Isolated from the surrounding world by mountain chains in the center of Asian continent rests Ubsunur hollow. Size of this natural cup is 600 to 150 kilometers. At the bottom of the hollow small Ubsu-Nur lake is preserved. Scientists assume, that once the lake was a part of a sea, which gradually dried out leaving smoothed by sea waves mountains.
In 1993 biosphere reserve “Ubsunur Hollow” was created here to preserve and explore unique and exclusively diverse ecosystems of Ubsunur hollow – from mountain tundras to deserts.
The reserve is located in Ubsunur hollow which is limited in the north by West and Est Tannu-Ola mountain chains and Sangilen plateau, in the south – by Bulnai-Nuru and Khan-Khukhei chains, in the west – by Tsagan-Shibetu chain and leaning to Mongolia Altai arrays Turgen-Ula and Khakhira, in the east it is limited by watershed with river Delger-Muren basin.
In the west part of the hollow at absolute height of 1000 meters is located a salty lake Ubsu-Nur with size of 80 to 70 kilometers and depth about 15 meters. It functions as a small inner sea where waters from all over the hollow flow in.
The main unique natural feature of Ubsunur hollow is presence of almost all landscapes of Earth temperate zone on a very limited space, which in addition stands out with noticeable biodiversity. There are sand and clay deserts at the bottom of the hollow, dry steppes – at foothill plains. Higher on slopes high grass steppes turn to forest-steppes, then – to larch and cedar forests. In the end, at the tops there are dry and swampy tundras and chars.
359 bird species are registered on the territory of the reserve. Its fauna consists from about 80 mammal species. The main species are mountains, taiga and tundra inhabitants such as ounce, Altai ular, maral, lynx and wolverine. Among steppe species are psreadMongolian lark, demoiselle, gopher, bustards and sandwort. The reserve is a protected territory and many species extincted in other places can be found here.
Among most popular local inhabitants are musk-deer and snow leopard. In the end of XIX century their populations were at the edge of extinction. The populations began to recover when Soviet governance came and hunting on them was forbidden. Nowadays the danger for these rare species raises again because of poaching and shooting off snow leopard by local people who believe it attacks their cattle.
In Ubsu-Nur lake lives Altai osman. This fish is an endemic of Ubsunur hollow lakes, it cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
During the journey across Ubsunur hollow you will visit the only one fresh water lake of the basin – Tore-Khol. Around the lake rare and extincting species of plants can be found, which grow only here. There is a great opportunity to observe many different birds – many of them are in Red books of Tuva and Russia. Clearest sands of Tsugeer-Els, located next to the lake, form very beautiful landscapes.
This land used to be an arena of great moves of people: Skiffs, Huns, Turkis, Mongols – they all left traces here. This is why ancient burials, barrows and memory stones have become an inalienable element of local landscape.
Today the reserve is included into the Lists of World Heritage Sites UNESCO under general Russian-Mongolian nomination “Ubsunur Hollow”.