Stavropol region: steppes and mineral springs of the Caucasus

Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Stavropol

  • Federal District: Caucasus region

  • Language(s): Russian

  • Population: 2,800,000

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Stavropol region

Travel around Stavropol region

Stavropol region is an artificial essence. This region does not have ancient historical heritage, and most of its existence was a springboard for Russian troops on the southern borders of the country. The capital of the present region - the city of Stavropol - was formed only in 1777 by decree of Catherine II, and then was only a military fortress on the southern borders of the Russian Empire. At that moment, when the neighboring Astrakhan territory was annexed to Russia, Catherine II attended to the defense of the Russian lands from the peoples of the Transcaucasus, and as a result, the Azov-Mozdok defense line was created, into which the newly-formed Stavropol walk. Another interesting fact: the Russian people appeared in these lands just from the beginning of the construction of the fortress, and it consisted of Russian military departments and Cossacks, who were resettled here from the Crimean, Ukrainian and Don territories. In fact, Stavropol was a military fortress, where power was centralized from all the surrounding lands to the Caucasus Mountains. Historically, nomadic tribes of Scythians, Sarmatians, ancestors of Caucasian peoples (Koban and Maykop cultures), even Huns and Tatar-Mongols lived in these sparsely populated lands. However, not a single tribe managed to stay in these lands for as long as the Alans Kingdom, which replaced the rule of the Khazar Kaganate and owned most of the territory of the region until the arrival of the Russians.

After the arrival of Russian troops in these lands, Cossack and Russian families of soldiers were resettled, who began to form the core of Stavropol surrounded by a fortress. Further throughout its history, the region repeatedly changed its borders: the Kuban (later Krasnodar region) and Terek regions separated from it, then the division of the Caucasian territory into many Soviet republics led to a sharp decrease in the Stavropol area, then the Karachay and Cherkess regions separated (and later returned back); there was a period of inclusion and exclusion of Kalmykia into the land of the region ... and much more. Ultimately, only in 1991, when Karachay-Cherkessia finally separated from the edge, the Stavropol region find its current borders. Such changes of borders were caused by different factors, but the main one, in my opinion, was completely different peoples living on the territory of the Stavropol region, with different laws and traditions, and uniting them into a single region with the advent of the Russian government inevitably created an artificial management situation. In fact, it was the military district that controlled the Caucasus, and it was only during the Soviet Union that the region began to actively develop. Here people began to be actively engaged in farming, balneological and mineral resorts were established in the foothill region of the Caucasian Mineral Waters (previously, it was only for the militaries because of the inaccessibility and difficult situation in the Caucasus), the region gained recognition among the Soviet population, who now came here for treatment ("All-Union Health Resort").

To this day, Stavropol region remains a rather deserted edge, where endless hilly steppes give way to the same endless arable land and granary, rare farms (many Ukrainian people lived here) and villages are replaced by small functional cities, where the main source of income is the surrounding agricultural land. In Stavropol today the main branch of the North Caucasus Federal University is situated, where students from all over the Caucasus region study. Many of them have to highly change the lifestyle, leaving the familiar traditions and orders in their native lands, but they have no other way out - higher education in their republics often remains to the chosen minority. Stavropol is the largest city in the region, and only in recent years it has begun to actively changing, thanks to which more and more tourists come to see it. For example, not so long ago, in the center of the city, the main square with the "Guardian angel" stela was reconstructed, where today there is a landscape park, a cascade of fountains and beautiful houses appeared. On Karl Marx prospect, a beautiful promenade appeared in the shade of trees, and most of the buildings and sidewalks in the city center were restored. I strongly advise you to visit the Stavropol Local History Museum, which presents an exposition of skeletons of mammoths, which were excavated in the region. It also presents an excellent description of the peoples who inhabited the Stavropol region, and it is best to learn about their history and national traditions here. But in general, Stavropol today remains a city in which there are few beautiful sights, but where you can safely and comfortably spend time. But most tourists still pass it by.

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All of that is because almost all the tourists coming to Stavropol region is going to the Caucasian Mineral Waters - a famous region with balneological resorts and many sanatoriums, where people are treated for various diseases. Clean air of near mountains, cozy quiet streets and beautiful architectural buildings make up the image of every major city in the region. Although the Stavropol region is also the endless yellow steppes, most people see hills and mountain peaks immersed in greenery. So, in Zheleznovodsk is one of the most beautiful terrenkur in the region, which runs along the ridges of the local mountains; in Pyatigorsk, a fascinating panorama of fields and surrounding hills with a large city opens from mount Mashuk; in Essentuki many narzan sources and sanatoriums open their doors; in Mineralnye Vody against the background of the Zmeyka mountain stands the majestic memorial "Fire of Eternal Glory", and Kislovodsk impresses with flower compositions and incredibly bright central streets. It is most convenient to travel around the region of the Caucasian Mineral Waters by train: they go often, and the cost is really small. In this case, you can see all the most beautiful places, and at the same time enjoy the landscapes of the region.

I especially recommend everyone to visit the Kurortny park in Kislovodsk: this is a huge green area, ennobled and planted with different trees and bushes, with a lot of flower arrangements and beautiful architectural structures. From its top you can see the magnificent panoramas of the foothills of the Caucasus, and if you're lucky, you can see in the distance the mountain peak of Elbrus, the highest mountain in the Caucasus. Kislovodsk city center is a set of richly decorated therapeutic baths and mineral springs, open to all comers. Here you can improve your health and get a sea of ​​aesthetic pleasure in walks among the flowers and palaces.

And then it all depends on you: if you want to see the Caucasus Mountains close by - go to the neighboring Karachay-Cherkessia; if you want to learn more about the steppes and wild animals of the Russian prairies - you need to drive through small villages around Stavropol or to Kalmykia; if you want to become a hiker - go to conquer the five mountains of the region; if you want to become an expert in mineral waters - try all the sources in the region, which there are several dozen species. One thing is for sure: a trip around the Stavropol region will turn into a pleasant adventure for you and leave a lot of positive emotions. At any time of the year!

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