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Introducing Biysk

Friendly Biysk, 160km southeast of Barnaul, is not worth a special detour but its modest attractions may warrant a brief stop en route to or from the Altai Mountains, for which it's the nearest railhead.

In 1709, a group of 70 Russian soldiers with five cannons built a fort at the junction of the Biya and Katun Rivers. This didn't impress the Dzhungarian Mongols, who sent 3000 men to burn it down. Biysk was re-established 20km to the east in 1718, and after the peace of 1756 was rapidly developed as a prosperous trade entrepĂ´t protected by a big, Vauban-style star-shaped fortress (now completely disappeared).