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The Pearl of Russian Steppe
Elista is the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia. The Republic is populated by representatives of the oriental race, who confess Buddhism. They came to these lands about 400 years ago and brought with them traditions that had originated from Indian, Nepali, Mongolian, and Tibetan heritage.
The name “Elista” originates from the Kalmyk word “elst”, meaning “sandy”. The city is located among the Kalmyk Steppe, it`s in 2-hour flight from Moscow, and in 3-hour drive from Astrakhan.
short city information
Temperate and dry
104 thousand people
HOW TO GET
2 hours by plane from Moscow
The Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, the Golden Gate, Chess City
types of tourism
Complicated Past of the Nation
Who Are the Kalmyks?
To visit Kalmykia and not to get acquainted with Kalmyk culture and history is unwise, therefore we offer tourists to visit the National Museum of Kalmykia Republic in Elista. There visitors will learn about the Kalmyk way of life in different periods, resettlements, joining to the Russian Empire, the history of Kalmyk Buddhism, the local nature and art, etc.
In order to understand the taste of Kalmyk culture, tourists can try Jomba, a national Kalmyk tea with milk, salt, pepper, and butter.
Mighty Magical Power
The Stupa of Enlightenment
THE CENTRAL BUDDHIST TEMPLE IN RUSSIA
The Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni
The main touristic attraction of Elista is “The Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni”, the central Buddhist cathedral in Russia, opened in 2005. Sculptures, scattered throughout the territory of the temple, deserve special attention: tourists can see gilded figures of Buddhist saints sitting on a pedestal in 17 pagodas. When going inside, tourists can`t take their eyes off of the tallest in Europe statue of Buddha (9 meters). The walls are decorated with skillful painting, representing the stories of Buddhist culture.
The temple proudly keeps the full monastic dress of the Dalai Lama XIV, who honoured the Republic with a visit 3 times. Tourists can also visit the Museum of the History of Buddhist Culture, located on the first level of the temple, and learn more about features of this religion.
For Chess Lovers
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Itineraries of Central Russia
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