The Land of Mountains or the Land of Tongues
Dagestan is a Russian region in the south-east of North Caucasus stretching along the Caspian Sea. The size of the Republic is 50,300 sq km.
Russia's most ethnically diverse region

It is often called the Land of Mountains or the Land of Tongues. Out of a total of some 60 ethnic groups, the largest ones include Avars (27.9%), Dargins (16.1%), Kumyks (12.9%), Lezgians (12.2%), and Laks (5%). The Republic is comprised of 42 districts, with 10 cities, 20 towns, 1,610 settlements including 701 villages. 45 settlements have been abandoned. Settlements that are less in size than towns are called an aul.

Apart from the capital city of Makhachkala, other major locations include Derbent, Buynaksk, Khasavyurt, Kaspiysk, and Kizlyar. The Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Dagestan was established as part of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic on January 20, 1921. It has been known as the Republic of Dagestan since 1991 and is part of the North Caucasus Federal District.

Credit: Shamil Magomedov
Dagestan borders other Russian regions – the Stavropol Territory, the Republic of Kalmykia, and the Chechen Republic.
It also borders Georgia and Azerbaijan in the south and south-west.
Russia's southernmost tip is on the border with Azerbaijan at 41°11'07.3"N 47°46'54.3"E
Geographically, Dagestan is diverse, too. While it is washed by the Caspian Sea in the east, it has the Terek-Kuma Lowland (28 meters below sea level) in the north, and foreland hills and Caucasus mountains in the south, including the Gunib Plateauand Mount Bazardyuzyu (its highest peak of 4,466 meters).
Mountains account for 44 percent of the territory. 'Dagestan' is a Turkic word for a 'mountainous land'.
Dagestan has a moderate continental and dry climate, with temperature and humidity varying with altitude in the highlands, while the southern coastal areas enjoy a transitional climate between moderate and subtropical.

Dagestan has a moderate continental and dry climate, with temperature and humidity varying with altitude in the highlands, while the southern coastal areas enjoy a transitional climate between moderate and subtropical.

On Top of Mount Shalbuzdag
Fauna is represented by Asian steppe as well as European species: Dagestan tur,Caucasian snowcock, Ciscaucasian hamster, and North Caucasus weasel (Mustela nivalis dinniki). Lowland forests and the valleys along the Terek and Sulak rivers are home to the red deer, roe deer, swamp cat, and boar. The list of birds features the common pheasant, hazel hen, Caucasian grouse, ducks, geese, swans and herons. Multiple lakes are rich in fish: carp, bream, sander, sheat fish, pike, and trout). The Caspian Sea is home to the sturgeon, herring, bream, sander, and Caspian roach.
It is Russia's most ethnically diverse region
It is home to more than 60 ethnic groups, and 30 of them are indigenous - Avars, Dargins, Kumyks, Lezgians, Laks, Nogais, Tabasarans, Aguls, Rutuls, Tsakhurs, and others).
It is hard to find another place on earth where you would have so many nationalities with different languages, dialects, cultural identity and traditions living side by side on such a compact territory. Back in the old days, Dagestan was called the Land of Mountains and the Land of Tongues.

The people of Dagestan speak tongues that belong to three different linguistic families – Indo-European family, Altai, and North Caucasian ones. The Russian languages is the official tongue and is also widely used in day-to-day interaction between people of different ethnic groups.
96% of believers are Muslims: 95% Sunnis, 5% Shia. 4% are Orthodox Christians.
Towns and villages
Dagestan is comprised of 42 districts and 10 city areas.

Makhachkala, the region's capital, is southern Russia's major economic, political, science and cultural center. It lies in the south-east of North Caucasus, on the western coast of the Caspian Sea, at the foothill of picturesque Mount Tarkitau.
Makhachkala is home is Russia's only ice-free seaport on the Caspian Sea.
It is also a big industrial center in the North Caucasus Federal District.

The modern city of Makhachkala was founded in 1844 as a fortress; town status was granted in 1857. The Russian name of the city was Petrovskoye – after the Russian Tsar Peter the Great who visited the region in 1722 during his Persian Campaign.
On October 24, 1857, it was renamed into Petrovsk, and its current name appeared only on May 14, 1921 to commemorate a local man who fought hard to bring the Soviets to power there, Makhach Dakhadayev.
Later, upon the decision of the Revolutionary Committee of Dagestan, Makhachkala became the capital of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of Dagestan.
Makhachkala proper is 49,800 hectares but together with its suburbs it stretches along the western coast of the Caspian Sea for more than 70 km. It is home to more than 60 nationalities and ethnic groups of Dagestan, Russia and former Soviet republics. For the purposes of administration, the city is divided into three city districts, from west to east: Kirovsky, Sovetskyand Leninsky.
Makhachkala is a major tourist and health center thanks to a mild climate and a favourable geomagnetic environment, with many spa centers outside the city.

The Gate to Highland Dagestan, its old name is Temir-Khan-Shura, and it used to be the region's first capital.
Buynaksk marked its 150th anniversary in 2016.
The city was founded in 1834. In 1921, Temir-Khan-Shura was renamed after local revolutionary leader Ulluby Buynaksky. The city is surrounded by mountains.
Derbent has been known as a fairly big city for two thousand years since 438 AD.
Credit: Shamil Magomedov
In 2015, Derbent officially marked its 2,000th anniversary.
Modern city was founded in 438 AD.
t is much older than Russia, and is older than Rome. It was there when many modern states did not even exist on maps. It occupies the narrow passage between the Caspian Sea and the Caucasus mountains, and was part of the Caspian Route, the only convenient way from the steppes of Europe's south-east to the Middle East.

The Citadel of Naryn-Kala was established in one of the most geographically convenient places, with tree tall rock walls, and two of them leading all the way to the sea. There were several gates in the walls. This was the way that rich and flourishing nations of the Middle East protected themselves from the devastating raids of nomads from the south-east of Europe.

Today, Derbent is a district center in Dagestan, 121 kilometers to the south-east of Makhachkala. It has a seaport, a rail station on the line between Makhachkala and Baku. It also lies on the M-29 highway from Rostov-on-Don to Baku.

One of the oldest cities in the North Caucasus, it lies in the heart of a rich agricultural district in Dagestan's north.
Kizlyar is the home city of Russia's famous general during Napoleonic wars Pyotr Bagration.
It was founded in the 18th century by Georgians and Armenians who settled on the bank of the Stary Terek River upon Peter the Great's order. The first settlers established wineries. The city also became a transit hub for trade between Russia and many Oriental countries.

Kizlyar's alcoholic beverages are still popular far beyond Dagestan.

The village of Kubachi is one of the most ancient settlements in Russia. In Persian chronicles it was known as Zerihgaran, or the place of chain mail makers, since 7th century.
Kubachi lies high in the mountains.
The chain mail, helmets, swords, knives, copperware and jewelry has been famous beyond Persia and Caucasus.
Once the Turks came and the village adopted Islam, it got a new name, Kubachi, but it's meaning remained the same.

The local people are part of the Dargin language group, but they have a very peculiar dialect.
Kubachi women stand out for their white kaz scarves on their heads. Married women wear gold and silver patterns while girls prefer speckled and flowery ones.

Kubachi still boasts many ancient buildings, including the nearby settlement of Kala Koreysh, the medieval capital of the Kaitag feudal state. It was established by members of the Quraysh clan (the Prophet Muhammad's clan) in the 7th century just 5 km away from Kubachi. It was from here that Islam was spread across the North Caucasus.
Credit: Strana.ru
Dagestan Attractions
he canyon formed by the Sulak River between the Salatau and Gimry Ridges is up to 1,900 meters deep, making it one of the deepest in the world.
Russia's only liana forest, the planet's northernmost subtropical forest
Credit: Khiste
It is the most powerful Hydro power plant in the North Caucasus. It is Russia's second highest dam and the country's biggest arc dam. It is the upper stage of the Sulak cascade.
The 262-meter Sarykum sand dune is Eurasia's tallest.
Credit: Sharkuskus
Dagestan has many other picturesque and scenic locations.

Copyright: Shamil Magomedov, Wikipedia, Sharkuskus, Strana.ru,
© 2018 Non-Profit Partnership "Strategic Partnership with Islamic World"
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