The UNESCO listed World Heritage Site known as Western Caucasus is located in the Western end of the Greater Caucasus Mountains that are nestled within the larger Krasnodar Kray and the republics of Adygea and Karachevo-Cherkessia.

    Western Caucasus

The UNESCO listed World Heritage Site known as Western Caucasus is located in the Western end of the Greater Caucasus Mountains that are nestled within the larger Krasnodar Kray and the republics of Adygea and Karachevo-Cherkessia.

The property is made up of several units with including:

  • The Caucasus State Biosphere Reserve
  • The famous Sochi National Park in Krasnodar Kray
  • Bolshoy Thach Nature Park
  • The nature monuments of Buiny Ridge
  • The headwaters of the River Tsitsa and the Pshecha and Pshechashcha rivers

The Western Caucasus is made of mountainous terrain that ranges from 250 meters to 3,000 meters. The highest peak in the region is Akaragvarta at 3,360 meters. The areas geology is very diverse with some areas featuring the Sedimentary rocks while others feature the igneous and others metamorphic rocks. The geological formations occurred from the Precambrian to the Paleozoic periods. The northern part of the Western Caucasus is characterized by karst limestone massifs that host hundreds of caves. On the Lagonaki Massif, you will find about 130 caves.

Majority of the landscape features glaciated reliefs. There are about 60 remnant glaciers and moraines as well as 130 high-altitude lakes. The area is watered by the Bol’shaya and Belaya Rivers that flow into the Kuban River which also drain into the Black Sea. The area is home to numerous waterfalls with the highest being about 250 meters.

Vegetation

The vegetation here is characterized by zonation as follows:

  • Above 2500 meters – Here you will find rhododendron thickets and subalpine and alpine meadows.
  • Western Side – Here you will find the oak beam, beech, and beech fir forests
  • Higher Central parts – In this region, you get to see the fir spruce forests that also have birch and maple at higher altitudes
  • Eastern Parts – Here, the fir spruce and pine cedar forests thrive.

The flora of the area is characterized by clear zonation, both vertically and from west to east. The western part has oak-hornbeam and beech and beech-fir forests; the higher central parts have fir-spruce forests with birch and maple at high altitudes; and the eastern parts have fir-spruce. The area is home to a total of 160 species of vascular plants, some of which face extinction in the Russian Federation, Adygea Republic and Krasnodar Kray. You will also get to see about 700 species of fungi, 12 of which are nationally threatened.

Fauna Diversity

The Western Caucasus is home to 384 vertebrate species, 60 mammal species, and 246 bird’s species of which 24 are globally threatened. There are also some species of amphibians, fish, reptiles as well as rare species. Interestingly, there are about 2,500 species of insects that have been recorded, but scientist reckons there might be about 5,000 of them. Make sure you spot the wolf, bear, Caucasian deer, chamois, tur, European bison, lynx and wild boar.

This is the destination for the adventure-hungry tourist. Here, you will get a chance to hike, Climb Mountain, photography, camp and all the other adventure activities.

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