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Dear collegues !
If you have wished to reach the Special astrophysical observatory the best way is to communicate with Tatyana N.Sokolova:

SAO RAS, Nizhny Arkhyz,
Karachaj-Cherkes Republic
369167 Russia
fax: 7 901 498 2931
e-mail: tns@sao.ru

If you know Russian and like to travel alone you can find useful information here.
Below I copied information about travelling to SAO for participants of the JENAM'2000. This can help foreigners to reach us.

Oleg Verkhodanov.

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 JENAM-2000. 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 (preliminary period: June 5-9, 2000) including traveling from Moscow via the Minaralniye 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 bus. The way from airport to SAO takes 4 hours.


There are two hotels with comfortable double and single rooms.


The visit to SAO, including meals, airflight and local transportation and accommodation, will cost a total of about 220 USD per person.

Round air trip Moscow - Min.Vody 115 USD
Hotel 8 USD/per person/per night
Meal 8 USD/per person/per day
Transportation Min.Vody-SAO + excursions, etc. 30 USD


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
e-mail: tns@sao.ru