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    Kabardino-Balkar Republic

Geography

Kabardino-Balkaria, autonomous republic is located in the north central Caucasus Mountains. The republic borders with Karachay-Cherkessia to the west, the republic of Alania to the southeast, and Georgia to the south. Kabardino-Balkaria covers an area of 12,500 sq km.

The republic is characterized by high mountains in the south; foothills, meadows, and forests in the midsection; and plains in the north. Grasses and other steppe vegetation cover the plains, while the mountains are forested with beech, hornbeam, oak, birch, alder, and pine. Mount Elbrus, 5,642m, located in the southern portion of the republic, is the highest mountain in Europe. Other notable peaks in the republic are Dykh-Tau and Shkhara. Kabardino-Balkaria has several important glaciers, most notably Bezengi and Dykhsu. These glaciers feed several rivers, including the Terek, the Malka, the Baksan, the Chegem, and the Cherek.

In the northern plains the temperatures average about -4 C in January and about 23 C in July, with annual precipitation of less than 500 mm. Temperatures in the mountains average about -12 C in January and about 4 C in July, and precipitation reaches 2,000 mm or more annually.

The republic has vast deposits of molybdenum and tungsten, lead, tin, copper, iron ore, gold, arsenic, antimony, stone and brown coal, petroleum, tuff, volcanic pumice and ashes, phosphorite, limestone, marl, gypsum, floridine and fire-clay; there is about a hundred of hot, cold and mineral springs. Fauna is opulent with a variety of game and birds.

The richest land and beneficial climate of Kabardino-Balkaria contribute to the development of diversified agriculture: plant-growing, stock-breeding, gardening, viticulture, silkworm breeding, beekeeping, fur trade. The basic field cultures are corn, wheat, sunflower, millet, hemp, vegetables, potato. In stock-raising prevail beef and dairy animal husbandry, sheep-breeding, poultry farming and horse-breeding. The Kabardian horses are widely known in the country and abroad by their exclusive endurance.

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