09:52 GMT +320 November 2019
Listen Live
    Autumn in Altai Republic

    Phantoms of Altay Mountains: Honor Spirits, Never Disrespect Them

    © Sputnik / Alexandr Kryazhev
    Get short URL

    Spirits play an important role in the lives of people in the Altay. Some spirits are kind and help out local folks, while others are evil and it’s best to avoid them at all cost…

    Nikolai with his dog Pastushok leaving Moscow
    © Photo : Nikolai Pavlov
    The Altay Mountains are full of mystery and secrets. Locals, especially those living in small rural communities, believe in spirits and ghosts that can be both benevolent and evil.

    Long before Russians began settling southern Siberia, the Altay people lived in the area and followed their own customs. The ancient mountains are the land of fascinating cultures, unique folklore and legends.

    Тем, кто будет на Телецком, очень советуем взять тур по озеру с посещением водопадов. У нас получилось по 2.100 с человека. Катались на удобном катере своей компанией. Капитан-экскурсовод все показал и рассказал. На этой фотке — один из островов на озере. Говорят, если взять у водопада, который здесь находится, камень и оставить в этой груде, загадав желание, оно обязательно сбудется. Размер камня должен соответствовать размеру вашей мечты 😃 ________ Those of you who'll ever visit Lake Teletskoe in the Altay Republic, we highly recommend renting a boat and visiting the southern shore of the lake along with several amazing waterfalls. Prices are reasonable for the amount of time given and most importantly the unique places one gets to see. On a picture there is one of the magic waterfalls, which according to an Altay legend, can make a person's dreams come true. For that to happen, one must bring a stone from the waterfall and put it on the pile on the side of the island. The bigger the stone, the bigger the wish. #thelong_wayhome #путешествия #путешествияпороссии #travel #travelgram #алтай #алтайскиеканикулы #телецкоеозеро

    Фото опубликовано Велопробег Москва-Мирный (@thelong_wayhome) Июл 12 2016 в 4:22 PDT


    The first thing one notices in the Altay Mountains is a large number of colorful ribbons tied to tree branches. Today, these ribbons are usually cotton, but back in the day, people made them from of horse hair.

    The ribbons are meant to show respect to powerful spirits and ask them for good luck. People believe that each mountain, lake or river has its own spirit that watches over the place.

    Alex and Nik chilling near a lake in the Altay Mountains
    © Sputnik / Nik Pavlov
    Alex and Nik chilling near a lake in the Altay Mountains

    Altaydyn-Ezzi, or the Master of Altay, is the main spirit that lives in the mountains and watches over the entire region. When passing a sacred mountain range, it’s important to take a stone from the bottom of a mountain and leave it at a certain place to honor Altaydyn-Ezzi. After hundreds of people pass the place a pile of stones appears on the top of a mountain. Locals call these piles Obo.

    If spirits are pleased with Obos and other symbols that honor them, people live in peace and harmony with everything they need.

    One of the worst things a person can do in the Altay is to disrespect a spirit and make it angry. In many cases an angered spirit means trouble would follow soon.

    Once upon a time, one summer turned out to be extremely hot and dry. To escape from the scorching sun, people started spending their time inside caves. Suddenly, children, who were playing deep in the caves, began to go missing.

    When people became worried, an old shaman said the children had been snatched and eaten by Olysy, aggressive human-like creatures that lived deep inside the caves. The Olysy were evil beings that preyed on children and lone travelers who came too close to the caves.

    Realizing their mistake, the people quickly left the caves and told everyone not to get close to them.

    To this day, locals say it’s a bad omen to yell and make other loud noises when visiting caves in the Altay Mountains, as one might attract the unnecessary attention of the Olysy, the evil spirits of the caves.

    The Uzy, an Altay amulet of love
    © Sputnik / Nik Pavlov
    The Uzy, an Altay amulet of love

    While hiking near Lake Teletskoye in the Altay Mountains, I came across a grotto on the top of a hill. Since I just heard the story about the Olysy from a tour guide a day before, I thought it’d be best not to step inside the cave and accidentally become one of the characters of from the movie Descent.

    The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.


    Lake Teletskoye: Jewel of the Altay Mountains
    Tyumen: How Siberian Cats Saved the Hermitage State Museum in Leningrad
    'Ura La' or 'Oralu'? Theories Collide Over Origin of the Name 'Ural'
    The Hidden Treasures of Chelyabinsk Region: Ayskie Cliffs and Lake Turgoyak
    Undersized, but No Underdog: Our Corgi Pup Supports Our Cycle Across Russia
    Learning Through Doing: Visiting Real Sabantuy in Bashkir Republic
    adventure, tourism, travel, Russia
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik