Khakassia is one of the few regions that has preserved its original culture; it is a wonderful land with mystical places. Khakassia covers an area slightly smaller than Latvia. The Khakassia Nature Reserve is home to all of the Republic's natural monuments: steppe disappearing into the horizon, clear lakes and thick cedar forests. The mysterious Tuimsky Proval (a man-made crater) that has a lake at its bottom with turquoise-colored water; the Siberian Stonehenge—Sunduki mountain ridge; ancient menhirs and ethno-settlements are the best places for people looking for mysteries and adventures.
People come to recuperate and to rest at the Lake Shira resort, which opened at the end of the 19th century. Khakassia's lakes, some of which contain therapeutic properties, are not only popular with local people, but also attract people from neighboring regions. Khakassia has about 500 lakes. The most popular are lakes Belyo and Shira. Lake Tus is of particular interest; its waters are almost as salty as the Dead Sea's. The banks of the lakes are home to camps, where visitors can stay in comfortable huts or in tents.
Ivanovsky Lakes, in Kuznetsk Alatau, is one of the most popular places to visit. It consists of five clear mountain lakes, whose water remains icy even in summer. They are 1,100 to 1,236 meters above sea level. The lakes are surrounded by primitive nature, bright colors of Alpine lakes, snow fields that don't melt even in summer, mountain streams and waterfalls that flow from the upper lakes.
For devotees of outdoor sports, the republic is home to the Gladenkaya ski resort, which is well-known outside Khakassia. Gladenkaya can compete with similar slopes in Russia and has the facilities to host all types of skiing competitions.
As well as lakes and outdoor activities, visitors are attracted by Khakassia's unique cultural and historical heritage. The republic is home to more than 30,000 cultural and historical monuments. To protect its cultural and historical heritage, the Republic of Khakassia has created a Commission for UNESCO.
The highlight of the republic is its open-air museums. Khakassia has 10 of them. The first open-air museum was the Kazanovka Museum-Reserve established in 1996. One of the most visited and popular museums is Khurtuyakh Tas. The Great Salbyk Kurgan is also very popular; this is the burial place of a great leader of antiquity and is part of Tagar archaeological culture. Almost all of the monuments contain rock carvings, also known as petroglyphs. Many of them are found on the Suleksky, Boyarsky, and Maloarbatsky petroglyphs, as well as at Oglakhty.
Fans of educational tourism will want to visit the Khakassia Nature Reserve. This complex on Lake Itkul contains a rare combination of almost all of Khakassia's steppe plant communities. Several endemic species and species listed in the Red Data Book of the Russian Federation can be found here. The reserve provides tours for visitors in summer, including cycle excursion routes.
Oglakhty, on the banks of the Krasnoyarsk Reservoir, is home to an abundance of archaeological monuments. It contains the largest collection of petroglyphs in Khakassia, thousands of preserved ancient images, carved and drawn using mineral paint on rock outcrops of beautiful reddish sandstone and has been given the status of a monument of federal importance.
You can experience Khakassia's best national traditions at festivals dedicated to significant events and to different periods of human history. One of these celebrations is Tun-Payram—a celebration of the first Ayran (a fermented milk drink). Visitors come to the festival to try Khakassia's national dishes. Meat and fish dishes and milk products—a real celebration for food-lovers. At Tun-Payram you can enjoy the captivating sounds of the Chatkhan musical instrument and listen to legends told by storytellers (khaidzhi).