Gamsutl is a ghost town in Dagestan, Russia, that lies on Mount Gamsutlmeer at an altitude of roughly 1,400 meters above sea level. Translated from the Avar (the majority ethnic group of the republic), Gamsutl means “at the foot of the Kahn’s fortress” leading many to assume that a local Khan chose this location to build his kingdom fortified from his enemies. Eventually, a community evolved around the structure. The village is nicknamed the ‘Machu Picchu of Russia’ because of its structure. According to historians, the village of Gamsutl was founded more than two thousand years ago. This conclusion was made on the basis of studies of tombstones in the local cemetery. One of them had inscriptions in the ancient Iranian language. This tombstone was sent to Iran and after research, archaeologists reported that this tombstone is more than 2 thousand years old.
Propped high atop the peak of Mount Gamsutlmeer, Gamsutl is one of the oldest settlements in the region and dates back around 2,000 years
In the past, Gamsutl’s population was numerous. More than 3 thousand people lived here. Gamsutl had an important advantage in ancient times – natural protection from enemy attacks. On both sides of the settlement, mountain cliffs descend deep into the gorges, on the third side a mountain slope rises and only on one side a road leads to the village. Gamsutl had once held over 300 families. The town was abandoned in 2015 when the last resident passed away. Today, there are about 70 houses in the abandoned village, originally there were 300 houses. Even during the 20th century, the village was still bustling with life and contained shops, a post office, and a hospital. Now Gamsutl is uninhabited and visited only by tourists.