The little known Republic of Adygea (“Республика Адыгея” in Russian) is landlocked in the Krasnordar Krai. Covered with 40% forest, with its lush nature, hiking trails and lots of tourist infrastructures, it is perfect for nature lovers.
Adygea is also a land of history. The territory of Circassia (known as “Adygea” in local language) in the 19th century stretched from the Black Sea to present day Kabardino Balkaria.
Land of pain, the genocide of the Circassian tribes has never been recognized by Russia.
Last updated : 27/02/2023
Capital : Maykop ((Майкоп)
Population : About 450 000 inhabitants
Languages : Adygean and Russian, but you’ll also find “Circassians” from Turkey and Syria. Arabic and Turkish is quite common, especially in the capital.
Religion : Sunni Islam and Oxthodox Christianity
Dress code : None, but wear something decent and covering to enter the mosques and churches.
Visa : The Republic of Adygea is part of the Russian Federation so you will need a Russian visa if necessary depending your nationality.
Best time to travel : Late spring, summer and autumn
Who are the Circassians ?
The names of “Circassians” and “Tcherkess” is used in the West and in Russia to describe a group of 12 tribes from Circassia (+ the Abkhaz people of Abkhazia, from Transcaucassia) who are ethnically and lingustically very close to each other.
The Circassian genocide
The ethnic cleansing of the Circassian tribes by the Russian Tsar army started in 1864. During about 3 years they have been massacred and kicked out of their historical land. Circassia used to be half of north western Caucasus and within a few has been swipped of the map.
The Circassians who managed to survive fleed to the Ottoman Empire through the Black Sea. We nowadays find diasporas in the Balkans, Turkey and the Middle East.
Where to sleep
There is a lot of accomodation in Maykop : from hostel (I really don’t recommend it, the owner is an idiot and it’s very far from the center) to hotels and Airbnbs.
Adygea is very popular among Russian tourists. You can easily find hotels and guesthouses on Ostrovok, the best alternative to Booking.com in Russia.
There is also a hostel at the entrance of the Bolshoi Tkhatch national park (Tel 8 988 150 01 02 to book).
Adygea is 1250 kilometers far from Moscow. There isn’t any train from Moscow that stops directly to Maykop the capital.
Three daily trains from Moscow to Sotchi and Abkhazia stop in Belorechenskaya (Белореченская), from where you can catch a bus or another train to Maykop, about 30 kilometers from there.
One to two daily trains from Sotchi (Adler) stop directly in Maykop ( about 5 to 6 hours journey).
There are also daily flights to Krasnodar from other big cities in Russia like Moscow (right now Krasnodar’s airport isn’t working due to the SMO). You have to catch a bus to reach Maykop from there, about two and a half hours drive.
Adygea has a much better reputation than its neighbours Karachay – Cherkessia and Kabardino – Balkaria. No worries. Except for the weather, there’s a reason why it’s SO green … I recommend you to check out the weather forecast before starting any hikes. Heavy rainfall makes the paths slipery and dangerous.
Read & watch
If you are interested in learning about Circassian people, I recommend you all these following books and movies.
Any movies or books to recommend, feel free to share !