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(näl`chĭk), city (1989 pop. 235,000), capital of Kabardino-Balkar RepublicKabardino-Balkar Republic
or Kabardino-Balkaria,
constituent republic (1990 est. pop. 760,000), c.4,800 sq mi (12,400 sq km), SE European Russia, in the northern part of the Caucasus Mts. Nalchik is the capital.
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, S European Russia, on the northern slope of the Greater Caucasus. A health and tourist resort, it is the gateway to the Mt. Elbrus region. It also also has considerable industry, notably a molybdenum-tungsten mill; semiconductors, electrical machinery and equipement, and chemicals are also produced. Nalchik was founded in 1817 as a Russian stronghold, and made a city in 1921. In Oct., 2005, the city was the scene of simultaneous attacks by Islamic militants on multiple security targets and the airport that left scores dead; the attackers had links to Chechen rebels.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



a city and the capital of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. It is situated in the foothills of the northern slopes of the Greater Caucasus, on the Nal’chik River (Terek basin), on the highway linking Rostov-on-Don with Baku. A 41-km branch line connects Nal’chik with the Kotliarevskaia railroad station on the Prokhladnaia-Beslan-Gudermes line. Summers are warm with an average July temperature of 21 °C, and winters are moderately mild with an average January temperature of —4°C. The annual precipitation is 615 mm. Population, 176,000 (1973; 5,000 in 1897; 48,000 in 1939; 88,000 in 1959; 146,000 in 1970).

Nal’chik was founded in 1817–18 as a fortification on the Caucasus frontier line. A military settlement was established at the fortress in 1838, and in 1871 the settlement was designated a sloboda (tax-exempt settlement) and subsequently became the administrative center of Nal’chik Okrug in the Terek Oblast. During the Revolution of 1905–07 soldiers’ demonstrations and an uprising of peasants and sloboda inhabitants broke out in Nal’chik in December 1905, and the rebels held the city for three days. Soviet power was established here on Mar. 21, 1918. Captured by L. Bicherakhov’s White Guard units on Oct. 7, 1918, it was liberated in November 1918. In January 1919 the city was captured by Denikin’s forces, but Soviet power was restored on Mar. 24, 1920.

On Sept. 1, 1921, Nal’chik, which had been designated a city, became the center of the Kabarda Autonomous Oblast within the RSFSR. It became the administrative center of the Kabarda-Balkar Autonomous Oblast on Jan. 16, 1922, and the capital of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR in 1936. The city became an industrial center in the Soviet period. During the Great Patriotic War (1941–45), Nal’chik was occupied from Oct. 25, 1942, to Jan. 3, 1943, by fascist German troops, who inflicted great damage. The postwar years have been marked by a further development of the city’s economy, science, and culture.

Nal’chik produces more than 50 percent of the industrial output of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR. The principal industries are machine building, metallurgy, electrical engineering, chemicals, food-processing, light industry, woodworking, and the production of building materials. The largest enterprises are hydrometallurgical and machine-building plants, the Sevkavelektropribor Plant, a plant producing telemechanic devices, a woodworking plant, the Iskozh Plant, meat combines, a clothing factory, and a confectionery factory.

Many enterprises and residential and public buildings were built in the 1930’s, but most of them were destroyed by the fascists in 1942–43. In the postwar years Nal’chik was reconstructed, modernized, and transformed into a garden city. It is now being built up according to a general plan adopted in 1966 (architect G. M. Slepykh). The city has a regular layout. Noteworthy architecture includes the House of Soviets (1956, architects S. A. Maslikh and S. E. Vakhtangov), the N. K. Krupskaia Library (1959, architects I. V. Lysiakov and A. G. Lysiakov), a resort club (1964) and a public recreation “town” (1966; both by architect O. K. Shiriaeva), a museum of local lore (1964; architect L. M. Timonina), and music and drama theaters (1967, principal architect E. M. Landau). The city’s monuments honor the heroes of the Great Patriotic War (1946, architect P. P. Kazanchev), the 400th anniversary of Kabarda’s voluntary union with Russia (bronze, granite, and sandstone, 1957; sculptors M. F. Listopad and S. O. Makhtin, architect V. K. Oltarzhevskii), V. I. Lenin (bronze and granite, 1957; sculptor A. I. Posiado, architect V. A. Artamonov), B. E. Kalmykov (bronze, 1961; sculptor M. Kh. Tkhakumashev, architect V. K. Oltarzhevskii), and the soldiers of the 115th Kabarda-Balkar Caucasian Division who fell in the Great Patriotic War (1969, sculptor M. Kh. Tkhakumashev).

Research and educational institutions include the Kabarda-Balkar Research Institute of History, Language, Folklore, Literature, and Economics under the Council of Ministers of the Kabarda-Balkar ASSR, the High-Mountain Geophysical Research Institute of the Chief Administration of the Hydrometeorological Service under the Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Kabarda-Balkar University, a polytechnicum, two construction technicums, a technological technicum, an evening landscaping technicum, schools of medicine, pedagogy, and music, and a cultural-educational school. The city has a museum of local lore, a museum of fine arts, two drama theaters and a music theater, and a philharmonic society.

A balneologic and climatic health resort is situated 3 km from Nal’chik, near Dolinsk, at an elevation of 500–550 m. Water from 14 mineral springs with different chemical compositions and mud from Lake Tambukanskoe are used for treatment. The resort provides treatment for diseases of the muscular, respiratory, and nervous systems, and for dermatological, gastrointestinal, and gynecological disorders. It has sanatoriums, baths, a hydrotherapy and pelotherapy hospital, swimming pools, houses of rest, hotels, and tourist accommodations.


Istoriia Kabardino-Balkarskoi ASSR, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1967.
Kabanov, A. S. Nal’chik—stolitsa Sovetskoi Kabardino-Balkarii. Nal’chik, 1960.
Maslov, E. P., and K. N. Kerefov. Ocherki ekonomicheskoi geografii Kabardino-Balkarskoi ASSR. Nal’chik, 1964.
Pod”iapol’skii, G. N., O. L. Opryshko, and S. M. Nakova. Putevoditel po Kabardino-Balkarii. [Nal’chik, 1971.]
Kharenko, A. A. Gornymi tropami Kabardino-Balkarii. [Nal’chik,1972.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


a city in SW Russia, capital of the Kabardino-Balkar Republic, in a valley of the Greater Caucasus: health resort. Pop.: 283 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
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