Photo tour in the North Caucasus
Central Caucasus, May - October
Guide — Anton Agarkov
Group: 5 - 8 people
This tour will give you the opportunity to capture the most beautiful scenes and landscapes of the North Caucasus, accompanied by one of the best photographers in Russia. We will focus on regions that are yet unknown to most of the world, but which are certain to become major destinations for photographers in the future. Some of the main highlights of this tour are the views of Mount Elbrus and other rocky ranges, the sunsets of North Ossetia, and the stately defensive towers of Ingushetia. But that’s not all! The incredible cultural diversity of the North Caucasus will give you plenty of opportunities to capture fascinating photo essays and stories.
We will mostly travel by all-road cars, which are specially made to traverse mountains. But don’t worry, we won’t stray too far from civilization, as every leg of the journey will include nights spent in good hotels, and endless dinners of delicious Caucasian cuisine. Due to the cars, we also won’t have to worry about carrying our photography equipment for long distances.
In the Caucasus comfort and rugged wilderness exist in close proximity, so get ready for a wonderful and exciting adventure!
Day 1 (Friday, 6th of July)
27,5 km, 30 minutes
Your guide will meet you at the Mineralny Vody airport. Half an hour later, you’ll find yourself in a cozy hotel located amidst the historical center of Pyatigorsk.
Day 2 (Saturday, 7th of July)
Enjoy some free time to rest after traveling, until lunch is served.
After lunch, we’ll take a walk around the city with a local guide, then take a cable car to the top of Mount Mashuk. This location offers an excellent view of the surrounding volcanic hills, tidy multicolored fields, and — if the weather permits — Europe’s tallest mountain, Elbrus.
The evening will be spent doing landscape photography.
Day 3 (Sunday, 8th of July)
216km, 7 hours by all-road-cars
We’ll take a stroll to the Pyatigorsk farmers market, and enjoy some free time to explore the city.
Departure for Plateau Kanzhol.
Sunset photography at Plateau Kanzhol. Campfire dinner following the shooting session.
Transfer to Nalchik, where we will spend the night.
Day 4 (Monday, 9th of July)
70km, 1,5 hours by Mercedes Sprinter, 59 km, 2 hours by all-road-cars
In the morning, we’ll shoot at and around Nalchik, then meet Adyghe master of local martial arts and few as other local artisans.
For lunch we’ll travel to Chikola, a rather large village in the lowlands of North Ossetia, where we’ll feast at a very homey cafe.
Next, we’ll drive to the mountains of North Ossetia, to the Digora Gorge.
On the way, we’ll take pictures of the deep and narrow Akhsinta Canyon, with its waterfalls that flow right down from the canyon walls.
We’ll also visit the necropolis near the villages of Lezgor and Donifars, and by sunset find ourselves at the ruins of Bagaita Castle, which provide the best views of the entire gorge.
We’ll spend the night at a new hotel, located in the upper reaches of the gorge.
Day 5 (Tuesday, 10th of July)
80 km, 4 hours by all-road-cars
We’ll dedicate the first half of the day to learning about Ossetian culture, and seeing the architectural monuments of the Uallagkom valley, a rather self-contained high-altitude part of the Digoria region.
Lunch will be a traditional Ossetian feast.
Next, we’ll drive off-road across the Zgidsky Pass (approximately 2300 m above sea level) to the Alagir Gorge.
We’ll spend the night at Tsey Valley, one of Ossetia’s most beautiful locations and home to Rekom, one of the three most revered sanctuaries of the Ossetian pagan religion.
The night will be spent at a 3* hotel in Tsey.
Day 6 (Wednesday, 11th of July)
82,5 km, 2,5 hours by all-road-cars
A walk to Rekom sanctuary in the morning. Photo retouching workshop with the guide.
Lunch. A trip to Lisri, one of Ossetia’s most striking deserted medieval villages.
At sunset we will go to one of the branches of the Tsey mountain range, which provides excellent views of cliffs that are over 4000 m in height, and all the mountains of western Ossetia.
The night will be spent at the same 3* hotel in Tsey.
Day 7 (Thursday, 12th of July)
70 km, 3 hours by all-road-cars
In the morning, we’ll take a cable car to the Skazka Glacier and back. Afterwards, we’ll say goodbye to Tsey Valley and visit the miners’ village of Mizur, where we will have lunch, and experience remnants of the Soviet way of life. This village displays monuments to Lenin, Stalin, and mine workers. The miners’ canteen has kept its Soviet design, and it seems that visitors come here straight from the eighties via time machine.
After lunch, we’ll spend time photographing locations around the villages of Ursdon and Dagom, where we’ll find magnificent views of cliff-hanging fortresses, medieval crypts, the rocky wall of the sacred Kariu Mountain, and the Alagir Gorge terraces.
Depending on weather conditions, we’ll shoot the sunset right then and there, or from the mountain range between the Alagir and Kurtata gorges.
We’ll spend the night at the 4* art hotel, Valley of the Sun.
Day 8 (Friday, 13th of July)
155 km, 3,5 hours by all-road-cars
In the morning, we’ll drive to the Midagrabin waterfalls. One of them, Big Zeygalan, falls more than 600 m, and is the tallest waterfall in all of the Greater Caucasus.
By lunch, we’ll be in Vladikavkaz.
Once there, we’ll stroll around the historical city center, and then drive back to the mountains for a sunset photography session. We’ll also visit the Caucasus’ largest necropolis, located near the village of Dargavs.
The night will be spent at a 4* hotel in Vladikavkaz.
Day 9 (Saturday, 14th of July)
42 km, 1 hour by all-road-cars
We’ll continue shooting in Vladikavkaz. The historic center of the city is full of early 20th century mansions, and the streets are teeming with charismatic characters.
There will be some free time before lunch, and after the meal we’ll go to the highlands of Ingushetia to photograph the famous Ingush defensive towers.
We’ll dine in a village home, and spend the night at a 3* hotel.
Day 10 (Sunday, 15th of July)
170 km, 4 hours
We’ll get up extremely early to photograph sunrise in the mountains. Afterwards, we’ll visit the Vovnushki complex of defense towers, and spend the whole day there, relaxing and preparing a delicious barbeque. Such recreation is very popular among the local Ingush people, so we’ll most likely see many families relaxing in the shadow of the trees, feasting, dancing, and climbing towards the medieval towers.
We’ll shoot the sunset here, and in the evening we’ll drive to the capital of Chechnya, Grozny.
The night will be spent at a 5* hotel in the city.
Day 11 (Monday, 16th of July)
9 km, 30 minutes
We’ll spend the morning walking around the city and visiting its museums.
After lunch you will have free time, and after dinner we’ll head to the airport and say our goodbyes.
- English-speaking photo-guide;
- transportation (comfortable all-road-cars and sometimes Mersedes Sprinter);
- accommodation (3-5* hotels);
- meals (B, L, D);
- all entry fees, permits and so on...
- your flights to Mieralniye Vody and back from Grozny;
- extra alcohol;
- souvenirs and other personal expenses.
Recommended flights (we recommend to fly via Istanbul):
- flight to Pyatigorsk from Istanbul, operated by Pegasus Airlines (PC391). Flying time: 23:20 - 01:30;
- flight to Istanbul from Grozny, operated by Pegasus Airlines (PC401). Flying time 3:35 - 6:10.
What to have with you
- Comfortable demi clothing for outdoor activities.
- single suppliment is 450 USD;
- we require 20% nonrefundable prepayment;
- we need scanned copy of your passport and Russian visa 65 days before the tour starts;
- please, get in touch with Dmitry Lemeshev for booking and other issues [email protected], phone +7 926 213 99 81.