Sayany & Tyva souvenirs & insider tips

Khakassian and Tuvan handicrafts

In the Krasnoyarsk Territory, Khakassia and Tyva you can buy the souvenirs made by local craftsmen of stones, bones, metal, wood, felt, ceramics, birch bark: jewelry, amulets, kitchenware, national musical instruments. One of the most popular stones used for hand-made articles is pagodite also known as soapstone. It is called the pagodite because in olden times this decorative stone was mainly used for making of miniature pagoda figurines.

Decorative chess

Another authentic local souvenir is bone carved decorative chess. This ancient Indian game was brought to Tyva by Mongolian nomads together with other elements of Buddhist culture. In numerous samples of Tuvan oral folklore goodies win a victory over their opponents due to the ability to play chess well. Chess is one of three main competitions (together with races and national wrestling) in the programme of the traditional Naadam Festival and the Tsagaan Sar (Mongolian Lunar New Year) celebration.

National clothes

In souvenir shops you can purchase elements of Russian, Tuvan and Khakassian national clothes (scarves, hats, gowns, dresses with original embroidery and glass beads decorations).

Evenk souvenirs

Evenks (people of the Tungusic group) is one of the main aboriginal peoples of the Krasnoyarsk Territory which populated vast area of East Siberia and the Russian Far East from the Taymyr Peninsula in the north-west till the Amur River in the south-east. That’s why in souvenir shops and kiosks of Krasnoyarsk located in the south part of East Siberia you can find souvenirs associated with northern reindeer-breeder people of Evenk: articles made of stone, rein-deer bones, fur and skins (amulets, decorations, elements of national clothing, funny figurines).

Drinks, beverages and varenye

Drinks, beverages and varenye (traditional whole-fruit preserve widespread in East Europe and in the Orient) made of different local wild berries (cowberry, huckleberry, honeysuckle, great bilberry) and herbs (cowberry tree, wild rose, feverfew, coltsfoot) is great authentic, natural and ecologic gastronomic souvenir from Siberia. We recommend you also cedar nuts, cedar oil and unusual and very delicious varenye made of young cedar cones or cones of other taiga conifers.

Tours to the Sayan Mountains and Tyva

Multi-day fixed date tours offered by our company provide you with opportunity to explore fantastic virgin nature and original culture of the Sayan Montains and Tuva region. If you want just to visit this region staying for several nights at its regional centers you can use regular flights and trains operated from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk. Krasnoyarsk located on the route of the Transsiberian Rail Road is often included to the programme of multi-day Transsiberian journeys Moscow-Vladivostok, Moscow – Ulan-Bator or Moscow-Beijing. Krasnoyarsk is also start or finish point of the fantastic Yenisei River cruises by comfortable motor ships.

Purchasing of antiques and food-stuff

Please check attentively customer regulations and regulations of food products import to your country if you decide to purchase gastronomic or antiquarian souvenirs. Please try to buy antiques at specialized shops providing their customers with special certificates for presenting at the Custom-office. Smoked fish is to be vacuum-packed. Your local guide will recommend you places where you can purchase original authentic souvenirs and safe food products available for transport to your country.

Nomad's cuisine

The basic food in Khakassia are considered to be meat dishes in winter and diary products in summer. Also an integral part of daily ration in Khakassia is bread, different kinds of soups (ugre) and broths (mun) with boiled meat in it. As for cereals, they prefer soup called charba ugre and barley cereal (koche ugre).

Speaking about Tuvan people, they also can’t do without meat and diary products. In fact they eat mostly meat and all other food is just an addition to it. Various dishes made of meat and flour are quite popular with local people, these are soup with meat and noodles (uzken bydaa), meat dumplings prepared on steam (boozy) and traditional ones (manchy), round fried meat pie (khuzhuury), minced meat with pastry (tyrtykan) and many others.

Moreover, you can find on the table of Tuvan people vodka made of milk (araga), which is made of sour milk, boorzaki – pieces of pastry fried in boiled oil, cakes, which are eaten not with prepared food, but as individual dish and soktaan dolgan – ground barley. Also Tuvan people like blood pudding, green tea with milk (it is drunk with butter or salt). The importance of diary products as well as meat product is very high for these people. They developed different ways of cooking products made of milk such as – cheese (bashtyk), butter (sarzhag), cream (oreme), kumis, kefir (tarak), sour clotted milk (khoitpak), dried cottage cheese – of hard and crumbly consistence (kurut and aarzhy respectively). 

You have a chance to taste original Tuvan nomad’s national cuisine and to take pleasure in fantastic nature of the Bii-Khem River valley at the Bii-Khem Yurta (Ger) Camp located not far from Kyzyl (22 km). Stay at original felt yurtas (traditional nomad’s conical huts) designed specially for tourists is offered. Accordingly to traditions of nomads yurta is divided for male and female parts. Dining yurta and fireplace are located on the bank of river. Before your lunch or dinner you have a chance to walk at the picturesque environs and to ascent to the nearest hill with fantastic Bii-Khem River valley view.