Documents Informational materials

Booklet "Golden Mountains of Altai - the World Heritage Property"


This is the third booklet in a series that portrays existing and potential Russia’s World Natural Heritage Properties including the properties already inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List/UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List and promising candidates for the inscription as World Heritage Properties.

Adopted on November 16, 1972, the UNESCO Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage is the most efficient and representative among the existing nature conservation conventions and programs. The primary purpose of the Convention is to unite the efforts of the international community to identify, protect and provide comprehensive support to cultural monuments and natural objects of outstanding universal value.

Benefits of World Heritage Status for World Natural Heritage Properties:

  • Increase in the popularity of territories inscribed on the List
  • Increase in the prestige of natural areas and the institutions governing them
  • Greater capacity to attract financial support for World Heritage Properties
  • Development of alternative types of natural resource use, including ecological tourism and traditional trades
  • Additional guarantees of the full preservation and integrity of unique natural areas
  • Organization of monitoring and inspection of conservation activities in natural areas

Established in 1976, the UNESCO World Heritage List is representative both of diverse regions of our planet and of the number of properties: it currently includes 176 natural, 689 cultural and 25 mixed (cultural&natural) properties located in 148 countries. Many world-wide known natural sites such as the Great Barrier Reef, Galapagos Islands, Hawaiian Islands, Grand Canyon, Mount Kilimanjaro, Victoria and Iguazu waterfalls are protected under the World Heritage Convention. The total area of World Heritage Properties comprises more than 13% of the territory covered by specially protected nature areas worldwide.

Russia is now represented on the World Heritage List by fifteen cultural and eight natural properties. The Russia’s natural World Heritage properties are the Virgin Komi Forests, Lake Baikal, Volcanoes of Kamchatka, Golden Mountains of Altai, Western Caucasus, Central Sikhote-Alin, Uvs Nuur Basin, and the Natural System of Wrangel Island Reserve. National Park "Curonian Spit" included on the List as an outstanding cultural landscape. Thirty Russia’s specially protected nature areas, among which eleven are nature reserves and five are national parks, have World Heritage status. Work is currently being carried out to present more Russia’s natural sites on the World Heritage List: the Putorana Plateau, Magadansky Reserve, the Commander Islands, Daurian Steppes, Nature Park "Lena Pillars", Krasnoyarsk Pillars, the Great Vasyugan Mire and the Ilmensky Mountains are included on the Russian Federation’s Tentative List.

The Golden Mountains of Altai natural property was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List on December 5, 1998 under natural criterion (iv). The three parts of the property – Altaisky Nature Reserve and Lake Teletskoye, Katunsky Nature Reserve and Belukha Nature Park, Quiet Zone Ukok Nature Park – fully and integrally represent the most important and unique features of the Altai region – a global biodiversity center and the center of origination of mountain flora of the Northern Asia. The region presents the broadest picture of interchanging altitudinal zones of the Central Siberia: steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine and alpine meadows. The Golden Mountains of Altai property provides habitat to several globally rare species of animals including the snow leopard, for which this territory is the central distribution area.

The present booklet contains materials from the Golden Mountains of Altai nomination dossier prepared in 1995–1998 by Greenpeace Russia in cooperation with the Altai State University (Faculty of Geography) and the Altai XXI Century Fund; World Heritage Certificate and the Decision by the World Heritage Committee on the inscription of the Golden Mountains of Altai property on the World Heritage List. Also included in the booklet is the Development and Management Strategy for the Golden Mountains of Altai World Heritage Property – a forward-looking document based on an analysis of the state of conservation, management process and functioning problems of the parts of the property, prepared by State Nature Biosphere Reserve "Katunsky" involving Altaisky State Nature Reserve and Natural Heritage Protection Fund.

Full version

pdf Booklet "Golden Mountains of Altai - the World Heritage Property"  [rus/eng]