Siberian Federal District
Republic of Tuva
Time: Krasnoyarsk Time Zone (KRAT/KRAST).
Local time now:
Federal district: Siberian Federal District.
Main cities: Ak-Dovurak, Turan, Chadaana, and Shagaan-Aryg.
Land and Resources: The Republic of Tuva (Tyva) is situated in the central part of the Asian continent bounded by Eastern Siberia on the north, Mongolia on the south and east, Irkutsk Region on the northeast, the Buryat Republic on the east, and the Altai Republic on the west. The republic is far from both the warm Atlantic and Pacific oceans and the Arctic Ocean. Four time zones separate Tuva from Moscow and five separate it from Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky on the east coast.
The republic`s natural landscapes consist of Siberian taiga and Central Asian desert and steppe; the republic itself is located in a broad belt of mountains and intermontane plains. Natural landscapes range from steppe and dry steppe on the plains to mountain taiga and deciduous forests on the mountain slopes to subalpine, alpine, and mountain tundra on the mountain heights. Nearly half the republic is covered with forests with timber reserves. The most important rivers are the Verkhny Yenisei (Ulug-Khem) and two tributaries of the Yenisei, the Bii-Khem and Kaa-Khem.
Climate: Tuva has a severe continental climate with cold, windless winters and little snow on the plains. Summers are moderately warm in the mountains and hot on the plains.
Transportation: Only two highways connect it to the outside world: the Kyzyl-Minussinsk-Abakan and the Kyzyl-Ak-Dovurak. The city of Kyzyl is connected with all khozhuuns by bus, river or air. There is an airport in Kyzyl.
The name of the city Kyzyl means "red" in Tuvan (as well as in many other Turkic languages). Kyzyl claims to be located exactly in the geographical center of Asia. There is a monument labelled "Centre of Asia" in English, Russian, and Tuvan which asserts this claim. Tos-Bulak is the area of open fields and mineral springs which lies immediately south of Kyzyl. Kyzyl is located where the Yenisei River meets the Little Yenisey River to form the Upper Yenisey. A monument was built in 1964 on the river bank to mark this.
Kyzyl was founded in 1914 as Belotsarsk (Белоца́рск). In 1918, the town was renamed Khem-Beldyr, and in 1926—Kyzyl. In September 2004 Kyzyl celebrated its 90th anniversary as a city and the 60th anniversary of Tuva joining the Soviet Union.
Buildings of cultural and political importance in Kyzyl include the Tuvan Parliament building, the National Theater, and a Khoomei center (officially, the International Scientific Center "Khoomei") dedicated to studying and teaching khoomei, Tuvan throatsinging.
The distinctive and striking culture of the peoples of Tuva formed over many centuries. Its land and rock still preserve evidence of the life and culture of the people. There are more than ten interesting rock-painting sites with hundreds of pictures. These include Maly Bayan-Kol, Syyn-Churek, Ortaa-Sargol, and Bizhiktig-Khai near Kyzyl and the Chyrgaky petroglyphs in the Khemchik and Saryg-Dash river valleys and on the right bank of the Yenisei River. The people of Tuva can be divided by occupation into two main groups: hunters and reindeer herders of the mountain taiga (Eastern Tuvans) and mountain steppe herders (Western Tuvans), who live in yurts, skin tents, and frame and timber dwellings. Three religions are widespread among the people of Tuva: Orthodox Christianity, shamanism, and Lamaist Buddhism. Buddhism`s present-day spiritual leader is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Seventeen Buddhist prayer houses (dugan) and a Buddhist monastery (khure) have been built with the contributions of the faithful. Forty-four Buddhist lamas and novices serve in them.
One striking feature of the Tuvan people is the art of throat singing (khorekteer), popular around the world today. It is interesting for its traditional performance techniques; in one technique, one person sings with two or three voices at the same time. Throat singing methods are the basis of the musical culture and tonal pitch. It is associated with imitating animals and possessing these sound imitations is the key to the art of throat singing. There are five different styles: khoomei, sygyt, kargyraa, borbannadyr, and ezengleer. Throat singing is accompanied by various types of bowed and plucked stringed instruments. Prominent researchers have studied it. The art of throat singing is performed by the Tyva Ensemble founded in Kyzyl in 1988 by musicologist and folklorist Z.K. Kyrgys.
Tuva is one of the few recreational zones of Russia, moreover it is also a recreational zone of the whole world. Here there are places untouched by civilization with clean air, medicinal springs, therapeutic mud, saline, and freshwater lakes, and wonderful hunting and fishing.
Tuva`s natural springs have curative qualities and are called arzhaany in the Tuvan language. Arzhaan is an old word from ancient Sanskrit meaning holy or healing water. Tuvan medicinal springs can be divided into two main groups: mineral and fresh. Mineral springs are part of Tuva`s mineral resources; they include medicinal springs that in their characteristics and mineral content meet the generally accepted RF norms for medicinal mineral waters. Many springs and saline and mud lakes have unique properties and are found in scenic locations with special natural climatic conditions.
Two Tuvan lakes are especially worth mentioning. The first is fantastically beautiful Sut-Khol. It is located on the spurs of the Western Sayan at an elevation of 1800 m above sea level. Its length from west to east is 7-8 km. Not far from the lake are forest-covered Mt. Bora-Taiga and Mt. Kyzyl-Taiga. Larch, spruce, and cedar grow on the shores of the lake and berries ripen among the moss. The water in the lake is fresh, exceptionally clear, and rich in plankton. The Ulug-Dorgun spring gushes out near the lake. The temperature of the water in the spring is +4°C.
The second lake is Chagytai, one of the largest and deepest lakes of the Tuvan plain. It is located at the foot of the northern slopes of the Tannu-Ola Range at an elevation of 1003 m above sea level. The lake is nearly 20 km long and covers an area of 2860 hectares. The shores of the lake are mainly rocky and sandy, with marshy areas only in the southeastern part. The Mazhalyk River, the only river flowing out of the lake, has its source here. The mountain slopes on the western and southeastern sides of the lake are covered with taiga. Chagytai abounds in fish, including ide, pike, peled, bream, and carp. There is commercial fishing on the lake, with an annual catch amounting to 50-70 tons.
Ubsunur Hollow is a Biosphere reserve, an environmentally protected zone and a top attraction.
Khuresh, the Tuvan form of wrestling, is a very popular sport. Competitions are held at the annual Naadym festival at Tos-Bulak.
Three religions are widespread among the people of Tuva: Tibetan Buddhism, Orthodox Christianity and shamanism. Tibetan Buddhism`s present-day spiritual leader is Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama. The people are mainly adherents to Tibetan Buddhism, combined with native Shamanism. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Tibetan Buddhism gained increasing popularity in Tuva.
the Monument «the Center of Asia», Kyzyl
Musical drama theatre in Kyzyl
the Temple of "Ustuu-Huree"Sources:
Encarta World Atlas