The Republic of Tyva (or Tuva as it is also frequently called) is situated at the geographic centre of Asia in Southern Siberia among the upper course of the River Yenisey, encircled by the Sayan and Tannu-Ola mountain ranges. Its capital is the city of Kyzyl.
Tyva has an fascinating history and is unusual as it only became part of the USSR in 1944, having previously existed as the independent state of the Tuvan’s People Republic (or Tannu Tuva) for over two decades. In addition the republic also has an interesting mix of Buddhism and Shamanism, as well as a rich culture of Tuvan throat singing, oral folklore, khuresh wrestling and horse riding. Unlike many other Russian republics, the nominal people of Tyva - the Tuvans, who speak a Turkic language - constitute the majority of the republic at just over 80%.
Tyva shares borders with Altai, Khakassia, Buryatia, the Irkutsk Region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory, plus a state border with Mongolia. However transport links are not great, with the main links being a bus route to Abakan in Khakassia and flights to Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk and Irkutsk. A project to connect Kyzyl with the Krasnoyarsk Territory via a railway is currently underway.
Tyva’s main sights include its capital Kyzyl - the geographical centre of Asia; the city of Chadan - the birthplace of Russian politician Sergey Shoigu and home to an important Buddhist monastery; the ethno-cultural complex of Aldyn-Bulak, various lakes, including the salty Dus-Khol; the Old-Believer settlement of Erzhey and many other stunningly beautiful natural sights in this land of mountains, rivers, tundra, lakes, steppe and taiga.