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==Other destinations==
*'''Yashalta Salt Lake''' — located between Berezovoe and Solenoye villages of Yashalta district, it is known in Kalmykia for its therapeutic values. The administration of Yashalta district and republican authorities are planning to open a balneo-resort on Yashalta Salt Lake. Curiously, Yashalta was founded by [[Estonia]]n settlers in 1877.
*'''Chess-City''' — an administrative unit within Elista, it often serves as a venue for multiple international chess events. The Chess-City complex also hosts meetings of Russian state officials as well as Russian school olympiads.
*'''The Sarpa Lakes''' — right next to the Ergeni Hills, in the north-central part of Kalmykia freshwater lakes called the Sarpa are dispersed. The Sarpa Lakes include lake of Sarpa 42,6, lake Barmanzak 25,8, lake Tsagan-Nur 23,5, and lake Batur-Mala 21,9 Not only it is a picturesque wild scenery of Kalmyk flora and fauna, but also a perfect place for hunting and fishing.
*'''Buddhist temples and monasteries ''', ''khuruls'' that count 27 number is over 30 all over the republic. The smaller sacred memorials or ''stupa'' are dedicated to good events.
*'''Bamb-TseTsg''' (''Tullip'') - National Nature Park. Founded in 1991 it includes over 500 hectares of grass and tullip fields of red (mostly), white, yellow and violet colour.
In the ancient times , the region was home to nomadic tribes - such as the Khazars and later , whose empire was broken by Kiev in 965. Later on it was the north-western corner of the mighty Mongol Empire - and subsequently the Golden Horde. Being Historical Crossroads Kalmykia is a historical crossroads on the steppe route, known as Great Silky Way to Asia, the region had its section east to the Caspian coastSilk Road.
The Western Mongol Kalmyk tribes, also called Oirats, migrated across [[Central Asia]] from an ancestral home around [[Xinjiang]], [[China]] and southeastern [[Kazakhstan]] and eventually arrived in [[Southern Russia]], displacing the Tatars of the [[Astrakhan Oblast|Astrakhan]] Khanate. Originally an independent khanate, Kalmykia's independence was slowly chipped away and it was eventually assimilated into the Russian Empire.
As more than half of Kalmyks are followers of Tibetan Buddhism, the country is often referred to as the only Buddhist country in Europe. Sadly, nearly all of Kalmykia's beautiful khuruls (Kalmyk Buddhist temples) as well as all Christian churches were demolished under Stalin's massive campaign of cultural vandalism. Under German occupation all Jews of Elista were exterminated. Later in 1943 Stalin deported the entire population of Kalmyks to the [[Kazakhstan]] and [[Siberia]]. The inappropriate agriculture along with previous collectivisation collectivization caused the erosion and desertification. Those Kalmyks who survived the brutal deportation and exile were finally allowed to return home in 1957, under Khruschev. But despite these hardships, Kalmykia's khuruls are being rebuilt, and the people remain, and merit a visit.
Present day Kalmykia garnered some press attention for the excesses of its former flamboyant and dictatorial president Ilyumzhinov. Ilyumzhinov, a former Kalmyk statesman in the USSR and president of the World Chess Federation, led Kalmykia since the break up of the Soviet Union, but failed to deliver on rather grandiose promises to turn Kalmykia into a "Caspian Kuwait" in which there would be "a cell phone for every shepherd." He, however, turned Elista into the claimed chess capital of the world by building a small district of Elista known as "City Chess" and by hosting successive chess championships in the capital.
Being one of Europe's poorest and most underdeveloped regions, Kalmykia now has one of the highest birthrates in Russia and growing private food production sector. Livestock raising and processing remains the main economic activity and there is also some fishing and arable farming. Oil-production brought significally contributed significantly to the economic revival. The official GDP growth in the republic was 2% in 2010.
Besides Buddhism and Orthodox Christianity believers there is a are smaller parts of Muslims, Christian Catholics and PtotestantsProtestants.
Although the traditional language of the Kalmyk majority is Kalmyk (western Mongolian), it is mainly older people who speak it natively, while younger people mostly usually speak Russian as their native language and only understand Kalmyk. Nowadays just a few villages are mainly Kalmyk-speaking by all generations. [[Russian phrasebook|Russian]] is spoken and understood everywhere - although not by some of the very oldest Kalmyks.
==Get in==
===By bus===
Several private companies operate a daily bus service between Moscow and Elista. The pickup point points in Moscow is Luzhniki Stadiumare bus station close to subway stations: Orehovo, Teplyi Stan, Krasnogvardeiskaya. A one-way ticket costs about 1000RUR1800RUR.
===By boat===
Kalmykia is known for its sunny weather and fresh air. However, visitors are advised not to drink tap water due to the high content of minerals and salt. Otherwise, Kalmykia offers a healthy environment, and delicious and fresh food — mutton and beef being specialties, also Caspian caviar, prized as far away as Moscow and [[Saint Petersburg]].
*From April till May October stay sun-protected.
*Swimming in the salt lake is prohibited for more than 20 min. because of the possible chemical burn.
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