Attention for participants of schools and conferences.

How to reach SAO.
Nizhny Arkhyz, Zelenchuk district,
Karachaevo-Cherkesian Republic, North Caicasus, 369167 Russia

Dear collegues!
If you have wished to reach
the Special Astrophysical Observatory of Russian Academy of Sciences,
the best way is to communicate with Tatyana N.Sokolova:
SAO RAS, Nizhny Arkhyz, Karachaevo-Cherkesian Republic, 369167 Russia
fax: 7 901 498 2931, e-mail:

If you know Russian and like to travel alone you can find useful information here.

The English text to be updated at the web-page of
the International Astronomy Olympiad:

Below is a text based on some information about travelling to SAO for participants of the JENAM'2000 (Moscow, May-June 2000). This can help foreigners to reach us.

Special Astrophysical Observatory of Russian Academy of Sciences is the Russia's main center for ground-based observational astronomy.

We suggest a 5-day tour before or after conferences. It will include:

  1. A visit to the 6-meter optical telescope BTA, the radiotelescopes RATAN-600 of 600 m in diameter of SAO RAS and the new 32-m dish of the Institute of Applied Astronomy of RAS.
  2. An excursion to ancient telmples of the Alain state erected by the Byzantines in the 10th century.
  3. A day of relaxation with a trip to the upper reaches of the Sofia canyon some hundred meters from the waterfalls and the Sofia glacier.
The program is supposed to take 5 days including traveling from Moscow via the "Mineralnyje Vody" airport.

Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Special Astrophysical Observatory (SAO) is the ground-based astronomical research center responsible for operating the optical telescope BTA (Big Telescope Alt-azimuthal) with a 6 meter primary mirror diameter and the radio telescope RATAN-600 with the 600 meter antenna diameter.

The Observatory is located in the South of Russia, in the Caucasus mountains of Karachaevo-Cherkesia. The optical telescopes (BTA, 1 meter and 0.6 meter primary mirror diameters telescopes) are located on the spurs of Pastukhov Mt. at an altitude of 2100 meters above sea level. The radio telescope RATAN-600 is mounted at the southern outskirts of Zelenchukskaya village at an altitude of 970 meters.

The region of Karachai-Cherkessia is quite safe and quiet.


Our nearest airport is Mineralnye Vody which is 2 hours of flight from Moscow and 2,5 hours of flight from St.Petersburg. We meet you in Min.Vody airport with our car or bus. The way from airport to SAO takes 3.5 - 4 hours.


There are two hotels with comfortable double and single rooms.


Tourist views of SAO can be seen at

Contact addresses: Tatyana N.Sokolova
SAO RAS, Nizhny Arkhyz,
Karachaevo-Cherkesian Republic
369167 Russia
fax: 7 901 498 2931