Cherkessk is the capital of the Karachay-Cherkessk Republic. The republic is situated in the foothills of the Northwest Caucasus. It borders Krasnodar and Stavropol Territories, Kabardino-Balkarya, Georgia and Abkhazia Republics. The Karachay-Cherkessk Republic occupies an area of 14,100 sq. km. The population of the republic is about 436,000 people which is 0.3% of the Russia’s total. 46% of them live in urban areas and 54% inhabit rural areas. The population of Cherkessk is about 120,000 people.
Climate and Nature
The climate in the region is relatively warm, with short winters and long and warm summers. The average temperature in January is -3°C, and the average temperature in July is +22°C. The highest recorded temperature is +39°C, and the lowest is -29°C.
About 80% of the territory of the republic is mountainous. Forests cover a large part of the territory. The republic has an abundance of water resources. 172 small and large rivers flow through the republic, the largest being the Kuban, Bolshoi and Maly Zelenchuk, Urup, and Laba rivers. There are about 130 glacial alpine lakes and numerous alpine waterfalls.
The republic's fauna includes deer, Caucasian goats, chamois, roe deer, bears, squirrels, foxes, muskrats, martens, mink, jackals, wolves, raccoon dogs, European hares, otters, forest cats, badgers, lynx, gray partridge, pheasants, Caucasian grouse, Caucasian snow cocks, and ducks. Flora includes more than 1,260 species of higher vascular plants based on Caucasian species (235 of them endemic).
The town was founded in 1804. The first settlement was called Batalpashinskaya. It was renamed Batalpashinsk in 1931 and Sulimov in 1934. The Karachay-Cherkessk Automonous Region was formed on April 12, 1922. In 1937 it was called Yezhovo-Cherkessk and in 1939 it was renamed Cherkessk.
Russians represent about 40 percent of the republic’s population; Karachays represent about 30 percent; Cherkess — about 10 percent; and Abazins — about 7 percent. Smaller groups make up the remainder. The Karachays speak Karachay-Balkar, a Western Turkic language. Both the Karachay and Cherkess peoples are Muslims.
There are two scientific establishments in Karachay-Cherkess republic – the Institute of the Humanities and Zelenchuk Astronomical Complex of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Higher education establishments include Karachay-Cherkess State Teacher's College, Technological Institute, and branches of other Russian institutes.
There is Regional Museum and Historical and Cultural Museum in Cherkessk. Address of the Historical and Cultural Museum is Krasnoarmeyskaya str., 58. Among the theatres, there is Russian Theatre of Drama and Comedy, located Lenina str., 42.
Karachay-Cherkessia contributes significantly to the economy of the Northern Caucasus. The main industries are chemical industry, building materials production, food, power engineering and metalworking, light industry, non-ferrous industry, forest and woodworking.
Enterprises located in Cherkessk produce more than two thirds of all industrial goods. Engineering, chemical, cement, and food industries are well developed in Cherkessk.
As for the agriculture, dairy and wool production are the leading branches. Crops include wheat, corn, barley, sugar beets, and sunflowers. Karachay-Cherkessia produces 1.3% of wool in the Russian Federation.