Located on the western shore of the Caspian Sea, Makhachkala is a major city in Russia’s North Caucasus area. It is the capital of the Dagestan Republic, an incredibly diverse region with over 30 ethnicities, each with their own language. Visitors can expect a warm welcome as they explore the stunning environment of the region and its historical cities.
Things to see and do in Makhachkala
- Visit the city’s main attraction, the Grand Mosque of Makhachkala. It accommodates up to 17,000 worshipers and is the largest mosque in Russia.
- Learn more about local culture at the Dagestani Aul (village) Ethnographic Museum, which offers a unique collection of national clothing, household, and interior design items.
- Try traditional Dagestani cuisine, such as hinkal and shashlik, at one of the countless restaurants and cafes in the city. The main local dish, hinkal is a dish of meat dumplings (usually with lamb or beef), served with broth and sauce. Dagestan has its own variation of Shashlik, the popular Caucasian grilled kebab.
- Take a journey to the Tarki-Tau mountains surrounding the city to enjoy the Dagestani landscape and capture the best views of Makhachkala.
- Thanks to its location, Makhachkala offers its visitors lots of places to swim and bask in the sun, from the central beach to numerous pristine beaches outside the city.
- Explore Derbent, the oldest city in Russia. It is believed to be nearly 5,000 years old, with its first historic documentation dating back to the 6th century BC. Stroll through the ancient streets of Derbent’s magals (districts), explore the medieval fortress of Naryn-Kala, a UNESCO world heritage site, and visit the local Juma Mosque (Friday Mosque), the oldest in Russia.
Tips for travellers
Among numerous natural landmarks of Dagestan, the Sulak Canyon is the most outstanding. With a maximum depth of over 1,920 meters, it exceeds the Grand Canyon and offers breathtaking views of the Sulak river. The canyon consists of three gorges rising above the river and occupies a total area of 53 kilometers.
The best way to travel to the Sulak Canyon is to take a 1-hour ride on a car or bus from Makhachkala to the village of Dubki.