March 5, 2015

0205, 1476 RUSSIA (Altai Republic) - Golden Mountains of Altai (UNESCO WHS)

0205 - The Argamdzi River in Ukok Quiet Zone

Posted on 13.05.2012, and 05.03.2015
In nowadays, the specially protected territories and natural complexes with an area of almost 22% of the whole Republic's territory are distinguished in the Altai Republic, which has an area of 92,600km2 and is situated in the very center of Asia, at the junction of Siberian taiga, steppes of Kazakhstan and semi-deserts of Mongolia. The site Golden Mountains of Altai consists in three separate areas: Altaisky Zapovednik and a buffer zone around Lake Teletskoye; Katunsky Zapovednik and a buffer zone around Mount Belukha; and the Ukok Quiet Zone on the Ukok plateau.

1476 - Belukha Mountain

"The region represents the most complete sequence of altitudinal vegetation zones in central Siberia, from steppe, forest-steppe, mixed forest, subalpine vegetation to alpine vegetation. The site is also an important habitat for endangered animal species such as the snow leopard." The Ukok Quiet Zone is located in the south-east of the Altai Republic, near the borders with China, Kazakhstan and Mongolia, on a high mountain plateau dominated by hills and steppe landscapes with marsh, streams and lakes, which have particular cultural and religious values for local people.

It is a remote and pristine grasslands area, once inhabited by the Pazyryk, an ancient people who are associated with some spectacular archeological findings, including mummies found frozen in the permafrost. Currently the region is threatened by two major russian projects: a gas pipeline, which will be constructed from western Siberia to China's Xinjiang Province, and a large dam that would block the wild and untamed Katun River.

The postcard 0205 shows the Argamdzi River (belonging to the basin of Ak-Alakha), which springs from mountains with the same name, located on the south-east of the plateau Ukok, 3km from the border with Mongolia. In background can be seen the Tabyn-Bogdo-Ola Mountains (the Five Sacred Mountains), a mountain knot between 3 mountainous ridges in Altai: the Sailyugem, Mongolian Altai and South Altai Mountain Ridge. The highest summit of the Tabyn-Bogdo-Ola is Nairamdal or Kiityn Mount (4,374m), the second highest point of Siberia after Belukha Mount.

Belukha is a twin-peaked mountain massif rising along the border of Russia and Kazakhstan, just north of the point where these two borders meet those of China and Mongolia. At the same time it is equally distant from three oceans - Pacific, Indian and Atlantic. Of the two peaks, the eastern peak (4,506m) is higher than the western peak (4,440m). There are several small glaciers on the mountain, including Belukha Glacier, of which deeper cores contain as much as 3-5,000 years of climatic and environmental records.

About the stamps
On the postcard 0205
The first upper stamp is a joint between Russia and Montenegro, issued on May 26, 2011, and devoted to architecture. The stamp depict Kazan Cathedral in St. Petersburg (on the postcard), and the building of the Russian diplomatic mission in Cetinje in Montenegro. The bottom stamps, depicting rabbit and moose, are part of a set issued in 2008, about which I wrote here.

On the postcard 1476
The first stamp, depicting Ryazan Kremlin (25 RUB), is part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

The second stamp is part of the series Gifts of Nature, issued on August, 27, 2003. Apart from the fact that the stamps of this series have a less common shape (round), they are also fragrant. Often erroneously referred to as 'scratch and sniff', perfumed stamps release a scent when the surface is gently rubbed, the result of a complicated technique involving the 
micro-encapsulation of small amounts of perfume. Almost any fragrance can be produced, awakening the senses in the most unusual way. Even though it is 12 years old it still smells like strawberries. The series contains 5 stamps with the same face values (5 RUB):
• Apple
• Melon - It's on the postcard 2947
• Pear
• Pineapple
• Strawberry - It's on the postcard 1476

Sender 0205: Uliana Zolotaryova (direct swap)
Sent from Novosibirsk (Novosibirsk Oblast / Russia), on 18.04.2012
Photo: Pavel Filatov
Sender 1476: Kirill Kornov (direct swap)
Sent from Barnaul (Altai Krai / Russia), on 13.01.2015
Photo: Litvinov

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