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.
Elista, the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia, is flooded in vegetation and is a real desert Oasis. The architecture of the city is unique and its appearance is formed by the Seven Days Pagoda cultural complex. Its eastern character is created by the pagoda with large prayer wheels, the Three Lotuses fountain and the golden gates of Altn Boskh. The largest park area in the city, Friendship Park, starts from here. This is a historical place where Elista began.
The Exodus and Return monument by the sculptor E. I. Neizvestny in the east of the city commemorates the deportation of the Kalmyk people to Siberia. Ceremonies are held here every year to commemorate the victims of Stalinist repressions.
Kalmykia is a city where different nationalities and confessions live in harmony: it is graced with the largest Buddhist temple in Europe the Golden Abode of the Buddha Shakyamuni, Christian Orthodox churches and chapels, Buddhist stupas, Roman Catholic churches and the Buddhist complex Geden Sheddub Choy Korling.
The Golden Abode of the Buddha Shakyamuni contains the only Buddhist library in Russia, a museum of the history of Buddhism and, in the prayer hall (dugan), is a 9-meter high statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, the highest in Europe.
The historical and cultural heritage of the Kalmyk people is reflected in Kalmykia's museums, which have collected the most interesting ethnographic and archaeological materials. The main Kalmyk Museum is the Palmov National Museum, founded in 1921.
Ethnographic tourism is widely developed in the Republic. The capital is home to Bumbin Orn, a unique ethnographic village that is a reconstruction of the life of Kalmyk nomads. Priyutnensky District has a tourism and sporting complex, the Kalmyk Cossack Camp, which has recreated the everyday life of Kalmyk Cossacks.
Yashaltinsky District is home to the unique Bolshoe Lake, popularly known as Salt Lake. The late is renowned for its therapeutic mud, which is just as good as the mud in famous resorts around the world.
The region's unofficial brand is the now traditional Environmental Kalmykia Tulip Festival, which gathers thousands of tourists from all around the world every year. It is dedicated to a unique plant listed in the Red Data Book and that grows in Kalmykia, the Gesner tulip (Shrenk).