Tuva (Tyva) Republic is one of the most astonishing from the point of nature and culture regions of Russia. It is located in the South Siberia at the Mongolian border, at the headwater of mighty Siberian river Yenisei (Ulug-Hem in Tuvinian). The river takes its origins right from Tuva, from the city of Kyzyl – the capital of the republic near the junction of Big Yenisei and Small Yenisei. In the South and South-East Tuva has a border with Mongolia, in the North-East – with Irkutsk oblast, in North-West – with Khakassia republic, in the East – with Buryatia republic, in the West – with Altai republic, and in the North – with Krasnoyarsk krai. Total area of the Tuva republic is 168,6 thousands of square kilometers.
Tuva is famous all over the world as a geographical center of Asia.
This is why at the quay of Kyzyl, in the spot of the two rivers junction, there is an obelisk “Center of Asia” which is a favorite sightseeing of Tuva citizens and all people who come here. Notice, that today there are construction works to replace the old obelisk “Center of Asia” with a new composition in Skythian motives, which is produced by world famous Buryatian sculptor Dashi Namdakov together with Tuva artists.
Owing to its geographical location Tuva is one of the most remote from the sea areas in the world, it is surrounded by mountains and intermontane depressions. The highest in Eastern Siberia spot – Mongun Taiga mountain (3976 m.) – is in Tuva. The temperature here is from +25 to +42 in summer and from -42 in winter.
Tuva is called a land of blue rivers and lakes, and it is well-founded.
There are more than 430 lakes on its territory, most of them of ice-age origin. There are also 13 salty mud lakes and more than 50 curative springs – arjaans, their waters are successfully used for healing diverse diseases. The biggest of arjaans, curative springs, are the hot springs Ush-Beldir (North arszaan) and Tarys (South arjaan) in the mountains of Eastern Tuva at the Academic Obruchev mountain ridge.
Tuva with its geographic location, at the turn of East-Siberian taiga and Central Asia semi-desert landscapes, is by right called the land of contrasts. All natural areas meet here – from tundra, taiga, forest-steppe, steppe, semi-desert to desert. Only here it is possible to visit all natural areas in one week and meet reindeer it the East, mountain yaks in the South-West and West and camels in the South and South-East.
There are 16 game reserves, 14 natural monuments and two national parks. One of them – the state natural biosphere reserve Ubsunur hollow – is a memorial of world cultural and natural heritage UNESCO.