Nature of the area (flora and fauna)

Nature of the area (flora and fauna)

The area of Kuragino is the largest one in the South of the Krasnoyarsk territory. It covers 25,073 square km. The area borders with the Sayansky, Partisansky, Mansky, and Balakhtinsky areas in the North, the Idrinsky area in the West, the Minusinsky and Karatuzsky areas and the Republic of Tyva in the South, and the Irkutsk region in the East.

The area of Kuragino stretches for 400 km from West to East. Taiga covers two thirds of the area. The capital of the area - Kuragino - is situated 341 km from Krasnoyarsk. The area has a very unique geographical position. The forest-steppe of the North-Eastern part in the Minusinsk pit is changed by the sub-taiga zone of the pre-Sayan mountainous area and then by the mountainous taiga of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. Close to the border of the Republic of Tyva there is the zone of the Western Sayan Mountains.

While traveling in the area one can find himself either in the dry vast steppe zone of the village of Kochergino or the village of Shalobolino, or in the birch and aspen stand of the village of Kuragino and the village of Beryozovskoye with the deep ravines rich of the herbage. To the North, in the village of Bolshaya Irba, there develops the mixed woods. And then, behind the Burlukskaya Hill, in the place of Kordov and Ust-Kaspa, one can see the dark-green coniferous forests. The mountainous ridges are more vividly seen to the East from the village of Koshurnikovo. In the mountain zone the sub-Alpine and Alpine meadows are transformed into mountainous tundra, rocky scatterings, unmelted snow "tongues", and glaciers.

The great diversity of the landscape attracts a lot of travelers from different parts of the country to Kuragino. There are wonderful places for fishing and hunting, rafting on the mountain rivers, picking mushrooms, wild berries, herbs and roots, lying in the sun on the sandy and rocky riversides, or visiting caves and mountain climbing.

р. Туба

The area of Kuragino has a wide river network. All the large rivers start in the mountainous zone and they are like typical mountain rivers: fast, full of water, and with a lot of rapids. The Tuba, Kazyr, Kizir, Amyl, and Sisim are the largest rivers. The river of Tuba is formed when the Kazyr River and the Amyl River join together.

The Kazyr River starts in the Tofalyaria of the Irkutsk region in the Northern slope of the Taskin hill. The picturesque but dangerous rapids such as the Gulyaevsky, Bazybaisky, Verkhnetatsky, Shcheki, Ubinsky, and Tabratsky rapids are well-known among those who are fond of rafting. The length of the Kazyr up to the place of its junction with the Tuba is 300 km.

The Kizir is the largest tributary of the Kazyr. It also starts in the Sayan mountains , in the ridges of Red Wall not far from the Kazyr. The Kizir has long been known to scientists and sportsmen. Its difficult rapids and its magnificent boreal beauty would strike everybody.

The Sisim is a mountainous river running through the coniferous woods. It starts in the Western slopes of the Maisky mountains. It is very picturesque, rapid and attractive for rafting. The river basin is populated poorly and that is why the river is ecologically clean and rich of fish.

The area of Kuragino is rich in lakes situated in the mountainous taiga zone. The largest of them are placed between the Kazyr and the Kizir. These are the Tibercul, Tagasuk, Mozharskoye, Semionovskoye, Varlaama, and others. Some of them were originated from glaciers, others have a tectonic origin. The lakes are deep, clean, and cold, but by July most of them are becoming warm and suitable for swimming.

Озеро Тиберкуль

Many nameless lakes are found in the river basins. There are plenty of them in the Shush, Kizir, and Kazyr Rivers. The system of Thirty Lakes was formed as a result of landslides creating artificial dams. All these lakes are connected with each other. High in the mountains there are rather many lakes formed during the thawing period when the rocky depressions were filled with clean melted water.

There are two wonderful waterfalls in the area of Kuragino: the Kinzeluksky, which is more than 300 m, and the Shindinsky, which is of two layers, and the height of which is about 30 m. There are many unique formations such as caves. Among the very famous ones are the Dzhebskaya Cave and the Lysanskaya Cave. Both of them are situated in the Sisim-Kizyr place of the Eastern Sayan mountains.

Чинжебский водопад

The Dzhebskaya Cave is situated in the upper part of the Osinovy Spring valley at a distance of 2 km above the mouth of Dzheba, which is a tributary of Kizyr. The cave starts as a deep well of 14 m depth where one can go down only with the help of ropes. Its bottom is covered with ice and it is from here where one can go down to the grotto along the south-western slope. On the arch of the cave there are outgrowths, stalactites and stalagmites. At depth of 70 m the cave is ended with the prolonged grotto blocked up with rocks.

The Lysanskaya cave is situated in the thick coniferous wood. The nearest village, Chibizhek, is situated 30 km from the cave. One can visit the cave only in winter because the cave is the channel of the underground river. The water level in this river is the lowest only in winter. At the entrance there is a triangular grotto which is 5 m high and 4 m of wide. From this place one has to go 40 m along the dark hole of the pipe to the marked place. Then one has to get to the island by a pneumatic boat and 30 m more along the dry bottom and then upstream on the river with width of 1,5-5 m. The waterway of 300 m is very difficult to cover. In the main gallery which is parallel to the existing channel one can find places with white stalactite formations and small picturesque lakes. The upper part of the cave is 700 m long and has many blocked and narrowed parts impeding doing studies of the cave.

In the Eastern Sayan Mountains the zone of the ridge of Kryzhin with its main peak, Grandiozhny, is of great interest for the travelers: it has a huge cut off cone crowned with an icy cap. Sharp rocky ledges going around the peak look like piled ice-hummocks. The southern shoulder like a hanging wall breaks down to Kizyr. The peak towers above the whole mountainous system are at height of 300-400 m. Grandiozny is the highest place on the map of the Krasnoyarsk territory, with its height being 2,922 m.

Вид на гору Москва

Taiga in the Sayan Mountains zone is contrasting. In Kinzelyuk the nature is wild, gloomy, and there are a lot of windfallen trees, but the valley of Kazyr is spacious and light. The gloomy cedar forest is followed by the knotty larches and light birches, vast valleys of wild strawberries, currant bushes, honeysuckle, and raspberries. Along the banks of the Kizyr the taiga is green with dominating birches and aspen, and with dark-green spots of firs and cedar. In the Siberian mountainous taiga there are a lot of medical herbs: herbal tea, rhododendron, and others. Among the herbs to be used for eating there are wild garlic, sorrel, fern, mushrooms, and cedar nuts.

In the forest-steppe zone one can see a great diversity of plants. In boggy places one can find bilberry and cowberry. In the mountainous taiga the air is clean and healthy. Hunters, scientists and travelers point out that one would never fall ill with flu or sore throat when in taiga, and the taiga men never complain of a running nose, cough or weakness even under bad weather conditions: when sleeping on the snowy wet ground, when overcooled, or working in the wind.

The fauna diversity of the area of Kuragino could be explained by the peculiarities in weather conditions. It is the habitat for many species of mammals, fish, and insects, and there are more than 100 species of birds. The predators are considered to be a special group. Bear is the largest one, inhabiting the coniferous zone of the area (70% of the place). Wolf can be found in the forest-steppe zone on the right bank of Kazyr. Foxes inhabit the forest-steppe zone and the sub-taiga zone of the area. Wolverine and snowy leopard are strong and adroit animals, and they are in the taiga zone, as well as lynx looking like a big cat. There are smaller predators like sable, otter, badger, and mink. In the area there are 2 species of mammals which are in the Red Data Book of Russia: elk (500-600 kg) and the Siberian Deer ( to 300 kg). One can see also a roe deer and a musk deer.

Rodents inhabit the whole area except the high mountains. The most valuable of them are squirrel, chipmunk, and muskrat.

There are more than 300 species of birds: eagle, kite, falcon, cuckoo, woodpecker, martin, swallow, waxwing, nutcracker, eagle owl, black grouse, wood grouse, and others.

In the area there are more than 10 species of marketable fish. The rivers of Kizyr, Kazyr, and Tuba, the Tiberkul Lake, and the Tagasuk Lake are the habitat for these species of fish.

All the natural resources are good signs for tourism, hunting, and fishing.

At present there are restored and developed such crafts as pottery and coopery, wood carving, wood working, forgery, lacquer painting, and others in the area.

But the area is famous not only for the natural resources and recreational zones. According to the data of the History and Culture Monuments Protection Committee there are 21 monuments protected by the state in the area of Kuragino. Besides, there are 180 monuments of regional importance, 35 of local importance, and 6 memorial boards which commemorate the famous local people.

One should note the following things:
- Shalobolinskaya Pisanitsa - cave paintings dated back to the 6th century, situated 3km from the village of Ilyinka on the right bank of the Tuba. In the paintings there were depicted all the life sides of the ancient people and the main activities for that period of time.

The natural, historical, architectural sights in the area of Kuragino could charm every person. We would like to hope you would get interested in the place and we`d like to invite you to visit the area of Kuragino!


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