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Kalmykia is one Russia's four regions where most of the population are Buddhists. It is home to the largest Buddhist temple in Europe, the Golden Abode of the Buddha Shakyamuni. The Black Lands biosphere reserve contains up to 1,300 species of birds and animals, of which 29 are endangered. Kalmykia is slightly larger than Switzerland and Belgium. Its flag displays a lotus, which is not just a Buddhist symbol here: in summer, thousands of pink lotuses flower in the south of the region. Special boat tours are organized for people to be able to go and contemplate this phenomenon.More about the region