Tyva (Tuva) Republic

Tuva is located in the central Asia and borders on Mongolia, Altai, Khakass, Buryat Republics as well as Krasnoyarsk Territory and Irkutsk Oblast. On one hand, Tyva Republic is the wildlife preservation, and on the other hand, it is the home for the countless natural resources. The territory of the Republic is 168.8 thousand square kilometers; it stretches from the East to the West for more than 700 km and from the North to the South in the Eastern part for 450 km, the central part occupies 100 km.
Tuva attracts the travelers like a magnet. Everything is very interesting here that is why it is quite difficult to give the preference to this or that attraction. Tuva republic is rich in the virgin nature and diverse landscapes that vary from the sandy deserts to the mountains and tundra. The local flora and fauna in the junction of the south-Siberian forests and central-Asian deserts amaze with their originality. The reindeer and the snow leopard live here together with the camel and the red dog. The yaks and the snow leopard inhabit the severe highland. The Alpine meadows gladden with the riot of colors.

Tuva is one of the richest archeological national reserves. It amazes with its variety of the archeological monuments that belong to different epochs: deer stones, stone images, Scythian, Hun and Turkic barrows, steles with the runic, old Turkic writings. Tuva ethnic color is also attractive with its Russian Old Believer way of life, shamanistic rituals, deep-throat singing, national Khuresh wrestling, the possibility to live sometime in the true jurt and imagine yourself the ancient nomad. Many travelers are eager to get to the livestock breeders national fest, Nadym, that is celebrated in the middle of August; during this fest you can enjoy the horse and camel races, archery, magnificent national costumes and learn more about this original culture, language, traditions and cuisine.

Tyva Republic has the huge tourist’s potential that combines the unique variety of the natural-climatic conditions with the picturesque landscapes, flora and fauna riches, preserved national traditions and unique nature monuments. As this Republic is located in the central part of the Asian continent, Tyva disposes of the unique variety of the picturesque landscapes. You can see all the Earth climatic zones, by for the savannahs and tropical rain forests on this comparatively small territory. There are 16 wildlife preserves, 14 nature monuments and two nature reserves here.

Relief. Tuva Republic belongs to the mountain-kettle relief. The mountains occupy approximately 82% of its territory with 18% occupied with the plains. The whole territory of Tuva Republic is located above the sea level; the true altitude of plains and mountains reach the mark of 500 to 4000 meters above the sea level. The western part of Tuva is occupied with the mountain ridges and the prongs of Altaian mountains with the mountain points more than 3000 meters above the sea level. The highest Tuva mountain is Mongun Taiga mountain (3976 m., but according to some calculations, the altitude of the glacier reaches 4000 m. above the sea levels); Mungash-Kul’ mountain (3826 m.); Ak Oyuk mountain (3608 m.); Mongulek mountain (3485 m.), Kyzyl-Taiga mountain (3121 m.). Mountain ridges and spurs of Sayan Mountains with the altitude of 2000 to 3000 m. are located in the North and East of Tuva. The Academician Obruchev Range that is closed with the western Sayan Mountains is located in the central part. The Derby-Taiga highland basalt plateau with 16 extinct volcanoes is located on the territory of the Bii Khem (the Big Yenisey) river source.
Almost all Tuva rivers belong to the Upper Yenisey basin, with the exception of the southern slopes of Tanu Ola and Sengilen that give their waters to the rivers of the closed cavity of Ubsu-Nur lake.
The Yenisey, one of the largest rivers on the Earth, springs from Tuva. Initially, two rivers, the Bii Khem (the Big Yenisey) and the Ka-Khem (the Small Yenisey) flow together in Tuvinian Kettle near Kyzyl city. The Tuvinian word «khem» means «the river». The Bii Khem river arises in the eastern part of Tuva near Buryatia border and comes to the confluence with the Ka Khem river in the North-East.
Waterfalls. The biggest and the most famous waterfall is Bii Khem waterfall that is located in Todjin Kettle in the Bii Khem river that is 70 km higher than the Serlig-Khem river mouth. The 4-meter-wide stream falls here down from the 8-meters-high altitude and creates the deafening roaring. The territory of the vertical fall is 3 meters while the rest of the stream flows into the abrupt gutter.
Lakes. Tuva Republic numbers near 430 lakes. 13 of these lakes contain brine and mud that are used for the medical treatment of different diseases.
The acutely continental climate is typical for Tuva. The winter in the kettles is severe, windless with the prevailing fair and sunny weather. The average January temperatures are -25 to -34C, but sometimes the temperature reaches the point of -55… -58C. Summer in the prairie intermountain depressions is warm, often very hot. The July temperature is 19-20C, sometime the temperature reaches the 35-40C point.
Flora. The forests cover almost the whole territory of Tuva Republic. The coniferous forests occupy 95% of the whole area. The principal breed is Siberian larch that occupies 65% of the coniferous forest territory. Approximately 3 million hectares of Tuva territory are covered with the cedar forest (that puts together 11% of the whole Russia cedar forests massif).
Fauna. The fauna of Tuva is rather diverse. It is the inhabitation for 85 species of the mammals and 300 birds species; the rivers and lakes are inhabited by 18 fish species. The mountain-taiga zone is inhabited by the East-Siberian animals; such fur-bearing animals like squirrel and sable are among them. You can also meet here the glutton, brown bear, elk, musk deer, roe, Siberian stag, beaver, wild boar and lynx. The manul, the wild cat, lives in the river valley. Very rare wild animals, like snow leopard, moufflon and ibex can be found in the mountains. You can also find the wild caribou and colonies of the rear species of Tuvinian beaver that lives in the Azas river in Todj.
The bird kingdom of Tuva is also various. The birds of prey are presented by the eagle, black kite, hawk, owl and eagle-owl. The taiga is inhabited by the black grouse, wood grouse, hazel-grouse and partridge and such game birds, like the goose, different species of ducks and sandpipers. The culvers are also found here. The southern Tuva is inhabited by the huge flightless bustard that is also called the jungle fowl and is registered in the Red Book.
Rivers and reservoirs of the Yenisey river are rich in the fish species: grayling, perch, pike, goldilocks, cisco, peled, burbot and ide. You can also find here the huge taimen and relict sterlet.

The translation of some names of Tuva lakes and the Bii Khem river tributaries:
the Ulug-An-Khol’ – The Lake of the Big Beast
the Nas-Oy – The Bold Turn
the Bash-Khem – The Supreme River
the Ak-Khem – The White River
Ush lake – The Threefold Lake (The Lake of the Three)
the Tos-Buluk – Nine Sources
the Adyg-Shivi (Adyr-Shivi) – The Bear Fir Tree (The Broken Fir Tree)
the Kadyr-Khem – The Steep River
the Kara-on-ush-tanma – Thirteen Dark Stamps
the Kadyr-Sug – The Steep Water
the Aailyg – The Dangerous
the Chat-Sug – The Bird-Cherry-Tree Water
the Saazar-Tanma – The Resolving River
the Maittyg-Chul – The Goldilocks lake
the Serlig-Khem – The Cold Water
the El’dig-Khem – The Cold River