Uimon steppe

Uimon steppe is located in Ust-Koksinsky area between Katun ridge and Terektinsky ridge. It has length over 35 km and 13 km in width. The valley is located at an altitude of 1000m above sea level. It is crossed by Margal River on the left side, Uimon River, Multa and Okol River on the right. From the west of the mountains transparent Koksa River bursts into the valley, Koksa means «green or blue water». All rivers fall into Katun, which is widely overflowing into many canals, as it cuts the valley into two parts. Katun looks different: small creeks and rivers, enchanting noise in the shallows, fir and larch forests, birch groves changing their decor depends on season, snow-capped mountains shine in the distance. Uimon Steppe and Katandinskaya steppe are remote spots. Ust-Koksinskyi tract is the only way leading here. It lies from the northwest through Gromotuha Pass, on the left bank of Katun River, crosses both steppes and winds along river cliffs to Tungur village. In the wide valley tract is divided to many roads running off between the ridges to the scattered villages. Uimon valley can be drive around for a light day. Ust-Koksinsky District is kingdom of Lakes. There are more than 400 lakes, among which are especially valuable as Multinskiye Lakes, Kucherla, Akkem and Taimenye Lake. There are many mountain rivers raging, roaring streams with crystal-clear and extremely cold water. Some of the rivers have large and small waterfalls, such as Tekelu River. Tekelu waterfall is a truly grand spectacle. Huge amount of water, noisy stream falling down of 50-meter height. Beautiful mighty Katun River also flows through Uimon Steppe. Around 80% of Altai glaciers are in Ust-Koksinsky area.

Uimon Valley have favorable features for sanitary tourism. Amount of sunshine in spring is more than in Yalta, Sochi, Davos and Bairam-Ali in southern Turkmenistan. The duration of sunshine in summer is 225 - 230 hours per month. Mild winds and long frost-free period allow to grow vegetables and also fruit trees. Climatic conditions are quite favorable for human habitation. Climate has pronounced continental character associated with the dominance of air masses south-westerly direction. The monthly average winter temperature -23 degrees, in July +15 degrees. Average annual rainfall of 517 mm. Cold winter seems relatively soft due to lack of strong winds.

Agreement of the translation of word «Uimon» or «Oimon» does not exist. It can translated as «cow's neck» or «cow's intestine». Altai storytellers translate «Oymon» as «ten of my wisdom». Old residents of the village of Upper Uimon believe that the name comes from Altaian Uymonka who lived in these places. The name «Uimon» and name of Upper Uimon Village, the oldest Russian Old Believer hide placement «Oimon» distorted in Russian pronunciation. Translation confirms the Russian Old Believers sought Belovodye, the legendary kingdom of «true to the faith».

Story of population of Uimonskyaya Steppe is extremely interesting. The first people revealed on the steppe was dated to Stone Age. The Steppe preserved monuments of past epochs: traces of Paleolithic sites, mounds of different periods, stone stelas. After the split of the church in Russia, peasants Old-believers refusing new orders of Church fled here from the central areas of the country in 17th Century. They stayed to live by their own laws, simple but stark: be firm in the faith, not to lie, not to steal, not to smoke and not to drink alcohol, to honor their parents... Since then, the population of the valley is mixed. Russian and Altaian live side by side on the banks of Katun River. Vintage Russian log hut adjoins Altai ails. Orthodox and Old Believer churches are opened, the original Altai sacred places are preserved nearby. The main population Uimon steppe were dissenters escaping 300 years ago from reforms of Peter the Great and Metropolitan Nikon to keep their faith and way of life of old Russians. Firstly, they fled across the river Kerzhenets (near Nizhny Novgorod), that’s why they have been called «Kerzhaks»; they did not find salvation there, they moved to Siberia and the Altai. They don’t oppose the name «Kerzhaks», but they still talk about themselves: «old man's us», which means «people of the old man's faith».

Uimon steppe was long since inhabited by indigenous people of the tribes Todosh and Kypchag. Russian began to settle in the Altai region from the end of the XVII century. Uimon steppe became safety land for different migrants: fleeing from harassment peasants, runaway peasants attributed to the Demidov factories and mines, as well as refugees from Kuzbass Land. Belovodye seekers settled here realizing that they will not find a fabulous country, they stayed in the valley, founded new settlements and small villages.

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