This must be one of the greatest ancient art galleries anywhere in the world. Thousands of 5,000-year-old petroglyphs and drawing have been discovered in the Altai Mountains, Siberia.

Mountain passes were marked not only in people’s memory, but by ancient stelas, heaps of stones, and numerous petroglyphs.

The Chuysky Trakt, which rambles on for about 1,000 km, starts in Novosibirsk (2,812 km from Moscow) and extends across the Altai Territory and the Altai Republic down to Russia’s border with Mongolia. On the 723th kilometer of the road, on the right shore of the Chuya river stands an ancient sanctuary called Kalbac-tash. The site is adorned with petroglyphs.

Goat hunting. Near the Elangash river.Photo©Pavel Filatov

Image on a stone depicting a man’s hand from the Bronze Age (around 1500 BC). A rare image for Altai. Among the thousands of petroglyphs here, there are only two images of a hand.

5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StonePhoto©Pavel Filatov

During the Bronze Age (around 2000-1000 BC), when these petroglyphs were probably made, a road uniting two hollows ran here. It was actively used by nomads to haul cattle. Probably this scene had no inner meaning, but its aim was to guide the ancient Altai people to the most convenient route.

5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneImage of a caravan in a valley. Photo©Pavel Filatov

Altai is the cradle of many ancient peoples of Central Asia. The Altai Mountains were an insurmountable obstacle for nomads heading to the East.

5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In Stone Images of sacral bulls with astrological symbols. Bronze Age (2000-1500 BC). Photo©Pavel Filatov
5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneA camel caravan. Bronze Age. Situated near the Elangash river.Photo©Pavel Filatov
5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneA multi-figured image: rider, camel teamster, and hoofed animals. Near the Elangash river.Photo©Pavel Filatov
5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneA herd of deer. A Bronze Age fragment of the central composition at the Kalbac-tash sanctuary.Photo©Pavel Filatov
5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneA mythological animal descending from a cliff attacks people. Bronze Age. Photo©Pavel Filatov
5,000-Year-Old Altai Treasure: Ancient Petroglyphs Carved In StoneImage of a deer. Near the Elangash river. Photo©Pavel Filatov

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