The city was founded in 1865, and has a population of just over 100,000. This is the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia, a Buddhist region within Russia. Local population comprised mostly of Kalmyks, Russians, other North Caucasian ethnicities. The Kalmyks have Mongolian origian and live in Russia since over 400 years.
Flights from Moscow are a few times a week on Rusline. There are more regular flights to Volgograd and Rostov, with transfer to Elista by bus or train respectively.
Several private companies operate a daily bus service between Moscow and Elista. The pickup points in Moscow are bus station close to subway stations: Orehovo, Teplyi Stan, Krasnogvardeiskaya. A one-way ticket costs about 1800RUR.
There are daily marshrutkas connecting Elista with Rostov, Volgograd and Astrakhan.
Mini-buses ply routes around the city.
You can drink Kalmyk tea