The Kabardino-Balkar Republic was founded on September 1, 1921. It is a subject of the Russian Federation and is a part of the Southern Federal District. The area is 12 500 sq. km with 892 300 citizens populating it.
The territory of the Republic borders with Stavropol Krai in the north, the Republic of North Ossetia and Georgia in the south and the Karachay-Cherkess Republic in the west. Despite the border shown on official maps the Republic of Ingushetia has no actual border with the Kabardino-Balkar Republic. The two republics are separated by a narrow strip of land with a settlement of Kharikau. Main religions of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic are Islam and Orthodoxy. National distribution of the Republic is as follows: 42,8% — Kabardinian, 29,8% — Russian and 14,2% — Balkar.
The capital city is Nalchik populated by 269 600 citizens. Nalchik is 1434 km far from Moscow and is the same time zone with it.
The city is located on the Nalchik River in the Terek River basin. In the place of an original Toglan settlement Nalchik was founded in1818 as a fortress and received a city status only in 1921. In 1960-70s Nalchik was significantly reconstructed to conform to a status of a resort city awarded to it. However, the city managed to preserve a good amount of pre-Revolution style buildings. Main Nalchik attractions are the Dramatic and the Music theaters, the Fine Arts Museum and the Local History Museum with its valuable collection of artifacts gathered within the XIX-XX centuries from all corners of the Republic. Tourists interested in ancient history would be impressed by the Nalchik burial ground dated the second half of the 2 century B.C., the Agubek camp site (early 3 century B.C.), the Dolinsk settlement (2 cent. B.C.) In the city outskirts — in Dolinks area — you would find a balneal and a mountain climate resort.
Nalchik City park has a collection of up to 160 species of trees and bushes and over 200 plant species and could be compared to a botanical garden. The collection besides the native Caucasian flora also includes North-American, South-European, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Central and Minor Asian species. Mountains Malaya and Bolshaya Kizilovka (with a cable-way climb) provide a great overview of the town and the Kabardinian Plain behind it also revealing a magnificent panorama of the Caucasus from the Lesisty (Woody) Ridge to the Main Ridge. There is a restaurant «Sosruko» on Malaya Kizilovka summit, named so after one of the main heroes of the Narty epos.
The Kabardino-Balkar Republic is unique in many ways. Its climatic zones vary from dry steppes of the Terek area plains to lands of eternal ice and snow in the mountains. January average is —4C. Springs are warm with hard dry eastern winds. Summers are long, hot and arid. July average is +23C. Autumns are warm.
Resort tourism infrastructure of the Republic has been successfully developing for over 80 years. Nalchik itself has 9 health resorts: «Golubye Yeli», «Gorny Rodnik», «Dolina Narzanov», «Druzhba», «Leningrad», «Terek», «Elbrus», a resort named after B.M. Kalmykov and «Oktyabr» vacation home. Besides mineral water Nalchik Resort Area is good for silt mud applications from the Tambukan Lake located on the border between the Kabardino-Balkar Republic and Stavropol Krai 70 km north of Nalchik. The Resort area has a total number of 28 resorts with 4 youth, including a Central Balneary, a Resort clinic, a Complex for physiotherapy exercise, a year-round swimming pool and facilities around the mineral spring «Nalchik». An aqua-park is currently under construction. After opening of a ski resort on Mt. Shaukhana slopes (upper Nalchik River) 20 km far from the city, hotel complexes of the Resort area could be used for lodging ski tourists.
Tourists that prefer active tourism but are not fit for long hikes into mountain gorges and up the Skalisty (Rocky), Bokovoy (Side) and the Main Ridges could make one-, two- and three-day hikes along hiking trails in hilly and low-mountain areas within 5 — 25 km of Nalchik. The most interesting routes include a one-day hike up Mt. Nartan, a two-day hike up Mt. Saray and a three-day trip along Shaukhana pass, Chegem waterfalls and up Shaukhana (Perya) summit. The best time to enjoy Nalchik outskirts is summer when after a tedious hike you could rest in shadows of trees and cool off in a rapid and cold mountain river.
Mt. Saray or Izdara is the highest peak (1327 m) of the Melovoy (Chalky) Ridge of the Caucasus. Tourist trail starts in Khasanya settlement where you could be taken to by a bus No.10 and a fixed-run taxi from Nalchik. You could spend a night in your own tent or at the «Saray-gora» hostel built here in the 1980s and now a part of the «Nart» Hotel. In the Soviet times this was the route of a planned trail from Nalchik up to «Golubye Ozera» (Blue Lakes) Tourist centre located in Cherekskoe gorge in a lake area of the same name. From Khasanya you could also reach semi-ruined cells of a Khlyst monastery.
The Kabardino-Balkar Republic is one of the centres for tourism and mountain skiing in Russia. At Elbrus foothills you would find a huge complex of sports facilities, including lifts and cable roads on Cheget and Elbrus mountains. There are also Resorts «Prielbrusye», «Volfram» and «Itkol», a Tourist centre «Terskol», a Recreation centre «Elbrus» and a number of hotels and health resorts. On a hike up Elbrus you would be utterly absorbed in undisturbed by the civilization Northern Elbrus slopes with its nature still the same as seen by participants of the first expedition up Elbrus summit headed by the Russian army General G.A. Emmanuel in 1829.
For more detailed information on the Republic, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.