17 Spectacular Pictures of Siberia’s Altai Mountains

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Image: Andrew Kudrin

Ominous clouds drift above a snowy peak.

Many cultures have made this part of the world theirs over the years – from the Khanates, Scythians, Turks, Uigurs, Mongols and Oirats, to the Russians who incorporated it into their empire in the 18th century. At that time, it became a refuge for runaway Russian peasants, serfs and religious schismatics who carved out their own free territory there.

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Image: Andrew Kudrin

Golden coloured fir leaves, perhaps the origin of the name Altai – meaning ‘The Golden Mountains.’

These days, it is sparsely populated by people who live mostly through low-level agriculture, hunting and gathering, much as they have done for thousands of years. Their traditional languages are divided into Southern and Northern Altay, both of them Turkic in origin.

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