➤ National museum, Gold of the Scythians
➤ City tour, Center of Asia & source of Yenisey River, museum of Gulag repressions & Buddist datsan
➤Tour to salt lake Dukh-Sole and mineral springs
➤ Tuvan dinner
➤ Hoomey - a throat singing - performance
After breakfast, take a tour to the National Museum which has the richest collection of archaeological finds. In 2001, archaeologists excavated the intact Scythian royal tomb of Arzhan 1. There was not much gold, but a bit later, when Arzhan 2 was found, it turned over all the common ideas of the Scythian civilization's origin. It is now believed to originate here, in Tuva, and to be much older than we thought. Tiny golden beads - leopards and wild boars, deer, horses, panthers and wolves, made in the traditional "animal style," ritual daggers, hryvnia, pectoral, bracelets today are on display now in the Tuvan National Museum.
Take off on Kyzyl city your, allow time for souvenir shopping. There are not many highlights in the city but one of them is truly remarkable for any traveller: the geographical center of Asia. We will also step into the dark pages of Tuvan history, visiting GULAG repressions tiny museum. It is located in the former NKVD building. We will also visit one of Buddhist datsans as Tuva is the centre of Buddist culture in Russia.
It is symbolically located near the confluence of two rivers - Biy-Hem (Big Yenisei) and Kaa-Hem (Small Yenisei). You can notice the difference in the color of the water. This is where mighty Great Yenisey reaches its full power. From here, the river cross Siberia from south to north.
There is a lake in Russia which compares to the Dead Sea in Israel: the salt concentratio here is so high that you can effortlessly lie on the water with the newspaper in your hands. We have not tried wtih iPhones yet though. There is also healing dirt that helps with many diseases. Please note it is prohibited to take the dirt with you. On the way, we will also make a stop to get some healing mineral water from a natural source. Kyzyl is famous for its shamans and healing activity, if you'd like to know more about this option, you may stay for a few days after the tour and visit a local specialist - please inquire now and we will gladly arrange a visit to a special shaman clinic.
Relax and swim in the healing waters before getting ready for a national Tuvan dinner in a yurt camp, with a Tuvan tea ceremony and Hoomey - an amazing throat singing. Throat singing is a fantastic ability of Tuvans (and some other nationalities of Siberia) to produce simultaneously two or three musical sounds of different heights and at the same time pull them for 25-30 seconds without transferring their breath. If you listen, closing your eyes, you can't even believe that a human makes these sounds, and not a musical instrument.
So that life of our guests was light as white milk that spirits of the sky and earth promoted successful permission of all the affairs, we invite you to the Tuva tea ceremony. Chinese merchants brought tea to Tuva, and cattle were given to the merchants for tea: a cow, a three-year-old calf. Tea with milk is one of the most favorite drinks of the Tuvan people. The people said:
"Arga kirgen kizhi saat dainaar,
Aalaga kirgen kizhi ayak eri yzyrar. "
"Whoever enters the forest - that sulfur chews.
Who will enter the aal - that tea drinks. "
From ancient times, tea occupied a special place in the life of nomadic peoples and often had, and still matters not only as a tonic, warming and reinforcing drink, but a full-fledged hearty dish. To do this, flavored herbs, melted butter, Tyva dalgan, etc. are added to the prepared milk tea to taste.
A tea was never just a drink in this land, but rather an expression of the good attitude of a landlord to a guest. The guest who came to the yurt was treated to tea ceremony, offered meals and entertained. You will learn about Tuvan tea-making traditions, try tea with milk and salt, hear tea legends and parables. Together with tea, you feel taste of rich culture of the Tuva people, feel the amazing region of steppes and beatiful landscapes of Tuva.
Later, we will see Tuvan kamlanye, a fascinating show. As we're fast approaching the end of our journey, we will need this new communication with spirits, real magical ritual at fire which is followed by lingering sounds and tambourine beats to make sure the trip goes well. It is pretty rare when we can see a few shamans participating in a kamlaniye at once.
For some of you, the kamlanye will work as a clarification ceremony, but you're welcome just to make a wish – and it will come true. Tuva is very remote and isolated land, it only has one road connecting it to the other parts of Russia. If you happen to return here in 10 or 20 years, you are likely to see the same thousands of flocks of sheep, and the Tuvan shamans celebrating sunrise - not for amuse the visitors but to preserve their own unique worldview and culture, which, for centuries, have supported this very few people on the outskirts of the Russian Empire.