Southern Federal District
Republic of Kalmykia
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).
Local time now:
Federal district: Southern Federal District.
Main cities: Gorodovikovsk, Lagan`.
Land and Resources: Kalmykia is situated in the steppe, semidesert, and desert zones and occupies a total area of 75 900 square km, which is larger than such European nations as Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland and the Netherlands together. The republic is situated in the southeast of the European part of the Russian Federation. It borders on Rostov Region in the west, Volgograd Region in the north and northwest, Astrakhan Region in the east, the Republic of Dagestan in the south and Stavropol Territory in the southwest. Major rivers include: Volga River (flowing through a tiny eastern fraction of Kalmykia), Kuma River, Manych River. Kalmykia is located on the shores of the Caspian Sea. In general, there are very few lakes on the territory of the republic. The biggest lakes include: Manych-Gudilo Lake, Sarpa Lake, Sostinskiye Lakes, Tsagan-Khak Lake.
Climate: The climate of the republic is continental, i.e., hot dry summers and cold winters with little snow. The climate`s continental character grows more pronounced as you move from west to east. Average January temperatures throughout the whole republic are -7 °C to -9 °C in the south and southwest and -10 °C to -12 °C in the north. The lowest temperature levels are -35 °C or lower in the northern regions. The climate is notable for its large number of sunny days-280 per year. The duration of the warm period is 240 - 275 days. Average July temperatures are 23.5 °C -25.5 °C. The absolute maximum temperature reaches 40 °C-44 °C. The average temperature levels are higher in the south and southeast. Winter is often marked by thaws, with snowstorms on some days. Ice cover occurring from time to time may result in agricultural damage due to icing of grasslands and winter crops. Summer droughts and hot winds that blow up to 120 days per year are features of the republic. The region is the most arid part of the southern European part of Russia.
Transportation: Elista`s transportation network is made up of 300 kilometers of automobile roads, including 220 km of paved and 80 km of unpaved roads. The three highways crossing Elista have federal status: Elista - Volgograd, Elista - Makhachkala, Elista - Astrakhan. External connections are provided by the Stavropol - Elista railroad line; the Stavropol - Elista - Volgograd, Elista - Astrakhan, and Volgograd - Elista - Kizlyar highways; and airlines. The flight between Elista and Moscow is generally 2 hours. Air travelers may also fly from Moscow directly to either Rostov-na-Donu or Volgograd. From either city, a taxi ride to Elista is generally 3 hours. A bus ride is more like 5 or 6 hours. Alternatively, a rail link is available from Rostov-na-Donu, and a bus is available from Volgograd. A rail link also is available to the city of Stavropol, the administrative center of Stavropol Krai. Within Elista itself, a network of about a dozen marshrutka routes is run by private companies.
Tourists have started to visit Kalmykia, most travelling from Volgograd to Elista. Kalmykia is regarded as a safe destination for foreign tourists with the country getting much publicity after holding the 1998 Chess Olympiad in Elista. Several visitors have commented on the number of camels in the countryside - indeed Kalmykia is the home to Europe`s only indigenous camel. In the capital there is little traffic.
Not long ago the largest Buddhist temple in Europe was constructed in the capital of Kalmykia, Elista.
The basis of the culture and arts is made by 3 theatres, the State Touring and Concert Institution "Kalmkoncert", 2 museums, 3 theatres, 175 libraries, 246 clubs, School of Arts, 33 children musical and arts schools, 5 professional dancing teams.
The main storages of material and spiritual culture monuments are the State Museum of Visual Arts, Republic`s Palmov Museum of Local Lore. They account for 56.5 thousands of stored items.
The town center has a number of renovated public parks focused on the main square, boasting statues to both Lenin and the Buddha. To the east of the town lies the Olympic village of the 1998 XXXIII Chess Olympiad, known locally as "City-Chess". The site has a public swimming pool and an excellent museum of Kalmyk Buddhist art, and is also infrequently used as a conference center.
Memorial dedicated to Kalmyk soldiers who fought in the Red Army during World War II
Commemorative monument to the Kalmyk victims of the deportation of 1943. Elista, Kalmykia
Geden Sheddup Choikorling Monastery
Burkhan Bakshin Altan Sume
The Golden Temple
Statue of the Buddha in the centre of Elista
Gold monastery of Buddha Shakjamuni
In the City of chess
Encarta World Atlas
http://kalm.ru/ - Republic of Kalmykia official government site