The pleasant, traffic-prone capital of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic straddles the rise of the steppes to the foothills of the Caucasus. Most visitors come through on their way to or from Mt Elbrus, but if you have some time to spare, there are a few things worth seeing, including a lush central park, an interesting museum and a chance for a side trip to the spectacular Cherek Valley.
In 2005 at least 14 people were killed and over 100 injured in fighting after Islamic militants took several government buildings. The last, much smaller-scale attack was in 2011, and currently Nalchik is a peaceful, busy commercial hub. You'll notice some increased security at the airport, train station and on the roads but there's little to worry about while visiting.