The Republic of Kalmykia and Elista

General information

Республика Калмыкия

The Republic of Kalmykia is a region in the South of the Russian Federation, the capital is the city of Elista (Elista in Russia). The population of the region is slightly more than 270 thousand people, and it is even less than many cities of Russia.

Kalmykia is hard to call an attractive tourist region, where specifically should go on vacation. But it is a special place because it is the only place in Europe where the dominant religion is Buddhism. Surprisingly, even today many people in Central Russia are not aware that just next to them is the center of European Buddhism, mistakenly believing that this religion is common only in the Eastern regions of the Russian Federation.

Храм в Калмыкии

It is because of Buddhism, Kalmykia and may be of interest to tourists and travelers. As we mentioned here, don't purposely set out to go, but if your route to the South, for example in Sochi, Crimea or Astrakhan passes through this region or near it, some of the sights of Kalmykia worth a little detour from the road and visit them. First of all, this exotic for the European part of the Russian Federation, Buddhist temples and pagodas. Examining them, not feeling like you're not in the West of Russia, and the far East, or Asia. Indeed, the architecture of the temples and pagodas follows the traditional traits of Asian multi-level structures and style of many temples copied from traditional Tibetan buildings. But with the natural beauty of the region is lucky: nature of Kalmykia, a predominantly steppe, particular beauties are to be found. Incidentally, this is also one of the amazing things in Kalmykia: it is necessary to enter the country, as the green is sharply replaced by steppe, and away from the region you will again meet the green of fields.

The tourist infrastructure in General in the region and in the capital, Elista, is practically not developed. Besides hotels according to type only to sleep in, you won't find anything here. There are even travel agencies that organize any tours, so the attractions have to organize their own local transport, although it is best to come here by car. Entertainment created especially for visitors to the city or region – no.

Where to stay in Kalmykia

In Kalmykia and the city of Elista there is a large variety of hotels, and usually, accommodation is provided in a simple hotel only to sleep. You can also rent an apartment, but here the selection is small, only a few dozen variants. Prices for a double hotel room starts from 1,500 rubles for an apartment of 1200 rubles.

The highest concentration of accommodation is in the Republic's capital, Elista, although there can count no more than two dozen hotels. You can also stay in roadside hotels and motels for the rest of the country, but they are very rare, one-on-many hundreds of kilometers, so the aim is still to stop in the capital. If you stay in Elista, essentially to pick a place not necessarily because the town is small and all the attractions and infrastructure will be easily accessible by local transport or on foot.

Find hotels in Elista

How to get to Kalmykia

Kalmykia borders the Republic of Dagestan and the Stavropol territory, Rostov, Volgograd and Astrakhan region (Kalmykia on the map of Russia). To get to the regional capital city Elista, by plane or by bus. Trains here at the moment (2017) don't go, but can be renewed, so keep track of the schedule on the website of Russian Railways. The best way to travel to Elista and see the region – by car.

There is another way to visit Kalmykia – tours from Volgograd. The cost of such trips from 1500 rubles, the duration – one day. To book a tour in advance is better through the Internet, because they do not leave every day, perhaps even very rare.

On the plane

Unfortunately, at the airport of Elista runs the only flight from Moscow, from Domodedovo airport, and not every day. During the summer period may start flight in Sochi. No more flight no. The flight from Moscow takes a little over two hours, the prices are very high, 8 Tr in same direction.

The airport is 10 kilometers from the city (airport map) and get to it by taxi from 400 rubles, or by bus, which departs after the arrival of flight, costs 70 rubles.

By bus

Regular bus services connect Elista to Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi and the neighbouring regions. The cost of the trip from Moscow to Elista – from 1800 rubles. The schedule and cost can be found on the website Yandex.schedule

All buses arrive in town at the bus station, which is located on the Forecourt next to the now closed railway station (bus station on the map). From here to the desired places in the city can be reached by taxi, city bus, or on foot.

By car

This is the best way to get to Elista, and see the sights of the region. One of the most convenient route is via highway M6 Volgograd. Keep in mind that Kalmykia is a steppe region is very, almost desert. When driving on the roads many tens and even hundreds of kilometers it is possible not to come across gas stations, cafes, and generally not the soul. Therefore, before entering the Republic we recommend you to fill the car, take along food, water, and in the Kalmykia Republic restock and refuel at the first opportunity.

The distance to Elista from some cities of the Russian Federation

  • Moscow – Elista – 1260 kilometers
  • Voronezh – Elista – 830 kilometers
  • Kazan – Elista – 1300 miles
  • Samara – Elista – 1,100 km
  • Volgograd – Elista – 290 kilometers
  • Sochi – Elista – 770 kilometers
  • Krasnodar – Elista – 510 miles

Transport, to move around Kalmykia and Elista

In Elista there is a system of public transport of buses and taxis, there are just a little more than 20 routes. For tourists it makes no sense to study the layout of the routes, as most of the attractions of Elista can be explored on foot because everything is near the center. It may be useful to except that route 7 (you can reach the city of chess and to the stupa of enlightenment). Taxis in the city is also present, the fare from 50 rubles.

To move around the Republic it is best to use a personal transport, since long-distance transport between cities of the Republic is only weakly developed.

Sights of Kalmykia and Elista

Attractions in the Republic of Kalmykia is not very much, and most of them located in the capital of the Republic – the city of Elista. The most interesting and exotic places are Buddhist temples and pagodas, including one of the largest Buddhist temples in Europe and the big Buddha statue in it. Also interesting are a couple of pagodas you can visit the local Museum and the town of chess with the chess Museum.

By the way, the temples and stupas in an Asian style can be seen not only in the capital but throughout the country, even in the smallest villages and in the steppes. Unfortunately, the old temples are almost gone, as in the Soviet period Buddhism very actively eradicated by the Soviet authorities, and ancient temples were destroyed.

  • Temple of the Golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni

    Храм, Республика Калмыкия

    This is the main attraction of Elista and Kalmykia in General, the most important Buddhist temple of the Republic. It is also considered the largest in Europe, and inside is the biggest in Europe, nine-meter statue of Buddha covered with gold leaf. Traditionally in Kalmykia Buddhist temples called khurul, so don't be surprised after reading or hearing this word.

    The construction of the Church began with the blessing of the world Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, who visited the city in November 2004. The temple was opened in late 2005. It is very beautiful, made in the traditional style of Buddhist temples. At the temple around the circle are 17 pagodas and prayer drums, bypass and rotation which should be clockwise. Putting the coin next to the prayer wheels make a wish.

    At the temple you can move freely and photograph inside the temple but photos are prohibited. At the entrance you should take off your shoes, leave shoes outside. You can't go to the temple in short skirts, shorts, t-shirts.

    Working time: from 08:00 to 20:00

    Entrance fee: free, donations are welcome

    How to get there: Golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni is in the centre of Elista, street Klykova, Y., 63 (the temple on the map).

  • The Temple Of Syakusn-Sume

    Храм, Калмыкия

    This temple is also known as the old khurul (khurul – so the temple Kalmyk), although it is often confused with the temple in the city. In fact, the temple of Syakusn-Sume is located on the outskirts of the city beyond its borders, on the way to Arshan. The site was blessed by the Dalai Lama during his second visit to Kalmykia, and the temple itself was built in 1996.

    This temple was built in traditional Tibetan style, but he's not as colorful as the main temple of the Golden abode of Buddha Shakyamuni in the centre of Elista. Around the steppe, the wind, and next a few of the houses inhabited by monks, and ethnic cafe in a traditional Yurt near the main road, nothing more. However, many tourists find it even more interesting than the main temple.

    If you are a believer or just interested in Buddhism, be sure to visit this place.

    Hours: the temple is not a tourist attraction, because it is often closed. If you really want to get inside (and it's worth it), ask the monks to open doors for you, they do it with pleasure

    Entrance fee: free, donations are welcome

    How to get there: the temple is located on the outskirts of the city on the way to the village of Arshan (Shrine on the map). To get here by taxi or private transport.

  • Pagoda of Seven days

    Пагода, Республика Калмыкия

    This is another iconic Buddhist landmark in the heart of Elista. Just do not confuse, this is not a temple but a pagoda, the purpose of which is to catch evil spirits and to protect against them. Inside the pagoda is a large rotating drum, which is believed to cleanse and fulfills the desire. To do the ritual, you need to put donations, and to scroll through the drum three times clockwise.

    Near the pagoda is a traditional city Park with entertainment, a Buddha statue and a beautiful Gold and South gate, in the typical Asian style. In the evening, the pagoda is very beautifully illuminated.

    Hours: around the clock

    Entrance fee: free

    How to get there: the Pagoda of Seven days is located on Lenin square in the center of Elista (the pagoda on the map).

  • The Enlightenment Stupa

    Ступа, Элиста

    The Enlightenment stupa is called "tamed of the Monlam Drup" that is translated as "to fulfill all the wishes (prayers)". Constructed in 1999. Most of the Buddhist stupas, monolithic, ie inside them cannot be accessed, however, the Enlightenment stupa is hollow, and inside her room is the altar room. The walls are painted with Buddhist motifs, and in the center has a revolving prayer wheel. At the entrance to the stupa, be sure to take your shoes off, and by the way inside of her heated warm floor.

    Not to say that stupa is a must visit, but if you are a devout Buddhist, then be sure to hit the court. Also the stupa to visit passing through on the way to the city of chess. Nearby is a Buddhist center and temple.

    Hours: daytime

    Entrance fee: free

    How to get there: the stupa is located on the outskirts of the city on the Avenue of Ostap Bender (the mortar on the map). Can be reached by route taxi №7

  • Golden gate

    Золотые ворота

    Golden gate (Altn Bosch) — one of the most recognizable symbols of the city and of the Republic of Kalmykia, whose image can be found on Souvenirs, postcards, tourist brochures. And therefore tourists should visit this beautiful building, designed in traditional Asian style. The gate was built in 1998, the facade is decorated with 28 paintings depicting the past and present of the people of Kalmykia.

    Hours: around the clock

    Entrance fee: free

    How to get there: the Golden gate is located in the centre of Elista in the Park of Friendship (the Golden gate on the map).

  • Republican Museum of local lore

    Музей, Республика Калмыкия

    Kalmyk Republican Museum of local Lore. Professor N. N. Palmov national Museum is the main Museum of the region. The exhibition, though not very big, but informative, and generally gives a concept about the history, life, traditions, nature and achievements of the Republic of Kalmykia. In the exposition of stuffed animals, musical instruments, tools, jewelry, clothing and costumes, lots of pictures, etc.. the exposition of the second floor is devoted to the great Patriotic war. Overall, the Museum is worth a visit, especially as other museums here. Offered tour support of the Museum's halls.

    Website: national-museum.kalm.muzkult.ru

    Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday from 09:00 to 18:00; Thursday 09:00-21:00; Saturday, Sunday from 10:00 to 16:00; Monday – closed

    Entrance fee: adults – 60 rubles, children – 40, tour – 200 rubles

    How to get there: the Museum is located in Elista, St Jangara, 9 (Museum card), from the centre 20 min walk

  • State Museum of fine arts of the Republic of Kalmykia

    Previously housed separately, now his collection transferred to the Museum

  • The City Of Chess

    Town or city Chess-chess is a small neighborhood on the outskirts of Elista, built in 1998 for the holding of the 33rd world chess Olympiad. The main inspirer of the appearance of the city chess became the head of the Republic Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, but, unfortunately, today, without adequate support from the initial ideas remained little, the place gradually turns into an ordinary cottage area with houses and administrative buildings. Interesting that the buildings (cottages) stylized chess, at least, names. Also on site are a "chess" sculpture, and in the center of the chess Museum. If you are seriously interested in the game, you can visit this mini-city of chess, or are you nothing special to watch. By the way, the other name of the district – new Vasyuki, and on this occasion on the road to the neighborhood is a monument to Ostap Bender.

    Hours: around the clock

    Entrance fee: free

    How to get there: the Chess City is located on the outskirts of Elista, St Ostap Bender (the city of Chess on the map). Here you can drive on bus number 7.

  • The chess Museum

    Музей, Республика Калмыкия

    The chess Museum is located in the city of chess, and, of course, is devoted to chess. The interior shows everything about this game: in the first hall the exhibits of chess tournaments, most of which was donated to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Elista; in the second room rewards, Souvenirs and personal belongings of Mikhail tal, eighth world chess champion. The Museum will be of interest primarily to fans of chess, but to reach it will have on the city's outskirts.

    Hours: Monday-Friday from 09:00 to 18:00, Saturday from 09:00 to 16:00, Sunday – closed, sometimes closed, even during working hours

    Entrance fee: 25 rubles

    How to get there: the chess Museum is located on the territory of the City district of Chess (the Chess Museum on the map), the entrance to which can be reached by route taxi №7. Next to the Museum will have a little walk.

  • The memorial complex "Exodus and return"

    Мемориальный комплекс

    This memorial and Museum, located in the old carriage, dedicated and talks about the victims of Stalinist repression. A railway carriage for cattle, which now houses the exhibition of the Museum, during the repression were used to transport people in terrible conditions. Watch nothing special here, but a guided tour to visit this place.

    Entrance fee: inspection of the memorial complex is free entrance to the Museum-car – 25 rubles.

    How to get there: located on the outskirts of the city, the street of Khrushchev (memorial on the map)

  • Yashaltinskogo great salt lake

    Yashaltinskogo great salt lake is also called just salt lake. It is about 200 kilometers from Elista to Yashaltinskogo area. The lake's size 8 at 5 kilometers, the depth is small, less than one meter. The lake is very salty, especially in the summer, and mud and brine (salt water), are curative. According to official data, mud lake, recognized by the medical sludge, slabosolenym, saline. Indications for outdoor use are diseases of the nervous and musculoskeletal system, diseases of respiratory organs diseases of digestive organs, diseases of the genitourinary system and the circulatory system. Unfortunately, no infrastructure, including medical, around the lake there, so use it mud possible only on their own what should be done with caution.

    Hours: around the clock

    Entrance fee: free

    How to get there: the lake is 200 kilometers from Elista and 90 kilometers from the city of Salsk (the lake on the map). Given that there's no infrastructure to get here best by car with a tent or motorhome

  • Reserve "Black Earth"

    Заповедник «Черные Земли»

    This reserve steppe, semi-desert and desert landscapes, the Kalmyk population of saiga antelope, and many bird species. Black earth is a steppe desert, formed as a result of human activities, and so now she carefully studied and guarded. You can visit it only as part of a special tour and only with the permission of the reserve that should be obtained in advance. This can be done through the website of the reserve zapovednik-chernyezemli.ru

    Hours: around the clock

    How to get there: the reserve administration is located in the village of Komsomol, you can only get there by own transport.

Sights of Kalmykia on the map

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admin 02 Apr 2017, 12:35
The site presents a travel guide for Kazan:
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Bell 05 Apr 2017, 16:54
Thanks for the info In Kazan going for a long time. Will study and plan ...
Walker 17 may 2017, 17:00
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admin 17 may 2017, 17:25
Kul-Sharif. ...