The republic of Tuva (Tuva)

Geography

The republic of Tuva is located in the south of Eastern Siberia. It borders with Mongolia, the republic of Buryatia, Irkutsk region (oblast), Krasnoyarsk region (krai) and the republics of Khakassia and Altai.  
The city of Kyzyl is the capital of the republic of Tuva, also this place is known as the geographical center of Asia. 
Population is about 320 000 people, indigenous population is Tuvans.  

Flora and fauna

Flora and fauna of Tuva is very rich. There are 300 bird species, 85 kinds of mammals and 18 fish species. In Tuva there are more than 50 mineral springs (arzhaan – holy water translated from Tuvan language).
The area of the republic is a mountain basin. Steppes are typical thing for the hollows. Mountains are covered with hardwoods and deciduous trees.
There are 16 natural area, 14 natural monuments and 2 nature reserves. One of the reserve is Ubsunur Hollow, which is in the list of UNESCO heritage.

Weather

The climate is strongly continental. Average temperatures are from -28°С till -35°С in January, +15°С +20°С in July. The annual precipitation is till 1000 millimeters in the mountain areas and from 150 millimeters in the hollows per year.  

Religion

According to the official law “Freedom of the still small voice and faith-based organizations” (1997), shamanism, Buddhism (Mahayana traditions) and Orthodox Christians  are recognized as the traditional believes of the republic of Tuva.

Traditions and cuisine

Traditional dishes of Tuvans: milk and meat. The most appreciated dish is milk sut. Traditional Tuvan dishes are cooked from lamb meat, the most popular dishes are sogazh, blood sausage (han, mun and others), and the combination dishes of meat and breadstuff (e.g. noodle soup with meat (uzken bydaa) and others.

  • Clothes

For centuries national Tuvan suit is presented with dressing-gown, fur, coat, kur (belt), bort (head-dress), kandaazyn (sleeveless jacket), shegedek, khorekteesh, khurme  (short-skirted jacket), chuvur (trousers), idik (boot), uk (socks), deshki (knee supporters), chuldurguush (muft), dergi (belt charms) and kaastalga (jewelry).

How to reach

There is no railway road in Tuva. It’s possible to reach the republic by plane or by car only. There is the government plan to build the railway in Tuva which connects with main Trans Siberian railway (the line Kuragino – Kyzyl). But nowadays the nearest train station is located in Abakan (the capital of the republic of Khakassia).

By plane

There are direct flights to Kyzyl from Krasnoyarsk, Irkutsk and Novosibirsk. The official information is published on Kyzyl airport website  - www.tuvaairport.ru/#

By auto

The only one road goes to Tuva – highway M54. It’s possible to reach Kyzyl by public bus from Abakan or Krasnoyarsk.  

Top 5 reasons to visit Tuva 

  • Scythian gold

In the beginning of 21st century 20 kilograms of gold was discovered in the excavation of barrow Arzhaan-II, which became a sensation in archeological community. The manufacturing method surprised by its complicated and uniqueness. The exposition is kept in National museum of Tuva (in Kyzyl).

  • Khoomei – Tuvan throat-signing

The singer makes two notes at the same time, and you can hear a kind of two-voice solo. Tuvan throat-signing is quite differ from similar singing of the Altai, the Buryat or Mongolian people. Tuvan throat-signing has much more different styles, it’s possible to perform it even with no words.

  • Mineral springs

In Tuva there are more than 50 mineral springs (arzhaan – holy water translated from Tuvan language), which located in different parts of the republic

  • Union of different religions

Tuva amazes how close and peaceful, people following the principles of different religions can live there. In just some days you can learn about shamanism (to point the personal meeting with shaman), Buddhism (pagoda), and even have a lunch with old belivers,

  • Colorful ethnic festivals and national holidays

For centuries Tuvans respect their national traditions and customs. All its variarty and colorful charm you can see, visiting Tuvan national holidays: Naadym, and musical festival Ustuu-Khure.

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