Sayan Mountains - download topographic map set
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The Sayan Mountains are located in southern Siberia, north-east of Altai and west of Lake Baikal. The area of the Sayans is about 250,000 sq km. The Sayans lie along the border between Russia and Mongolia, near the geographical centre of Asia (the village of Kyzyl, the Republic of Tuva). Sometimes the Altai and the Sayan Mountains are grouped as a single mountain system, the Altai-Sayan system, because they lie very close to each other.
Relief. The Sayans are well known for their full-flowing rivers, beautiful lakes surrounded by impregnable cliffs, primeval forests and taiga, plentifully blooming alpine meadows, river waterfalls and stone rivers called kurums.
Eastern Sayan Mountains. The Eastern Sayans extend as a broad band of mountains north-westward from the head of the Kizir River to the city of Krasnoyarsk. Their continuation is the Solgonsk and Batenevsk Ranges, which continue into Tuva in the south and go beyond its borders. In the north, the mountains become very precipitous and have a lot of ledges close to the Rybinsk Hollow, while in the west the Sayans border on the Minusinsk hollow. This massif is over 500 km long. The Eastern Sayans are characterized by a combination of vast plateaus and subdued and high mountains. Flat water-divide mountains, called belogorye (white mountains), are also common for this massif (they are covered with snow almost all year round). The highest peaks include: Peak Grandiose, 2,922 m and Peak Edelstein, 2,676 m.
Western Sayan Mountains. The West Sayans extend from the head of Abakan River up to the upper Kazyr River north-westward. This massif is over 600 km long. The West Sayans is a heavily dissected mountain plateau with some alpine highlands (the highest summits are Kyzyl-Taiga, 3,121 m, and Karagash City, 2,925 m), dominated by medium-altitude mountains and vast highlands. The central range with heights of 2,200 to 2,800 m is called the Sayan Range. To the north and south, it produces a number of ridges and spurs: the Abakan, Dzhoisk, Dzhebashsk, Borus ridges and other mountain chains. Between the ridges, the Turano-Uyuksk and the Usinsk hollows are situated. On the territory of Tuva, the Western Sayans is joined by the Shopshalsk Range.
Rivers. The rivers of the Sayan Mountains include: the Hangarul, the Yenisei, the Zun-Murin, the Zhombolok and the Oka.
- The Shumak River Valley is a famous sight called the Valley of a Hundred Springs. This place is sure to be included by tourists travelling in the area in their routes;
- The Valley of Volcanoes and Khoitogol springs, located in the Okinsk District;
- The highest peaks of the Eastern Sayans are Mount Munku-Sardyk (3,491 m), the alpine bald peaks Tunkin (3,266 m) and Kitoi (3,215 m).
Climate. The climate of the Sayan Mountains is sharply continental, with long severe winters and warm humid summers. The average temperature in January is -30°C. The average temperature in July is +18°C. The weather is very unstable - frequent storms dangerous for climbers, fog and a lot of rain. The area receives most of its rainfall in summer.