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Satellite image of the Caucasus: the Greater Caucasus in the north and the Lesser Caucasus in the south

Satellite image of the Caucasus:
the Greater Caucasus in the north and the Lesser Caucasus in the south

Highest peak Elbrus ( 5642  m )
location Armenia , Azerbaijan , Iran , Georgia , Russia
Controversial: Abkhazia , South Ossetia
part of alpine mountain belt
Caucasus (Europe)
Coordinates 43 °  N , 45 °  E Coordinates: 43 °  N , 45 °  E
Type Fold mountains with volcanic cones
surface 400,000 km²

The Caucasus ( Russian Кавказ , Kawkas ; Georgian კავკასიონი , K'avk'asioni , Armenian Կովկաս , Kowkas , aserbaidschanisch Qafqaz , Turkish Kafka , from ancient Greek Καύκασος ) is an approximately 1100 kilometers in length, extending from west-northwest east-southeast high mountains in Eurasien between black and Caspian Sea . It is part of the Alpidic mountain system and is divided into the three mountain ranges Greater Caucasus , Lesser Caucasus and Talysh Mountains . The Caucasus rises to a height of 5642 meters above sea level and has an average height of 602 meters. It is located on the territories of Russia , Georgia , Armenia , Iran and Azerbaijan . In the year 2000 about 30.6 million people lived in these mountains and their vicinity. The region of the Caucasus has been an important trading hub since ancient times.

Location and geography

North and South Caucasus

The Caucasus is divided into the plains of the North Caucasus , the Greater Caucasus, the Transcaucasian Depression , the Lesser Caucasus and the Talysh Mountains . The drainage is predominantly radial. Longer valleys are rare in the Caucasus. One of the few exceptions is the Svaneti high valley .

The Greater Caucasus is more than 1,100 kilometers long, up to 180 kilometers wide and is divided in many ways. In the far north lies the chain of the forested Black Mountains (around 600  m ). South of it follows the pasture ridge ( 1200  m to 1500  m ), the rocky ridge (up to 3629  m ). South of these chains, the mountain range is divided into four sections: the western Black Sea Caucasus , also known as the Pontic Caucasus ( 600  m to 1200  m ), the glaciated high mountain Caucasus with the highest peaks Elbrus , Shchara and Kazbek (up to 5642  m ), in the middle the Surami Mountains (up to 1926  m ) and in the east the Caspian Caucasus ( 500  m to 1000  m ). The main chain is only divided into two halves by a single crossing, which is passable all year round, the Georgische Heerstraße . The Taman Peninsula and the Abşeron Peninsula form geological continuations of main or secondary chains, which therefore protrude into the sea. With the Crimean Mountains and the Turkmen - chorasanischen Kopet Dag the Great Caucasus lies on a folding zone of alpidic orogeny to which he is not limited geographically but is connected by undersea or relatively shallow pleat crests.

About 100 kilometers south of the Lesser Caucasus lies on the territory of Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. The Lesser Caucasus is not an independent mountain range, but a section of the North Anatolian-Northern Iranian chain mountains with ceiling construction and young volcanoes. In the southwest it is connected to the Pontic Mountains in the Georgian-Turkish border area , in the southeast the Talysh Mountains merge into the Elburs Mountains on the national territory of Iran and the Armenian highlands join in the south . At the Surami Mountains , it borders directly on the Greater Caucasus . The highest mountain in the Lesser Caucasus is the Aragaz ( 4090  m ). The Gjamysch ( 3724  m ) is also an important reference mountain . It is covered with firn but has no glaciers .

Inner Eurasian border

In ancient times , the Caucasus was at times considered the border between Europe and Asia . Since 1735, according to Philipp Johann von Strahlberg , in the Russian Empire, and later in the USSR, the Kuma-Manytsch lowland , located about 300 km north of the Great Caucasus, was regarded as the border between the continents. This representation is also largely accepted internationally. Since the Caspian Sea was connected to the Black Sea from the Quaternary until about 10,000 years ago (Chwalynsk Transgression ), the former waterway forms a logical extension of the demarcation between Europe and Asia formed by the Sea of ​​Azov - Black Sea - Bosporus - Sea of ​​Marmara and Dardanelles . In the Great Soviet Encyclopedia , the continent border to Strahlberg was entered until the last edition. Today the Caucasus ridge is also seen as the continental border in Russia.


Mountain ranges of the Greater Caucasus

The Caucasus is a folded mountain range with a few volcanic cones that was unfolded like the Alps in the Tertiary . There is u. a. made of granites and gneiss and contains oil and natural gas deposits, the reserves of which are estimated at up to 200 billion barrels of oil. (For comparison: Saudi Arabia - the country with the world's largest oil reserves - is estimated at 260 billion barrels.) The deposits are mined in the region around Maikop , Grozny , Baku and, more recently, under the Caspian Sea.

Geophysically , the Caucasus forms a broad zone of deformation that is part of the Alpidic mountain belt , the collision belt of the continental plates from the Alps to the Himalayas. The tectonics of the area is determined by a shift of the Arabian plate by about 2.5 centimeters per year to the north against the Eurasian plate .

At the end of the 20th century, therefore, various large earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.5 to 7 occurred in the Caucasus , which had catastrophic consequences for the population and the economy in the region. In the earthquake in Spitak , Armenia , on December 7, 1988, more than 25,000 people died, around 20,000 were injured and around 515,000 were left homeless.

Climate and vegetation

Roughly schematic section of the climatic zones for Western Asia and the Caucasus according to the Köppen-Geiger classification

Due to the different altitudes and the borderline between the subtropical - humid (humid) climate around the Black Sea and the southern Caspian Sea, the rather arid (dry) steppe and desert climate of Central Asia and between the subtropical climate and the temperate - continental (winter cold) Climates to the north and at higher altitudes in the Caucasus, a large number of climatic zones meet in a relatively small area.

The mountain ridge of the Great Caucasus is the border between the temperate and the subtropical climate zone, but the temperate continental climate continues over eastern Georgia into the Armenian highlands and eastern Turkey. There are five basic climatic types in the Caucasus:

  1. a panhumid (year-round humid) subtropical climate,
  2. a moderately humid,
  3. a temperate-continental semi-humid or semi-arid (most of the year humid or dry) climate,
  4. a rather continental-dry colder climate and
  5. a continental, rather hot and very arid climate.
Sketch of the amounts of precipitation in the Caucasus by Élisée Reclus (English, amounts of precipitation in inches )

The panhumid climatic zone is characteristic of the west of the Great and Lesser Caucasus, from the Black Sea coast of Russia via western Georgia to the northeast coast of Turkey. The annual precipitation here is over 2000 millimeters. The vegetation of very green and dense subtropical rainforests corresponds to this climate . The evaporation clouds of the humid climate are attracted all year round by the cold highland climate, where they condense and rain down mainly on the mountain edges . As a result, almost all the mountain edges in the north of the Lesser Caucasus, the Pontic Mountains, the Talysh Mountains, the Elburs Mountains and around the Greater Caucasus are very green and originally densely forested. In the Central Caucasus, parts of the East Caucasus, in the northern and eastern parts of the Lesser Caucasus and in higher altitudes above the subtropical-panhumid area, a moderately humid climate prevails. This climate includes the zone of temperate mixed forests, which merges into coniferous forests above and into high pastures and glaciers above the tree line . In contrast, the inner part of the South Caucasian highlands (Armenia) and some regions of the East Caucasus (parts of the mountainous region of Dagestan ) and the northeastern foothills of the steppe are characterized by a relatively continental and dry climate. The annual rainfall here is between 500 and 600 millimeters. In the very arid hot steppes, semi-deserts and deserts of Inner Azerbaijan and the Ara Valley , they are even less than 200 to 400 millimeters.

The snow line in the Caucasus varies between 3000 and 3800 meters above sea level. It is lowest in the west, where it roughly corresponds to the snow line of the Alps. It reaches its greatest height in the Lesser Caucasus. The precipitation in winter means that many mountain valleys cannot be reached for months. Due to climatic interaction, the snowy mountain winter sometimes extends into the subtropical zone.

In the originally steppe-like northern foreland of the Greater Caucasus, the climate ranges from the semi-humid continental climate in the west to the semi-arid to the arid continental climate in the east. The first two zones have gradually been converted into arable land by irrigation over the past 200 years, which is very productive thanks to black earth soils. The steppe is only preserved in the east. Between the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, the climate and vegetation range from subtropical western Georgia to the moderately humid central Georgia and the semi-arid highlands of Kakheti in eastern Georgia with more open landscapes to the more hot and arid climate of the steppes, semi-deserts and deserts of Inner Azerbaijan. In the southeast of Azerbaijan, however, the subtropical, humid zone of the Hyrcanic Forest begins again and continues towards the north coast of Iran. In the Lesser Caucasus, the climate and vegetation range across varied zones of humid or semi-humid climates, until it changes to the more arid, temperate-continental or cold-continental highland climate to the southeast. This zone, which also occurs in parts of Dagestan, includes rather stony and bare landscapes with little vegetation. The climate and vegetation zones can also be seen very well in the satellite image above.


The Caucasus is home to an abundance of wildlife. Large mammals include the Caucasus maral (a subspecies of the red deer ), wild boar , chamois and two endemic ibex species . Bear , wolf , jackal and lynx are also wild at home . The Caucasian leopard ( Panthera pardus ciscaucasica ), which was only rediscovered in 2003, is extremely rare, and protection programs are now in place in the North Caucasus. In historical times, Asiatic lions and Caspian tigers also lived here , but these were exterminated after the Middle Ages. The last Caspian tiger was shot near Tbilisi in 1922 . One species of European bison , the Caucasus bison , became extinct in 1927. Reintroduced animals, which are hybrids of a Caucasian bison with numerous lowland bison and a few American bison , live in the Caucasus nature reserve in the northwestern Caucasus (see highland line ). In other reserves there are also crossed lowland Caucasus bison without crossed bison. The last specimen of the Caucasian moose was killed around 1810.

Besides the two mentioned ibexes there are other mammals that are largely or wholly confined to this mountain complex: Caucasian Mole , Kolchisspitzmaus , Caucasus shrew , Caucasian Pygmy Shrew , Caucasian Bach shrew , Caucasus mouse , Kaukasuskleinwühlmaus , Kaukasusziesel , Armenian - Kazbek - West Caucasian - and North Caucasian Busch mouse . The majority of these species are very secret and inconspicuous. Apart from the bush mice, they all have close relatives in Europe and Asia from whom they are difficult to distinguish. Another endemic species that is hardly ever visible is the very peculiar Prometheus mouse , which lives largely underground . It is related to the water voles , but forms its own genus. Contrary to its name, the rather conspicuous Caucasian squirrel has a much wider distribution area that also includes most of Turkey, the Levant and northern Iraq and Iran.

The two endemic bird species of this mountain range are the Caucasian black grouse and the Caucasian king grouse , the latter only occurring in the high altitudes of the Greater Caucasus. In the Lesser Caucasus and Talysh Mountains, on the other hand, the Kaspi king chicken , which is also found further south, is represented. It is still unclear whether it is justified to classify the Bergzilpzalpe of this region as a separate species. Typical mountain bird species that are widely used in Europe rather include Alpendohle , Chough , Snow Sparrow , Ring Ouzel , Rock Thrush , Alpine Accentor , Alpine Swift , Water Pipit and Wallcreeper . Particularly noteworthy are the mountain bullfinches and the giant redstart , which occur in the mountains of central and southern Asia and have their most distant western breeding occurrence in the Greater Caucasus. Further indigenous bird species here with quite limited and unusual distribution areas include the juniper warbler , mountain hippopotamus and red-fronted girlitz . The large birds of prey in this mountainous region include bearded , geese , filthy and black vultures , stone , screaming , pygmy and short-toed eagles .

The Caucasus is very species-rich in invertebrates, for example around 1000 species of spiders have been recorded here.


The different physical, geographical and climatic conditions as well as the pronounced structure of the relief lead to a wealth of ecological niches. In the area of ​​the upper tree line you can find common mountain meadow soils, bog soils and steppe landscapes with black earth soils. The Caucasus is home to 6350 species of flowering plants, 1,600 of which are endemic . The endemic tree and shrub species are usually tertiary relics of a warmer and more humid climate. 17 genera of mountain plants are only represented here:

Genera endemic to the Caucasus:

The giant hogweed , which is considered a neophyte of the invasive species in Europe , comes from this region. It was imported to Europe as an ornamental plant in 1890 . Other well-known garden plants that come entirely or mainly from the West Caucasus include the large-flowered betony , the Crimean lily and the Crimean peony .

Only endemic to the Pontic Mountains and the Caucasus are the Caucasus spruce and the Nordmann fir , popular as a Christmas tree , the seeds of which are still almost exclusively imported from the Ratscha-Letschchumi region and Lower Vanetia in Georgia.

The biodiversity of the Caucasus is dwindling at an alarming rate. From a nature conservation perspective, the mountain region is one of the 25 most endangered areas on earth.


In the Caucasus, about 50 peoples who live as Caucasus peoples are called and Caucasian , Indo-European and Altaic languages speak. Ethnographically and linguistically, the Caucasus region is one of the most interesting areas in the world and is therefore delimited as a special cultural area . The settlement areas are often not sharply separated from one another. T. is the cause of tension and armed conflicts (e.g. Nagorno-Karabakh ). The picture changed significantly, especially in the 20th century ( genocide against the Armenians under Ottoman rule, deportations of Chechens , Ingush , Karachay , Balkar , Meshet and other ethnic groups during the Stalinist era ). The residents are partly Muslim, partly Christian (Russian, Georgian or Armenian Orthodox). The Armenian Church and Georgian Church are among the oldest Christian churches in the world. Both churches played a decisive role as the bearer and guardian of the national identity of the two peoples under foreign rule for centuries (under the Ottomans, Persians, Russians).


The prehistory of the Caucasus goes back to the Paleolithic . Around 4000 BC The Maikop culture arose in the northern Caucasus . It influenced the cultural development of the entire North Caucasus and parts of southern Russia. The Kura-Araxes culture can be found in Transcaucasia during this period . Archaeological excavations, in particular the finds of hundreds of dolmens (large stone graves) in the northwestern Caucasus, bear witness to a culture that is thousands of years old, but cannot be assigned to any historical population group.

In the late Bronze Age, the Koban culture was widespread in the northern Caucasus , which is divided into three stages by EI Krupnov and VI Kozenkova. The grave fields of Tli, Styrfaz and Verchnjaja Rutcha (graves 10 and 16) provided characteristic finds for phase I. Phase II of the Koban culture begins around 1200 BC. BC and shows a significant expansion of the distribution area. Phase III or classical Koban culture is usually between 850 and 650 BC. Dated. It corresponds to the Černogorovka culture in the eastern Black Sea region, which is sometimes also divided into the cultures of Černoles, Žabotin and Bondocharicha. The Colchis culture can be found south of the Caucasus . The early Iron Age is shaped by the Novočerkassk culture , which was defined by the Russian researcher AA Iessen in 1953, followed by Scythian find complexes from the late Iron Age (Koban IV or Scythian phase of the Koban culture). Attempts have been made to equate the Novočerkassk culture with the historical Cimmerians (Terenoškin), but this is proving to be increasingly problematic. In the meantime, the uniformity of the Koban culture is also increasingly being questioned.

Late antiquity to the Ottoman Empire

The area has repeatedly been the scene of ethnic disputes and the plaything of the great powers. In late antiquity , the Caucasus was a barrier belt against the steppe peoples of Eastern and Persia ; It was agreed in treaties that Rome should pay money to Persia, for which the Persians should block the Caucasus passes against peoples like the Huns . Alans have been recorded in the northern Caucasus since the 1st century. At the end of the 7th century some southern areas were conquered by the Arabs , but large parts of the Caucasus remained settled by Christians. In the period that followed, there were repeated battles between Arabs or Turks and Byzantium .

At the beginning of the 16th century, the Ottomans conquered the Caucasus. In the 19th century, the Russian Empire succeeded in conquering the northern Caucasus in a war lasting over sixty years against the mountain people. The resistance in Chechnya under the leadership of Imam Shamil , who had to surrender to the Great Russians in 1859, is legendary .

Conquest by Russia

Around 1770 Russia expanded into the Caucasus region. The 5th Russian Turkish War , which broke out in 1768, brought the Russian Empire into possession of the line between Kuban and Terek through the Peace of Küçük Kaynarca (July 21, 1774) . In 1785 the Caucasian governorship was formed from the areas of Ekaterinograd , Mozdok , Alexandrow and Stavropol . While the Christian-Georgian King Erekle II, who was under Persian sovereignty, had already become a Russian vassal in 1783 , after the death of his successor Giorgi XII. Georgia to Russia and became a Russian governorate in 1801. In 1802 Russia acquired Ossetia , in 1803 Lesgia and in the ensuing battles with the Persians (1804 to 1813) they lost most of their Caucasian possessions in the Peace of Gulistan (October 24, 1813). The Khanates Gəncə (later Jelissavetpol district ), Shirvan (Schemacha), Talish and Karabakh ( Shusha ). In 1804 the Principality of Mingrelia and in 1810 the Kingdom of Imeretia fell under Russian rule.

Almost the entire Transcaucasia had now become Russian territory, but the "Gorzen", the mountain peoples who lived in the mountains (Russian Gorzy , German: "mountain dwellers"), with whom the fight was not carried out until 1816 under the Russian general and governor , were not yet subject Alexei Yermolov was included. It was important for the Russians to close off the mountain peoples. Therefore, a number of Cossack settlements were built between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea , which were fortified. The so-called Chernomorsche Line (Black Sea Line) ran from the Black Sea to the Kuban and along it to the mouth of the Laba . The Caucasian line ran from the mouth of the Laba over the Malka to the Terek and this down to Kisljar . 1817, the fortifications were here Gros Well , 1819 Wnesapnaja (the village Endirei in Khasavyurt in Dagestan ) and 1820 Burnaja (at today Makhachkala built). As a result, the Russians occupied the Shamchale area and the Kurin and Kasikumuch khanates, the Great Kabarda (now parts of Kabardino-Balkaria and northeast of it) and the Little Kabarda (now parts of the area from North Ossetia to Chechnya ), Akusha and devastated Chechnya. Until then, there was only a connection between North and Transcaucasia via the Georgian Army Road , which ran through the middle of the area. This achieved a division of the mountain peoples.

In 1826 Persia resumed the fight for its old Caucasian possessions, but to no avail, as it had to cede the Yerevan and Nakhichevan Khanates to Russia in the Treaty of Turkmanchai (February 22, 1828) . After the Russo-Turkish War 1828-1829 Russia acquired the peace of Adrian Opel the circle (14 September 1829) Achalziche also the fortresses on the east coast of the Black Sea between Anapa and Poti .

With Mulla Mohammed, a new enemy emerged for the Russians at this time. He preached the doctrine of muridism , of which Imam Shamil was made leader in 1835 . The Russians did not begin to take serious action against the hill tribes until 1839. They formed three armies under Lieutenant General Rajewski , Golowin and Grabbe . This should proceed from Vnesapnaya against the north of Dagestan , where Shamil had established himself. On June 5th, Shamil, who had gathered around 5,000 soldiers , was found and beaten at the Aul Burtunai. Shamil then went to Arghuan and stood here with 6000 Lesgiern the Russians opposed. Despite the almost inaccessible location of the village, the Russians stormed this fortress on June 13th. Shamil settled down at the Koi-su after his rock fortress Achulgo . The Russians were only able to storm this fortress on September 3rd. Shamil escaped and fled to Vedeno, but that did not put an end to muridism. Grabbe had led his troops back to Temir-khan-Shura and Vnesapnaya. After a short time, hill tribes rose again, so that the Russians could not achieve lasting success for several years. In 1843 Shamil conquered Avarien and the land at Koi-su along with nine Russian forts, leaving the Russians in Dagestan only with Nisowoje and Temir-Chan-Shura. In 1844 the Caucasian Corps received an increase of 40,000 men through the allocation of the entire V Army Corps . Nevertheless, Prince Voronzow lost several permanent places to the Murids in 1844 and could not take Shamil's seat, the Dargo Fortress.

Crimean War

In the Crimean War (1853 to 1856) there was fighting on the Caucasian theater of war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. To defend the Armenian highlands, the Ottomans had concentrated the army corps of Asia Minor , Mesopotamia and part of the Syrian corps in the border area. On November 26, 1853, General Iwane Andronikashvili and 10,000 men routed the Turkish main corps at Suplis . General Bebutow , at the head of a corps of the Caucasian army, triumphed on December 1, 1853 at Kadiklar over Abdi Pascha , which thwarted the intended invasion of the Turks into Russian Armenia . The Turkish commander in Eastern Anatolia, Abdi Pascha, was then removed and brought before a military tribunal. He was succeeded by Akhmet Pasha. On June 16, 1854 Andronikow was again successful against 30,000 Turks at Osurgeti and was able to secure Mingrelia for Russia. In July 1854, the Russian general Wrangel invaded Turkish Armenia. On July 29, he defeated a Turkish division at Doğubeyazıt . The Turkish commander Zarif Mustapha Pascha attacked the Russians with more than 40,000 men in August. At Kurukdere he came across Prince Bebutow on August 5, 1854. In a five-hour battle, the Russians were able to defeat the Turkish army, but were unable to exploit the victory and take the important fortress of Kars due to their own high losses . In 1855 General Nikolai Muravyov was appointed Commander in Chief of the Caucasian Army. He marched into the Ottoman part of Armenia in June 1855 and was warmly welcomed by the population there. With 40,000 men he reached Kars in northeastern Anatolia . The 30,000 defenders, under the British officer William Fenwick Williams , were able to repel the attack by the Russians. Muravyov therefore besieged the fortress from the beginning of June to the end of November 1855. Omar Pasha , who had previously been so successful in the Danube principalities, informed the Allies on July 11 that he would move his troops from Crimea to Asia Minor. The Allies were against this decision and only approved the plan in September. Omar Pasha's diversionary attack on Kutaisi was eventually foiled by General Bebutov. On November 29, the Ottoman occupation finally had to surrender due to the poor supply situation and Muravyev was able to take the city. This success allowed Russia, despite the loss of Sevastopol, to conduct moderate peace negotiations.

Revolts against Russian rule

Russian map from 1903 with drawn provincial borders

After the end of the Crimean War, Prince Alexander Baryatinsky took over the supreme command in the Caucasus. In August 1856, five military commandos were established and the main Russian power came to the Eastern Caucasus. Russian troops under General Nikolai Ivanovich Evdokimov and Prince Orbeliani penetrated from the south and east , subjugated “Greater Chechnya” (Bolshaya Chechnya) and Kakheti in 1857 , took the Argun Pass in 1858 and built the Argunskoye fortress at the main entrance to the mountains . In June, three Russian columns advanced while Shamil marched against Vladikavkaz and tried to bring the uprising to the Central Caucasus. But he was driven back by General Mishchenko. Meanwhile, General Evdokimov captured Varandi and Shatoi , whereupon the Chechens fell apart except for a tribe of Shamil. Beginning of 1859 combined three Russian columns under Evdokimov the river Bass, stormed the firm position at Tausen and began on 29 March, the siege of the defended by Shamil son festivals Vedeno , which was taken on 13 April by General Evdokimov by storm. Shamil was now confined to Dagestan and stood in an almost unassailable position on the Koissu River, where he was defeated by Prince Baryatinsky. The Gunib plateau was his last refuge before he surrendered on September 6th. The East of the Caucasus was thus won for the Russians; one could now turn to the west. The operations here lasted between the spring of 1864 and 1865 and ended with the subjugation of the Circassians .

Even if the Russians subsequently strengthened their rule, it always only took a small push to revive the old independence strivings of the Caucasian peoples. The Russo-Turkish War from 1877 to 1878 provided such an impetus. It was easy for Turkish agitators to instigate unrest among the Chechens, in Abkhazia and Dagestan. Only by occupying the passes that led from Abkhazia to the Chechen settlements did the Russians succeed in preventing a general uprising among the mountain peoples. Against the 14,000 men who invaded under Taski Pasha , the Russians had to use troops from within. On June 27, 1877, the united Turks and Abkhazians were defeated at Ashanodschir . On June 30th the Russians took the main town of the insurgents, the village of Assacho . The Abkhazians and Chechens were thus overthrown, but the fugitive leaders instigated new uprisings in Dagestan, which could only be suppressed after a gang of 6,000 men was broken up and 4,000 men were overthrown on September 30 and October 4. 1882 became the Government General Caucasia , which incorporated the military administration into a fixed administrative framework.


The Elbrus from the east
  1. Elbrus ( 5642  m ), highest mountain in Russia (eastern summit in Kabardino-Balkaria , higher western summit on the border between Kabardino-Balkaria and the Russian republic of Karachay-Cherkessia )
  2. Dychtau ( 5203  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  3. Shchara ( 5201  m ), highest mountain in Georgia ( Svaneti )
  4. Koschtan Tau ( 5150  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  5. Pik Pushkin ( 5100  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  6. Dschangi ( 5058  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria) Parts of the southern slope in Georgia
  7. Kazbek ( 5047  m ), Georgia ( Chewi region ), western slope partly in Russia ( North Ossetia-Alania )
  8. Mischirgi ( 5025  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  9. Katyn ( 4974  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  10. Schota Rustaveli ( 4960  m ), Georgia (Svaneti), border with Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  11. Kjukjurtlju , 4912  m , Russia, dominance - reference mountain for Mont Blanc
  12. Borowikow ( 4888  m ), Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  13. Gestola ( 4860  m ), Georgia (Svaneti), eastern slope in Russia (Kabardino-Balkaria)
  14. Tetnuldi ( 4858  m ), Georgia (Svaneti)
  15. Ushba ( 4737  m ), Georgia (Svaneti)
  16. Uilpata ( 4638  m ), Russia ( North Ossetia-Alania )
  17. Tebulosmta ( 4493  m ), Russia ( Chechnya )
  18. Bazardüzü ( 4466  m ), highest mountain in Azerbaijan, on the border with Russia ( Dagestan )
  19. Schachdagh ( 4243  m ), Azerbaijan
  20. Schalbusdag ( 4142  m ), Russia (Dagestan)
  21. Aragaz ( 4090  m ), highest mountain in Armenia and highest mountain in the Lesser Caucasus
  22. Dombai ( 4046  m ), Russia (Karachay-Cherkessia), on the border with Georgia ( Abkhazia )


The drainage of the Caucasus Mountains is predominantly radial. The following major rivers have their source in the Caucasus:

The Lake Sevan is one of the largest lakes in the region.

States and administrative units

Political situation in the Caucasus region

See also


Web links

Commons : Caucasus  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Caucasus  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Alexandar Loma: Between snow and eagles. The mountain name Caucasus and related. In: Studia Etymologica Cracoviensia. Vol. 13 (PDF; 17 MB), Krakau 2008, pp. 103–117
  2. a b c Conradin Burga, Frank Klötzli and Georg Grabherr (eds.): Mountains of the Earth - Landscape, Climate, Plant World , Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8001-4165-5 , p. 124
  3. Conradin Burga, Frank Klötzli and Georg Grabherr (eds.): Mountains of the Earth - Landscape, Climate, Plant World , Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8001-4165-5 , p. 126
  4. a b c d Conradin Burga, Frank Klötzli and Georg Grabherr (eds.): Mountains of the Earth - Landscape, Climate, Plant World , Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8001-4165-5 , p. 127
  5. Chapter Modern Vegetation of the Caucasus. at . After graphics on the ecological height stratification, the 2nd map and the surrounding text deals with the semi-deserts and deserts in the east and the 3rd map with the amounts of precipitation.
  6. For the Georgian landscape, see this description by the Institute of Botany at the University of Bern ( memorial from December 22, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (with map) For a more complete overview of the Caucasus as a whole, see the two footnotes at the end of the chapter.
  7. For the landscapes of Azerbaijan see this website of Azerbaijan (map only Azerbaijani violet: very humid; green tones: humid; blue: alpine landscapes; yellow: dry / arid lowlands; brown: arid highlands). For a more complete overview of the Caucasus as a whole, see the two footnotes at the end of the chapter.
  8. See e.g. B. the varied landscape of Armenia with Robert Tumanian: Armenia. on the FAO website or the 3rd map on this University of Nebraska map book for rainfall. To the west and east, the climate and vegetation are similarly fragmented, see the next two footnotes.
  9. For more detailed information on the climate and ecoregions of the Caucasus, see WWF and Manana Kurtubadze: Climate Zones of the Caucasus Ecoregion. in the GRID Arendal project of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) 2008. Especially the map on the left, which can be downloaded as a PDF.
  10. See also the report of the Caucasus Environment Outlook (CEO). Tbilisi 2003. Also in the UNEP GRID Arendal project. therein chapter CHAPTER 2. STATE OF THE CAUCASUS ENVIRONMENT AND POLICY MEASURES: A RETROSPECTIVE FROM 1972 TO 2002 , subsection 2.1.1. Landscape Diversity (the associated map can also be downloaded by clicking on it).
  11. For the breeding history of these animals see GS Rautian, BA Kalabushkin, AS Nemtsev: A New Subspecies of the European Bison, Bison bonasus montanus ssp.nov. (Bovidae, Artiodaktyla). in: Doklady Biological Sciences, Vol. 375, 2000, pp. 636–640 (English translation of the publications of the Russian Academy of Sciences), which postulate a new subspecies.
  12. ^ Caucasian Spiders >> Checklists
  13. a b Conradin Burga, Frank Klötzli and Georg Grabherr (eds.): Mountains of the Earth - Landscape, Climate, Plant World , Ulmer Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-8001-4165-5 , p. 125
  14. a b c Sabine Reinhold: The Late Bronze and Early Iron Age in the Caucasus. Bonn, Habelt 2007, p. 23
  15. a b Sabine Reinhold: The Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages in the Caucasus. Bonn, Habelt 2007, p. 24
  16. a b Sabine Reinhold: The Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages in the Caucasus. Bonn, Habelt 2007, p. 25
  17. Sabine Reinhold: The Late Bronze and Early Iron Ages in the Caucasus. Bonn, Habelt 2007, p. 330