Gamsutl is a ghost town located at an altitude of about 1.5 thousand meters above sea level in the southern mountainous part of the Republic of Dagestan in Russia. It’s believed the Gamsutl is anywhere from 2,000 – 5,000 years old, and at its peak, boasted 300 homes.
Translated from the Avar language, the word “gamsutl” means “at the foot of the khan’s fortress.” from what historians have concluded that once, in ancient times, Khan chose this place to build his fortress or tower.
The place for the fortress was not chosen by chance: the village is located on the very top of the mountain, at an altitude of about 1,500 meters above sea level. In addition, the village is surrounded by cliffs and steep slopes, so it is not easy to get here.
The population of Gamsutl grew and life was seething here even in the 20th century. There were shops, a school, a post office, a hospital and even a maternity hospital. Today, it is hard to believe, but once there was a road suitable for motor vehicles leading to the village.
However, over time more and more people began to leave the village and about forty years ago Gamsutl became completely empty. The reason was quite prosaic: people left for a better life, to study or work in towns or larger villages, and took their families with them.
In 2015, the village’s last remaining resident, Abdulhalil Abdulhalilvov, passed away. Today, 70 abandoned homes are all that remain of this ancient place.
How To Get to the Gamsutl
Surrounded by uneasy cliffs and perilous slopes, the Gamsutl location is hard to reach, however, visitors can still venture into the abandoned village by driving from the nearby town of Chokh into the base of the valley. From there, it’s a two-hour hike into the foothills and ancient pathways created by the original residents for herding and transporting their cattle.