Filming in Russia: Chechen Republic (Chechnya)

An Islamic republic in southern Russia's Caucasus mountains, famous for wars with Russia.

Film in Chechnya: Geography and Climate

Chechnya is a small republic, just 15,000 square km in area. It stretches just about 170 km from east to west. It borders Georgia in the South and Russia's Ingushetia, North Ossetia, Dagestan and Stavropol Region in the North.

There are plains full of forests in the north of the country. The landscape becomes mountanious with a lot of valleys and 4,000-meter peaks in the south. Mountain ridges make up more than one third of the total territory.

The climate is continental. The summer is warm with the average temperature of +20-25˚C (68-77˚F). In the winter, the average temperature is about -5˚C (23˚F), but it can get as cold as -20-25˚C (-4˚F) and below. 

Film in Chechnya: Nature

Lake Kezenoyam is the biggest and deepest one in the whole Caucasus mountains. Breathtaking mountains, valleys and high-altitude roads can be found all across the country.

Film in Chechnya: Population

The republic is dominated by the Chechen ethnicity. There are 1.2 million Chechens, about 25,000 Russians and a few thousands different local nations.

Film in Chechnya: History and Culture

Until the 16th century, the Chechens were living a traditional tribal life in the mountains. At this time, cossacks started to settle in the area. River Terek has long been the southern border of Russia with its rival Ottoman Empire.

All over the 18th century, the Russian military has been raiding what is now Chechnya to subdue local tribes. In the next century, after the long and bloody Caucasus War, Chechnya became part of Russia.

During World War II, some part of the Chechens backed Nazi troops. Stalin decided to punish the whole Chechen nation, alongside with their neighbor Ingushs. In two weeks, they were deported to Central Asia, thousands of miles to the east. Many have died on the way.

Only in ten years they were granted permission to return to their homeland.

Right after the crash of the Soviet Union, nationalist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev declared independence from Russia. The newly-proclaimed Islamic republic was mired in weapons and slave trade and ethnic violence against Russians.

This was the reason of the two Chechen wars, waged over the 1990s. A few dozen thousand people have been killed in action or other war-related violence. Today, Chechnya is a part of the Russian Federation with very rich national traditions that make it completely different from the rest of Russia.

Film in Chechnya: Cities

Capital Grozny is the biggest city with about 270,000 residents. Among other notable cities are Urus-Martan, Gudermes, Shali and Argun, all under 60,000 population.

Film in Chechnya: How to get

Grozny is located about 2,000 km south of Moscow.  The flight takes two and a half hours. The Chechen capital also operates regular flights from Istanbul and Munich.

Film in Chechnya: Interesting facts

- Chechnya is extremely religious. Over 90 percent of the population adhere to Sunni Islam;

- After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, about 100,000 Chechens took part in a state-organized rally against anti-Islamic cartoons by the publication; 

- In Chechnya, it’s possible to buy alcohol only between 8 and 10 a.m.;

- Chechen and Ingush clans called teips that can be traced to the Middle Ages are still hugely important in Chechnya;

- Chechnya is one of Russia’s strongest MMA centers. Athletes from Chechnya fought in the UFC and other top promotions;

- Chechen President Kadyrov is famous for his lavish lifestyle and love for sports. He changed the name of a street in Grozny to Muhammad Ali avenue;

- Putin and Kadyrov avenues are the main streets of Grozny;

- In 2003, the UN named Grozny the city, most demolished by war since World War II;

- Blood feud is still a lively tradition in the Chechen society;

- Chechnya hosts one of the biggest mosque in Europe;

- Chechen people rarely go to court to settle minor issues. Most prefer to seek advice from the local mullah;

- According to government data, Chechnya has one of the lowest crime rates in Russia. However, minor Islamic militant groups are still in the country’s mountains;

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Heart of Checnya mosque in Grozny
One of the biggest mosques in Europe

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Heart of Checnhya mosque

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Heart of Chechnya Mosque

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Heart of Chechnya Mosque

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Grozny
National Museum

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Grozny
Administrative building

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Grozny
Central street

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Vladimir Putin avenue in Grozny

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Grozny

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Grozny
High-rises

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Grozny
Congress Hall

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Ancient towers
Road from Grozny to Itum-Kale

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Tsoi-Pede, the City of the Dead
Over 40 toms still have the sculls and bones of Chechens dating back to 14th century

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Tower in the City of Dead

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Road in the mountains

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Lake Kezenoyam

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Lake Kezenoyam
View from above

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Heart of Checnya mosque in Grozny
One of the biggest mosques in Europe

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Heart of Checnhya mosque

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Heart of Chechnya Mosque

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Heart of Chechnya Mosque

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Grozny
National Museum

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Grozny
Administrative building

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Grozny
Central street

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Vladimir Putin avenue in Grozny

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Grozny

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Grozny
High-rises

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Grozny
Congress Hall

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Ancient towers
Road from Grozny to Itum-Kale

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Tsoi-Pede, the City of the Dead
Over 40 toms still have the sculls and bones of Chechens dating back to 14th century

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Tower in the City of Dead

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Road in the mountains

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Lake Kezenoyam

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Lake Kezenoyam
View from above