Kalmykia is a republic within the Russian Federation, which is part of the Southern Federal District. This is the only region in Europe where Buddhism is recognized as the official religion. In local cities there are many beautiful temples that allow you to feel the oriental atmosphere of peace, and leaving the city you will be greeted by endless steppes, deserts, lakes and representatives of the local fauna.

At the end of the article it will light up.

The easiest way to go to Kalmykia is by plane. There are direct flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg (a flight lasts 2-3 hours), from other regions you can get transfers. You can also take a bus for about a day or go to Kalmykia on the Blooming Steppe cruise train. YandexTravel service will help you choose the right flight and find the cheapest tickets.

Arriving in the capital of the region, Elista, you will immediately see the typical architecture of the Eastern countries. Near the airport you can see a part of the city’s history: a small spring. It was here that ancient nomads founded a settlement, although today this place does not look very attractive (but there is a small pagoda in the neighborhood). In the center of the city there is a “seven-day” temple, where a huge gold-covered prayer wheel can be spun.

And if you get bored with oriental culture, then visit the “Chess City”, which already contains works of art from all over the world. The city’s main attraction is the Chess Palace, whose construction was timed to coincide with the Chess Olympiad (exhibitions and other competitions are now held there). Inside you can learn the history of chess, hear about top chess players and shop for souvenirs.

Now I propose to look at the wonders of nature. First of all, we will go to the desert to listen to how the Barkhans sing. If you visit the desert in dry and windy weather, you can hear a sound like a roar coming from the tops of the sand hills (according to local legends, these are spirits trying to communicate).

At first glance, this place seems completely lifeless, but if you come here at night, you can see hedgehogs, snakes, hares, and other animals. During the day they hide from the terrifying heat, and closer to the night they come out on the warm sand.

Not far from the desert are the Mekletinskie lakes, in which there is no water. Well, more precisely, it is, only in small quantities and under a layer of salt. If you make a small hole in the bark, you can see the healing mud. Soon, they plan to build a medical sanatorium here, because microscopic crustaceans live in these lakes (they give the lakes an unusual pink color and make the mud heal).

By the way, you can travel through the desert on a camel. Local nomads have long cooperated with travel companies and provide animals for rent.

After the pink lakes, you can go to the burning spring. On the shore of one of the lakes there is a spring from an artesian well, which can be set on fire and take fire in hand.

This is possible thanks to methane deposits deep in the earth, which, together with water, rise to the surface and burn. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to drink from that fountain, as the water here is very salty, but you can take great photos as a souvenir.

In addition to the listed attractions, there are many other interesting places in Kalmykia. If you come here in spring, you will be able to admire the vast fields dotted with tulips. If you are planning a trip with children, you should definitely visit the rural farms and local museums of Mongolian nomadic culture. In general, in this unusual region for every tourist there is something interesting.

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Source: IXBT

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