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Kyzyl (Russian: Кызы́л kyh-ZYHL) is the capital city of Tuva and is the geographical center of Asia.

Get in[edit]

The best option is to take the train from Moscow to Abakan (76 hours), with one-way fares varying from approximately 4,000 Rub (US$160) to 9,500 Rub (US$390). The price changes according to peak tourist seasons in Russia: by far the cheapest day to travel is the 1st of January, while July is the most expensive.

It is possible to take a bus from Abakan in neighboring Khakassia. While a night bus is an option, don't take it! The route meanders through the gorgeous Sayan mountain landscapes of the Ergaki region, which would be foolish to miss. The train from Moscow arrives in Abakan at 6 AM, and apart from the bus, there will be plenty of taxi drivers offering to take you to Kyzyl (approximately 420 km from Abakan) for 1,000 — 1,500 Rub (US$40-60). There is a possibility that you may have to register at the Russian-Tuvan border — just hand over your passport to the police officer, there is no fee for the service.

Kyzyl Airport is small and offers flights to the following destinations, as May 2014:

EC 64 Kyzyl - Krasnoyarsk (KrasAvia) 11:50 Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri until 10.10

EC 64 Kyzyl - Krasnoyarsk (KrasAvia) 12:10 Sat until 11.10

IO 146 Kyzyl - Irkutsk (IrAero) 14:00 Mon, Wed, Fri until 08.10

SP 5028 Kyzyl - Novosibirsk (Tomsk Avia) 14:45 Mon, Tue, Thu, Sat 09.10, except 20.05, 24.05

EC 64 Kyzyl - Krasnoyarsk (KrasAvia) 16:20 Mon until 06.10

Since 2014 there is also direct bus connection between Krasnoyarsk airport and Kyzyl. The fare is about 1400 Rubles (40$) and the trip takes about 14 hours. The busses start at 10 am / 3 pm / 6 pm from Krasnoyarsk airport. Tickets have to be bought at the counter in front of the departure building of the airport.

Get around[edit]

The town is relatively small, so if you are staying in one of the hotels in the centre, all of the landmarks will be within walking distance. There are no buses in Kyzyl, but there are plenty of route taxi vans ('marshrutka') and regular taxis. The cost of one ride on the marshrutka in 2008 is 14 Rub (approx. US$0.57), regardless of the distance.

See[edit][add listing]

The Centre of Asia Monument — located on the picturesque bank of the Yenisey River, where the Small and Big Yenisey Rivers join into the Great Yenisey. It is quite easy to find — just walk north from Hotel Kyzyl until you hit the river bank, then turn right and keep walking until you see it.

Shaman centre — located to the left of the Centre of Asia Monument. For a small fee, you can have your fortune told or an illness cured by a Tuvan Shaman. In summer, the government puts up a decorative yurt (traditional nomadic house) next to the centre.

National Theatre — located on the main city square opposite the White House (Government Building). Note the wooden carvings on the building, which were hand-crafted in the traditional Scythian 'animal' style.

Lenin monument — located on the main square, just next to the National Theatre.

Do[edit][add listing]

National Museum — located about 500 metres west from the National Theatre, down the main road. The new building opened in 2008, and some exhibits have not yet been moved from the old building. It features exhibits on the Tuvan flora and fauna, religion and traditions, archaeological findings from the Stone Age and the Scythian era, as well as exhibits from WWII and the Tannu Tuva Independent Republic. Surprisingly, the Museum also features paintings of renowned Russian and foreign artists, including Shishkin and Reynolds. Entry costs 100 Rub (US$4) for Russians, and 200 Rub (US$8) for foreign tourists. The Museum is open until 6 pm, and is closed on Mondays.

National Theatre — In summer, the Theatre hosts different festivals (traditional dance, throat singing etc.) so keep an eye out for posters and advertisments around town. Tickets cost around 100 — 300 Rub (US$4-12).

Buy[edit][add listing]

1 mile southwards from the theatre is a market where items of daily need, clothes, tools and shoes can be bought.

There are also one or two souvenir shops in centre town. Anyway tourism is not that well developped so trade with souvenirs is very rare.

Eat[edit][add listing]

There are couple of small café and fastfood stores having some local food, e.g. Mantüi (dumplings), pelmenii (dumpling soup), Piroshki (kind of deep fried pancake) and soup with noodle and meat.

In the center of Kyzyl are also plenty of hot dog stands, which also offer Shaurma and in some rare circumstances Hamburgers.

A place with a bigger choice of traditional tuvan food is the "Tuvan national centre" at the Lenin street.

Restaurants like in western countries don't exist.

Drink[edit][add listing]

Sales of alcoholic beverages are limited to 7 pm on week days, at least in stores and supermarkets. In the summer time fermented horse milk is a delicacy and also Kvas, a sort of lemonade sold on the streets.

Drinking alcoholic beverage in public is prohibited and consequently fined.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Kyzyl Hotel, ул. Тувинских добровольцев, 13 (Downtown).  edit
  • Mongulek, ул. Кочетова, 1 (Close to the previous).  edit
  • Hotel Odugen Krasnykh Partizan Ulitsa, d. 36, Kyzyl 667000 (Красных Партизан улица, д. 36, 667000), 8(39422)32518 (). on the second floor even number rooms have balconies singles 2300rub twin 4000rub per night.  edit
  • Buyan Badyrgy Hotel 1, Moskvoskaya Street, Kyzyl 667000(1, Московская улице, 667000) (around 3km from city centre), [1].  edit



Get out[edit]

There are frequent concerts in the theatre.

But nightlife is more or less restricted to some dubious cellar clubs and a night club close to the Möngulek Hotel. Anyway after dusk you shouldn't go out alone and crossing streets in the night on the main road is particular dangerous because of racing cars and motorcycles.

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