Nalchik is the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic of Russia. The word “Nalchik” means “horseshoe” in local dialects, as the city is located inside a semicircle of mountains which resemble a horseshoe. The latter became the symbol of the city.
Nalchik has the population of 239,000 (2012), land area - 133 sq. km.
The phone code is +7 8662; postal code - 360000.
The fortress Nalchik was founded in 1818. The military settlement by the fortress was founded in 1838 with the population of 2300. Since September 1921, Nalchik is a city.
During the World War II, the city was occupied by German troops from October 28th, 1942, till January 3rd, 1943. It was heavily destroyed.
There is the Eternal Fire burning in the city park to commemorate those perished during the War; besides, the evidences of those heavy battles can be seen in other parts of Nalchik.
Coming back to a peaceful life was marked by tragic events in the history of Balkar people. On March 8th, 1944, by the order of the Commander-in-Chief I.V.Stalin forced deportation of Balkar people began.
Nalchik has a regular net of streets where mainly blocks of flats and administrative buildings were constructed within 1950s and 1970s. In 1960s, a new general plan was adopted according to which the city started to grow as a resort city.
The distinctive feature of the city construction is the presence of whole blocks of private houses many if which were constructed before the Revolution of 1917. They are “hidden” between high-rise buildings in order to keep balance of main streets.
Since 1991, Nalchik is the capital of Kabardino-Balkaria Republic. All the governmental institutions of the Republic are located in the city.
Nalchik is located on the river Nalchik (drainage-basin of the Terek River), in the picturesque place at the foot of the Main Caucasus Mountain range at the height of 390-600 (490 in the center) meters above sea level.
It is a big industrial center. In the city there are various industries: machine-building (truck equipment for geological survey and mining), electronics, metal-working, plants producing artificial leather and waterproof cloths.
There is a local airport, a train station (a dead-end branch; the main railway junction of Kabardino-Balkaria is the city of Prohladny), a wine-making plant which, in particular, produces gas water “Nalchik” from mineral springs situated in the city, a grain-elevator.
The federal highway Rostov-on-Don - Baku goes through the city. The transportation in Nalchik consists mainly of buses and mini vans. Taxi service is well developed.
Nalchik - resort city
Nalchik is a balneological and mountain skiing resort. About a quarter of the city is a resort; private cars are not allowed to ride here. In the resort part of Nalchik and near it there are about 40 sanatoriums and camps. The balneological treatment can include therapeutic mud-baths as well.
Among tourist attractions in the city there is an attraction park, four artificial lakes (they are filled from the river Nalchik), a rope-way, mineral springs, a huge park (one of the largest in Europe), a zoo, a hippodrome. Picturesque mountains around are favorite to tourism, in particular, to hiking and mountaineering.
On the mountain Malaya Kizilovka just opposite the resort part of Nalchik there is a chain of restaurants “Sosruko” and observation squares from where one can view the city, its closest and far neighborhood and mountain chains.
There are museums of local study, science, arts etc., including several exhibition galleries in the city. There are some theaters in Nalchik: Russian Drama, Art, Green (an open space amphitheater in the city park), as well as National Drama Theaters, named after Kabardin poet Ali Shogentsukov and Balkar poet Kaisyn Kuliyev.