The region of the Sayan Montains and Tuva is located in East Siberia and includes the southern part of the Krasnoyarsk Territory, the Republic of Khakassia and the Tyva Republic. It is vast mountain country covered by taiga with several large basins located between mountain ranges of the West Sayan, the East Sayan and the Kuznetsk Alatau. The largest basin is the Minusinsk Hollow known for its numerous archaeological monuments. The region is located in zone of the continental climate with cold long winter and warm summer. The average temperature is -20°C in January, +20°C in July.

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Historically these territories were an area of Indo-Aryan and Proto-Turk migrations. The first detachments of the Russian cossacks began to penetrate to East Siberian in 1620s. The town of Kasnoyarsk was established in 1628. In period of the Golden fever in Siberia in early XIX c. Krasnoyarsk became large merchant city and the most important center of East Siberia. Now Krasnoyarsk is the top Eastern city in Russia with population more than million inhabitants.

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The Naadym is Tuvan version of the Naadam traditional festival of Mongolian stock-breeders (arats). This celebration is associated with annual tribal sacrifice in honour of the head local spirit and spirits of the ancestors. In the Soviet period the Naadym was abolished as a dark legacy of the feudal last and it was restored since 1993 only. Now the Naadym is held yearly in the mid-August not far from Kyzyl city. Programme of the holiday includes the national wrestling kures (this competition with participation of guests from Buryatia, Mongolia, Chinese Inner Mongolia is the most popular event of the festival), racing, archery, lifting of heavy stones, competitions for the best national yurta (ger), the best national costume and the best equipment for the horse, performances of folklore dance and song ensembles. At the grandiose fair arranged on the grounds of the festival you can taste dishes of national cuisine and purchase authentic original souvenirs: livestock utensils, national clothes, different felt products, Tuvan musical instruments and handmade products of local craftsmen.

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Souvenirs & insider tips

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.

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Destination map

  • Kyzyl geographical center of Asia
  • 80% of the territory are mountains
  • over 400 lakes

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