Ubsunur Hollow Is Becoming A Part Of The World Heritage.

Feature story - 2 July, 2003
UNESCO's World Heritage Committee admitted one more Russian nomination - the Ubsunur Hollow (Republic of Tyva), into the World Cultural and Natural Heritage List. This success has resulted from years of a joint effort that Greenpeace, Tyva scientists and federal environmental protection agencies began in the mid-1990's.

Ubsunur Hollow Nature Reserve

The Ubsunur Hollow, an area divided by the Russian-Mongolian border, is one of the most unusual and wonderful places in Central Asia that still retains an inimitable complex of neighboring, closely interrelated and contrasting ecosystems, from taiga forests to deserts. Glaciers, snowfields, mountain tundra of the alpine belt and sub-alpine meadows are gradually replaced by an extensive mountain taiga forests followed by wooded steppe, steppe, semi-desert and even moving sand ridges. All this together creates a natural phenomenon exceptional in its beauty and diversity. It is simply impossible to encounter similarly diverse landscapes elsewhere on our continent.

The hollow lies on a junction of Euro-Siberian and Central Asian flora and fauna complexes, which has determined diversity of flora and fauna species so unusually rich for the temperate latitudes. Here one can encounter such inhabitants of highlands and even tundra as rock ptarmigan, snow cock, irbis or snow leopard; of taiga - red deer, lynx and wolverine; steppe - Mongolian lark, demoiselle crane, long-tailed Siberian souslik; desert - bustard and midday gerbille. There are 359 bird species living in this area. The hollow has given protection to lots of relics long extinct in other places.

Relatively low density of population in this area and no industrial facilities make it possible to preserve the hollow as a natural laboratory to study various biosphere processes. The types of economic activity that has developed here like, for example, distant-pasture cattle rearing, has become an organic part of the landscapes and, with certain restrictions, do not interfere with current natural processes.

The value of the territory is not only in the uniqueness of the nature of the Ubsunur Hollow. The cultural sites including lots of still unexplored archeological monuments located here are also of great importance. There is no other place in Central Asia where concentration of burial mounds is as high as here (rough estimates say there are over 20,000 of them), most of them being older than Egyptian pyramids. Thousands of cave paintings and stone sculptures, remains of medieval settlements and Buddhist chapels form a unique natural and cultural landscape.

People here still preserve age-old traditions of living in harmony with the nature, they preserve the ancient nomad culture and the world famous Tuvinian art of throat singing.