Southern Tuva

On the border with Mongolia, the lake Tore-Khöl is located among moving sand-dunes, with pure waters and golden sands that attract tourists from afar. This is the Ubsu-nuur basin, which has been included in the list of Worldwide cultural legacy due to the concentration of practically every natural landscape type here, from deserts to snowy mountains. It is the home of a great diversity of flora and fauna. This is also the location of the second federal nature reserve of Tuva.

There is also the cliff Teve-Khaya, which can be translated as “Camel Cliff,” for its form is indeed reminiscent of a giant Bactrian camel sitting among the steppes. It is an interesting coincidence that this cliff, the creation of natures’ hand, appears in Tes-Khem kozhuun, where camels have been raised for a long time. The administrative center of this border region at one time was a gathering place for commercial caravans from Mongolia and China, a center of business. All the southern regions of Tuva – Tes-Khem, Övür, and Erzin, border with Mongolia, and therefore are territories of cultural exchange. One can find many local inhabitants who speak both Tuvan and Mongolian fluently. In the 9th century Kyrgyz tribes conquered a large territory of Central Asia, with certain parts of those people settling in the south of Tuva, where up until the 20th century and possibly even today one could find clans of people who called themselves by the name “Kyrgys.” These are the descendants of the 9th century Kyrgys of Tuva. It stands to reason that such a wide territory, once settled by ancient tribes and peoples, left behind a large number of archaeological sites. Petroglyphs can be found on the lone mountain Syyn-Chüree (Stag Heart) keep their own sad legend, as well as the cult structures from Scythian times known as Ulug-Khorum (Temple of the Sun), and the hard-to-reach petroglyphs of Mugur-Sargol of the bronze age, to name a few.