The Pass Chike-Taman is definitely not the highest one in the Chuysk highway, but, undoubtedly, the most beautiful one. The height of the Chike-Taman pass is 1460 meters. However, due to its steepness it seems to be much higher. Steep rises, sharp winding roads, abrupt cliffs on the sides and appearing mountain views will simply take away the breath of all those who pass the pass for the first time. The photos do not communicate even a hundred’s part of the feelings arising from travelling along this mountain serpentine road.
But, despite its staginess, “Chike-Taman” is translated from the Altaian as a "flat sole”. The northern slopes of Chike-Taman are all covered with rhododendron. In early spring the yellow Altay tulips bloom on the southern slopes. In the old days the Chuysk highway within the Chike–Taman pass was very complicated and dangerous for horses. Therefore it was repeatedly cursed by coachmen: “This is not a Chike-Taman, but a Devil-ataman, forty eight sins!” And that expresses all, all the spleen rising within a person who had really abused this piece of land, a person who has tormented himself and ruined here maybe more than a single horse. Extant construction works on the Chike-Taman were started in the 20-ies of the last century and in 1927 the highway was laid out on a completely new route.
Until 1984 the road on the Chike-Taman was one-way, with the pockets for crossing. Therefore the drivers were constantly beeping on the pass, so that other drivers could know about approaching of an oncoming car beforehand and stop in the crossing pocket. In 1984 the construction of the new route was finished on the Chike-Taman and it is now a qualitative paved two-sided road. However, the old road has also survived, and they say it is still in use. The thing is that the old and the new roads unite on the top of the pass. In the saddle of the Chike-Taman pass stands a larch with white rags on its branches. This is a so-called shaman-tree, which one can meet in Gorny Altay – in the high passes, at the streams and the springs. Long since travelers have tied the ribbons here in gratitude to the spirits of this place and in memory to those, who stayed at home and will be met ahead.
The Seminsky pass, the highest point of the Chuy highway. Its height reaches 1894 meters above the sea level. The rise to the pass is 9 km long and the slope – 11 km long. The old Altay name of the pass is Dyal-Menku. The pass crosses the Chuy highway, the main highway of Altay, joining the main centers of Siberia with the distant Mongolia and China. The Seminsky pass is important first of all as a natural complex-boundary of the Nothern and Central Altay.
Its panorama is a live and natural picture, demonstrating to the traveler a multifaceted world of natural complexes, plants and animals, gathered into the accurate levels of the landscape zones. The Seminsky pass is also a symbol of an outstanding historical event – on the top of the flat watershed, near the Chuy highway stands a monument, symbolizing the 200-th years’ anniversary of the voluntary joining of Gorny Altay to Russia.