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Lagonaki plateau:
the mystery of the ancient Caucasus

#mountains
Great Azish Cave, Eagle Regiment, Guam Gorge, purest mountain rivers and famous alpine meadows. You can see all this and get an unforgettable experience if you go on a trip to the mountains of Apsheronsky district.
Lagonaki is a huge high-mountain plateau of the Western Caucasus, located at an altitude of over 2 thousand meters above sea level. The turbulent rivers Tsitsa, Kurdzhips, Belaya originate here. The plateau territory is included in the protected area. This is the only place where relict forests still grow, and also the lowest glacier of the Caucasus and Europe is located - the Small Fisht Glacier.

The history of the Lagonaki plateau began many millions of years ago, when the Tethys Ocean hid it entirely in its depths. Retreating, the ocean left behind itself a land generously endowed with salts and minerals, suitable for the development of various plants. For thousands of years, waves have sharpened stone and pierced caverns in rocks, formed cliffs and washed rock out of canyons.

That is why the local places are perfect for rock climbing, rafting, mountain tourism. Horse riding, paragliding and hang gliding are popular here. There are 125 caves on the plateau, and in its southern part there is a picturesque Stone Sea with giant rock blocks. The sea is relatively close to the plateau, so in winter the plateau turns out to be snowy, and people come here to ski.

Lagonaki is one of those places that can present an interesting and beautiful vacation at any time of the year. In winter, there are many tourists who want to see the waterfalls. After all, it is from December that they become the most abundant in water. Thousands of fans of speleological recreation come here every year. It is also quite comfortable in the caves in winter, because the temperature never drops below zero underground.

The most famous caves of Russia are located on the Lagonaki plateau and in its vicinity. The Paryashchaya Ptitsa Cave is a deep karst mine with a depth of 517 meters. "Anglo-Russian" cave, more than 400 meters deep and 3 thousand meters long. The "Krestik-Turist" cave system, the deepest cave in Russia - 650 meters. No less deep cave "Olga", traversed to a depth of 277 meters, but definitely having a continuation. In the north of the plateau, there is the Ovechya Cave, accessible for inspection without special equipment.

Scientists who have explored Lagonaki believe that there are no more similar to Lagonaki highlands. Currently, the Lagonaki plateau is part of the Caucasus Nature Reserve.

On the Lagonaki plateau, the lover of admiring the unique nature in silence will find suitable leisure for himself, and those who appreciate active rest in picturesque places. For those who do not like to rest as a savage, there are many hotels and boarding houses near the plateau, you can also rent a separate house. Visiting the highlands is free, but interesting souvenirs are sold here. Considering that most people come here for a long time, it is better to stock up on food and water. If children are traveling with you, do not forget to pack a first aid kit at home.

In winter, ski equipment or snowmobiles can be rented in Lagonaki to reach the peak of the plateau. Since many people go to the Lagonaki highlands to celebrate the New Year and Christmas, it is better to book places for rest in advance. And, of course, take good care of this truly unique corner of nature.
What to see in the vicinity

Great Azish cave. Great Azish cave is a real miracle of nature. Gloomy and mysterious, it lurks at an altitude of 1520 meters above sea level, surrounded by beech and fir forests. Here, under huge vaults, an underground river flows, all kinds of sinter growths are presented in abundance, which is why the architecture of the cavity is considered truly unique. Found her relatively recently. At the beginning of the twentieth century, under the twisted roots of a collapsed tree, local residents accidentally discovered a bottomless hole in the form of a well. The first exploration of the cave was carried out in 1910 by a group led by Kosma Shevyrev.

Eagles Shelf. It is located in the vicinity of the mountain village of Mezmay in Apsheronsk district. From a height of 300 meters, a view of the Lagonaki highlands and surrounding ridges opens up. The shelf can be accessed from Mezmay or from the road, before reaching the village.

Guam Gorge. It is considered one of the most picturesque places in Kuban. The unique combination of landscapes, the purest mountain air, relict forests and natural harmony of truly fabulous places attract thousands of lovers of unusual travel and relaxation. The narrow gorge surprises with the highest steep cliffs with a multilayer structure, boxwood thickets and spreading yews, 60-80 meter high waterfalls, and a steep river cliff.

Narrow-gauge railway. In the 30s of the XX century, a narrow-gauge railway was built in the Guam Gorge, intended for the movement of goods. It was part of the Apsheronsk narrow-gauge railway and connected Guamka with Memzay by the shortest possible route. Today the narrow-gauge railway is used as a road for a colorful sightseeing train.
The Legend of Lago and Naki

An old legend tells of the love of a young shepherd named Lago and the beautiful Naki. Lago was a poor man, and Naki was a high-born princess, whose father would never allow his daughter even to talk to a commoner. After a chance meeting, the young people fell in love with each other. Despite the great danger of exposure, the lovers met in secret. Their happiness was overshadowed by the fact that their father found a noble groom for Naki and a wedding was to take place. The girl could not imagine life without her beloved shepherd and threatened to die, just not to get to another. Having vowed to be together in sorrow and joy, in life and death, the lovers decided to flee together - come what may! Lighted by the moonlight, Lago and Naki set off into the mountains along a winding path. Only in the morning, tired, they fell asleep on the fragrant grass. But at dawn, the disappearance of the prince's daughter was discovered, and the angry father led the horse in pursuit of the rebellious fugitive.

The mountains shook with the heavy sound of hooves, which awakened the lovers. Furious with fear, they rushed to run further, and Naki had to carry the exhausted Lago in his arms, but love gave him strength. However, the trails led them to a sheer abyss in the middle of the incredible beauty of the earthly mountain paradise. The noise of the chase was approaching, and the separation frightened much more than death. The girl whispered that the heavenly radiance of their love would save them from the pain of hitting the sharp stones ... The military detachment, which overtook the couple in love, stopped dumbfounded: beyond the edge of the cliff, surrounded by dazzling light, laughing, Lago and Naki in love soared to the very clouds ...