In the VIII-II centuries BC Altai was inhabited by Pazyryk Scythians, the creators of the Altai animal style. The surviving elements of this style in the traditional art of modern indigenous people confirm the connection of the Altai tribes with the rest of the ancient peoples of the entire Eurasian continent. The first state on the territory of Southern Siberia arose in the 4th-3rd centuries BC.
For a long time, Altai was part of the Kalmyk state of the Dzungar Khanate. Under the rule of the Dzhungars, the Southern Altaians (Altai-Kizhi, Teleuts and Telengits) were until 1756, and then after the fall of the Dzungar state, they voluntarily became subjects of the Russian Empire. In contrast to them, the Northern Altaians (Kumandy, Tubalars, Chelkans) became part of Russia much earlier.
In 1824, the first Russian settlers arrived here from Biysk and founded the village of Ulala, on the site of which there was a small settlement of Teleuts. Its further development was closely connected with the work of the Altai Spiritual Mission.
The Oirat Autonomous Region was formed in 1922. The territory changed several names and only in 1992 received the name of the Republic of Altai.
Geography of the Republic of Altai
The climate is sharply continental, with short hot summers and long frosty winters.
The relief of the republic is characterized by high ridges separated by narrow and deep river valleys, rare wide intermountain basins. The highest mountain Belukha (4509 meters) is the highest point in Siberia.
There are about 7 thousand lakes in the Altai Republic with a total area of more than 600 km². The largest rivers are Katun and Biya. The largest lake is Teletskoye with a water surface area of 230.8 km² and a depth of 325 meters.