Chuya highway

Highway Novosibirsk - Biysk - Tashanta (route M52) is the main transport artery of Altai. The road from Biysk to Tashanta is named Chuya highway. It officially begins at the bridge through the Biya River in the city of Biysk, passes through Altai region (77 km) and mostly is in Altai Republic (540 km), comes to an end at border with Mongolia. The path passes the first 147 km across the Katun right river bank, then crosses it in the settlement of Ust-Sema and, overcoming passes, recedes from the river. After the 358th km the road (Yinya Village) again crosses the Katun, and lies along the Chuya River then almost up to the end. <\p>

Chuya highway provides an exit of Russia to Mongolia, and also is the main highway connecting the Mountain Altai with the city of Biysk with a railway station and river pier. There is a large number of camp sites, campings, hotels on site from Ai's lake to the village of Ust-Sema, this route is the most popular for tourists going for rest to the Altai Mountains. Chuya highway is very picturesque, but especially beautiful places begin from border of Altai region with the Republic of Altai. Human noise and vanity in lower reaches of the Katun change through the woods and mountains to virgin Kurayskaya steppe and Chuyskaya steppe. Here, the suburb of Russia is inhabited by the Altai and the Kazakhs. Also it seems as time has stopped here, in the depth of Altai. A heavy environment and lack of a civilization affect on way of life. Here, far from the noisy world, people observe traditions and ceremonies without changes for many hundreds of years and transfer it from generation to generation. <\p>

People used Mungalsky track as the main trade path at the time of Tamerlan then began to call it ”Chuya” as it laid along the Chuya River - the most considerable inflow of the Katun River, serving merchants in the Russian and Altai, Mongolian and Chinese trade way. Development of Chuya highway began as a result of voluntary occurrence of southern Altai in structure of the Russian Empire in 1756. The first written data meet since 1788 when Russian merchants reached the Chuya River at the Kuraysky steppe for the first time. When trade relations began to accept regular character, Russians constructed the first huts on the Chuya, telengits, a local nation called this place Kosh-Agach. The Biysk merchant Habarov and the resident of Zmeinogorsk Tokarev were pioneers of trade. Then Biysk and Zmeinogorsk merchants joined them. In 1864 in Kosh-Agache there were already 10 warehouses, and the Biysk merchant Gipev even built a house. Chuya tract was a mountain path, for moving by horse only, the site from Ongudai to Kosh-Agach where goods could be transported only in the pack was especially heavy. <\p>

Construction of Chuya highway began at spring of 1901. Peasants of nearby villages were attracted, it participated from 80 to 158 workers. Biysk merchants organized a raise money for road development among the persons trading with Mongolia. They collected 10000 rubles in a short time. Construction of the wheel road from Ongudai to Kosh-Agacha was completed in the middle of 1903. Expedition headed by the engineer of department of means of communication V. Ya. Shishkov, future famous writer, was directed to Mountain Altai in the summer of 1914. They have done huge work for tracing of future path and collecting maps, but further researches were interrupted with the beginning of World War I and Civil war. New recovery work on the Chuya tract was begun only in 1922. The bridge over the Chuya near Kosh-Agach was built. Three ferries over the Katun River were constructed in 1923. <\p>

History of the Second World war also left concentration camps for 300-400 prisoners were based in the 30th years along a path at distance of 15-20 km from each over. The dispossessed Siberian peasants became road builders. There was a women's camp around the Myyuta on the bank of the Sema. 10-12 thousand prisoners opened the way in snow drifts and conducted a tree felling along all route. Prisoners built the floating pontoon bridge, largest in the USSR in 1934. New Ferroconcrete Bridge over Katun River was built in 1959 as well as over the Biya and the Isha in 1964. <\p>

New road through Chike-Taman pass was started in 1984. In the 90th years the bypass road, bringing cars to the Chuya highway, passing Biysk was built. Chuya highway is important transport artery of the Mountain Altai connecting the region with railway and the waterways of Siberia, it is also the federal highway Moscow - Vladivostok. Chuya highway museum was founded in Biysk in 1992. Expositions telling about all the climatic zones of Altai, common and rare species of animals, birds, fish, plants. Ancient history of Altai represented by the fossil collection, formed since museum foundation. The minerals of Altai are presented samples of various ores, minerals, colored clay and decorative stone. The pride of the collection is variety of semi-precious stones and beautiful Druze. Among them Revnev jasper which was used in creating the "Queen of Vases", stored in the Hermitage. Ridder breccia was used in the construction of pillars for the temple of Christ the Savior in Moscow.