have their own language. In the mountains you can find people groups, who have mostly preserved their original way of living, such as festivals, architecture and crafts. Beautiful Carpets and hard wooden silver inlayed crafts are famous from Dagestan.
Dagestan has a rich history. Important trading routes went through Dagestan. The Persian, Arab, Turkic and Russian empires have tried to expand their influence over this strategic region, which contained the small landcorridor between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasian mountains. Although technically part of the Russian Federation, you will feel the eastern influences as soon you enter Dagestan.
Arrival at the airport of Makhachkala, we will have a transfer to your hotel. Depending on the time of arrival, you might want ot rest or have a walk around in the city.
Today you will have a city tour in Makhachkala. Makhachkala is the capital of Dagestan at the shore of the Caspian Sea. You will visit the Juma Mosque, the central Orthdox Church, the Anji arena and Anji arka, which provides a good view over the city. Our city tour brings us along the Central avenue, the Russian and Avar drama theaters and the Caspian Sea. You can visit the Museum of fine arts, have a dip in the Caspian Sea or just walk along the sea shore, visit the port and the central market.
We move from Makhachkala into the mountains. Our first stop will be the Sarykum sand dunes, one of the last desert areas west from the Caspian Sea. From here we are moving on to the Sulak Canyon. This Canyon is one of the deepest Canyons in the world wiht peaks of 1,920 meter. The Sulak river is famous for it's bright bleu colour. In the river is second highest hydro power plant dam of Russia (232.5 m). We will have a boat trip on the lake beyond the Chirkeisk Hydro Power plant. In the evening we will arrive in Gunib, an amazing mountain village built at the edge of a plateau cliff.
Deep in the mountains of Dagestan we find ancient settlements. Some are abandonned years ago, but some still function as main settlement for their people group. High in the Dagestan mountains we find ancient setlements. Some of them are abandandond, but some of them still function as main settlements for their ethnical group. The rough circumstances has protected them for centuries, and allowed them to preserve their cultures. Today we will visit two villages that are built at spectacular places. First we visit the abbandoned village Gamsutl. This is one of the most ancients setlement and through the Ruins, we still can see the amazing architecture of the ancient fortress and surrounding settlement. After this we will go to the rural village Chokh, which is still in function. With 10.000 years of history, this is one of the oldest human settlements known in Europe. We will visit the Mosque and the local museum to learn more about the history and village life. We will finish this day with a visit to the Gunib park after which we return to our hotel.
We remain for one more day in this moutainous region. Today we will visit the Karadakh gorge. This 400 meter long gorge with is 170 meters high and a fascinating miracle of nature. Often the width is not more than 2-4 meters. After lunch we vist the Khunzakh district, which has beautiful old villages, and scenic waterfalls. Tonight we return to our hotel in Gunib.
Today we move to the area of Kubachi. Our first excursion is in Balkar. This village is known for it's ceramic and other crafts which is richly decorated. Women prepared the dishes during the summer and baked them in the winter in the oven. The men sold them in Dagestan and beyond. We will finish this day in a hotel in Dubachi or Urkarakh.
Today visit the mountain village Kubachi. Kubachi is famous for its craftsmen who crafted exceptional jewelry, wood and stone crafting. We will visit a black smith and the museum tower. Then we travel to Kala Koreish. This was the first Islamic settlement in the North Caucasus, founded in the 7th century by the Qurayshi. They founded their settlement on the top of a remote mountain. This was a strategic point to control trade and to spread the Islam religion at the same time. The Qurayshi claim to originate from Arabic tribes, where the prophet Mohamed to belonged. The main attraction is the mosque built in the 11-12th century. This evening we will arrive in Derbent.
Derbent is probalbly the oldest city of the Caucasus and Russia. Due to the narrow pathway between the mountains and the Caspian Sea, Derbent was a strategic place throughout history. Highlight of Derbent is the citadel "Naryn Kala", which was built in the 6th century under the Persian regime (Pre-Islamic). Throughout history citadel has been in the hands of Persian, Arab, Turkish and Persian and finaly Russian rulers. In 2003 this fortress was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the Citadel you have a magnificent view over the city Derbent until the Caspian sea. Between two impressive defence walls, lays the city Derbent. Within the city you find ancient mosques, madrasahs, churches and synagoges, medieval baths and Khan palaces. After the lunch we will do a city tour in Derbent and there will be time to buy your last souveniers.
It's time to leave the wondrous world of Dagestan. After breakfast we will transfer you to the airport in Makhachkala, from which you can depart. But don't forget, there are opportunities to continue traveling with us and discover more from the Caucasus or Russia. What to think of a guided visit to Moscow or St. Petersburg? Look under our tours for more opportunities!
Included in the Price:
Not included in the price:
|2 Person (Jeep)||3-4 persons (Minivan)||5-6 Persons (Mini bus)|
|Dates||Size of group|
|6-14 June 2020||Min. 5 - Max. 12 people||£1,249.--|
|19-27 September 2020||Min. 5 - Max. 12 people||£1,249.--|