Sayan Mountains

The Sayan Mountains (Russian: Саяны Sajany; Mongolian: Соёны нуруу, Soyonï nurû; Kogmen Mountains during the period of the Göktürks[1]) are a mountain range in southern Siberia, Russia (the Tyva Republic specifically) and northern Mongolia. In the past, it served as the border between Mongolia and Russia.[2]

The Sayan Mountains' towering peaks and cool lakes southwest of Tuva give rise to the tributaries that merge to become one of Siberia's major rivers, the Yenisei River, which flows north over 2000 miles to the Arctic Ocean. This is a protected and isolated area, having been kept closed by the Soviet Union since 1944.[3]

Sayan Mountains
View of Mönkh Saridag, highest peak in the Sayan Mountains
Highest point
PeakMönkh Saridag
Elevation3,492 m (11,457 ft)
Coordinates51°43′08″N 100°36′53″E / 51.71889°N 100.61472°ECoordinates: 51°43′08″N 100°36′53″E / 51.71889°N 100.61472°E
Altay-Sayan map en
Western Sayan Ergaki 2004 Gornyh Duhov Lake
Lake of mountain spirits
Western Sayan, Ergaki mountains


The Hanging Rock, Western Sayan, Ergaki mountains

The Eastern Sayan extends 1,000 km (621 mi) from the Yenisei River at 92° E to the southwest end of Lake Baikal at 106° E. The Western Sayan forms the eastern continuation of the Altay Mountains,[4] stretching for 500 km (311 mi) from 89° E to the middle of the Eastern Sayan at 96° E.

While the general elevation is 2000 to 2,700 m (8,858 ft), granites and metamorphic slates reach altitudes of over 3,000 m (9,843 ft), with the highest being Mönkh Saridag at 3,492 m (11,457 ft). The principal mountain passes lie 1800 to 2,300 m (7,546 ft) above the sea,[4] for example Muztagh pass at 2,280 m (7,480 ft), Mongol pass at 1,980 m (6,496 ft), Tenghyz pass at 2,280 m (7,480 ft) and Obo-sarym pass at 1,860 m (6,102 ft).

At 92°E the system (the Western Sayan) is pierced by the Ulug-Khem (Russian: Улуг-Хем) or Upper Yenisei River, and at 106°, at its eastern extremity, it terminates above the depression of the Selenga-Orkhon Valley. From the Mongolian plateau the ascent is on the whole gentle, but from the plains of Siberia it is much steeper, despite the fact that the range is masked by a broad belt of subsidiary ranges of an Alpine character, e.g. the Usinsk, Oya, Tunka and Kitoi ranges.

Between the breach of the Yenisei and Lake Khövsgöl at 100° 30' E. the system bears also the name of Yerghik-taiga. The flora is on the whole poor, although the higher regions carry good forests of larch, pine, juniper, birch, and alder, with rhododendrons and species of Berberis and Ribes. Lichens and mosses clothe many of the boulders that are scattered over the upper slopes.[4]

The Ice Age Period

Daily Rest (6232014997)
Sayan Mountains in August

In this area that currently shows only small cirque glaciers, at glacial times glaciers have flowed down from the 3492 m high Munku Sardyk massif situated west of Lake Baikal and from the 12.100 km² extended completely glaciated granite-gneiss plateau (2300 m asl) of the East-Sayan mountains as well as the east-connected 2600 – 3110 m-high summits in the Tunkinskaya Dolina valley, joining to a c. 30 km-wide parent glacier. Its glacier tongue that flowed down to the east, to Lake Baikal, came to an end at 500 m asl (51°48’28.98"N/103°0’29.86"E). The Khamar Daban mountains were covered by a large-scale ice cap filling up the valley relief. From its valley heads, e.g. the upper Slujanka valley (51°32’N/103°37’E), but also through parallel valleys like the Snirsdaja valley, outlet glaciers flowed to the north to Lake Baikal. The Snirsdaja-valley-outlet glacier has calved, among other outlet glaciers, at c. 400 m asl into Lake Baikal (51°27’N/104°51’E). The glacial (Würm ice age = Last Glacial Period = MIS 2) glacier snowline (ELA) as altitude limit between glacier feeding area and ablation zone has run in these mountains between 1450 and 1250 m asl. This corresponds to a snowline depression of 1500 m against the current height of the snowline. Under the condition of a comparable precipitation ratio there might result from this a glacial depression of the average annual temperature of 7.5 to 9 °C for the Last Ice Age against today.[5][6]

Origins of reindeer husbandry

Осенний лес в горах Восточных Саян, Бурятия, Россия
Autumn forest in the Eastern Sayan Mountains, Buryatia, Russia.

According to Sev’yan I. Vainshtein Sayan reindeer herding, as historically practiced by the Evenks, is "the oldest form of reindeer herding and is associated with the earliest domestication of the reindeer by the Samoyedic taiga population of the Sayan Mountains at the turn of the first millenium A.D. (...) The Sayan region was apparently the origin of the economic and cultural complex of reindeer hunters-herdsmen that we now see among the various Evenki groups and the peoples of the Sayan area.

The ancestors of modern Evenki groups inhabited areas adjacent to the Sayan Mountains, and it is highly likely that they took part in the process of reindeer domestication along with the Samoyedic population."[7] The local indigenous groups that have retained their traditional lifestyle nowadays live almost exclusively in the area of the Eastern Sayan mountains.[8] However, the local reindeer herding communities were greatly affected by russification and sovietization, with many Evenks losing their traditional lifestyle and groups like the Mator and Kamas peoples being assimilated altogether.[9]

According to Juha Janhunen, and other linguists, the homeland of the Uralic languages is located in South-Central Siberia in the Sayan Mountains region.[10][11]


The Sayan Solar Observatory is located in these mountains (51°37′18″N 100°55′07″E / 51.62167°N 100.91861°E) at an altitude of 2,000 meters.[12]

See also


  1. ^ Bartold, V. V. (1935) 12 Vorlesungen uber die Geschichte der Turken Mittelasiens Deutsche Gesellschaft für Islamkunde, Berlin, p. 46, OCLC 3673071
  2. ^ "Sayan Mountains". Retrieved 2006-12-25.
  3. ^ "Tuva and Sayan Mountains". Geographic Bureau - Siberia and Pacific. Archived from the original on 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2006-10-26.
  4. ^ a b c Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Sayan Mountains" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 24 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 276.
  5. ^ Grosswald, M. G.; Kuhle, M. (1994):Impact of Glaciations on Lake Baikal. International Project on Paleolimnology and Late Cenozoic Climate No. 8. (Eds: Shoji Horie; Kazuhiro Toyoda (IPPCCE)) Universitätsverlag Wagner, Innsbruck, 48–60.
  6. ^ Kuhle, M. (2004):The High Glacial (Last Ice Age and LGM) glacier cover in High- and Central Asia. Accompanying text to the mapwork in hand with detailed references to the literature of the underlying empirical investigations. Ehlers, J., Gibbard, P. L. (Eds.). Extent and Chronology of Glaciations, Vol. 3 (Latin America, Asia, Africa, Australia, Antarctica). Amsterdam, Elsevier B.V., pp. 175-199.
  7. ^ "Evenki Reindeer Herding: A History", Cultural Survival, retrieved 30 December 2014
  8. ^ Vainshtein, Sev’yan I. (1971), "The Problem of the Origins of Reindeer Herding in Eurasia, Part II: The Role of the Sayan Center in the Diffusion of Reindeer Herding in Eurasia", Sovetskaya Etnografiya, 5: 37–52
  9. ^ Forsyth, James. (1991), The Siberian native peoples before and after the Russian conquest, pp. 69–91
  10. ^ Proto-Uralic—what, where, and when? Juha JANHUNEN (Helsinki) - The Quasquicentennial of the Finno-Ugrian Society 2009
  11. ^ Dziebel, German. "On the Homeland of the Uralic Language Family". Retrieved 2019-03-21.
  12. ^ "Sayan Solar Observatory". Institute of Solar-Terrestrial Physics, Russian Academy of Sciences - Siberian branch. Retrieved 2016-12-03.

External links

Acossus terebra

Acossus terebra is a species of moth of the family Cossidae. It is found in Eurasia, including Israel, Turkey, northern Spain, central and southern Europe, southern Sweden, Finland, the Baltic region, Ukraine, the central part of European Russia, the Caucasus, southern Siberia (including the Altai and Sayan Mountains) to southern Yakutia, the southern part of the Russian Far East, Korea, Heilongjiang, Jilin and inner Mongolia.The wingspan is 55–64 mm. Adults are on wing from June to August.

The larvae feed on Populus tremula.

Baikal Mountains

The Baikal Mountains or Baikal Range (Russian: Байкальский хребет, Bajkaljskij hrebet; Buryat: Байгалай дабаан, Baigalai dabaan) rise steeply over the northwestern shore of Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, Russia. The Central Siberian Plateau is bounded on the south by the Eastern Sayan Mountains and the Baikal Mountains.

The Baikal Mountains are the origin of the Lena River. The mountains around Lake Baikal are densely wooded with Grey Alder, Eurasian Aspen, Downy Birch, Siberian Larch, Siberian Fir, Scots Pine, and Siberian Spruce.Its highest peak is the Chersky Mountain (2,572 m) named after the Polish explorer, Jan Czerski.

Kamassian language

Kamassian is an extinct Samoyedic language, included by convention in the Southern group together with Mator and Selkup (although this does not constitute an actual subfamily). It had two dialects: Kamassian (also known as Kamas) and Koibal. The last native speaker of the Kamassian dialect, Klavdiya Plotnikova, died in 1989. Kamassian was spoken in Russia, north of the Sayan Mountains, by Kamasins.

The term Koibal is also used as the ethnonym for the Kamas people who shifted to the Turkic Khakas language; the modern Koibal people are mixed Samoyed–Khakas–Yeniseian.

Kan River

The Kan (Russian Кан) river is a 629-kilometre (391 mi) long tributary of the Yenisei River in Siberia, Russia. It drains a basin of 36,900 square kilometres (14,200 sq mi).

The headwaters of the river rise in the Sayan Mountains and flow from there in a northerly direction through Kansk and then in a westerly direction through Zelenogorsk, entering Yenisei at Ust-Kan, 69 kilometres (43 mi) north-east of Krasnoyarsk).

Kitoy range

The Kitoy Range (Russian: Китойские гольцы) is a mountain range in Siberia, Russia, part of the Eastern Sayan Mountains.

Length: 180 km

Highest summit: 3215 m

Rivers: Kitoy River and other tributaries of the Angara River.

List of butterflies of Russia

This is a list of butterflies of Russia. About 540 species are known from Russia. The butterflies (mostly diurnal) and moths (mostly nocturnal) together make up the taxonomic order Lepidoptera.

The history of lepidopterology in Russia is connected with the organization of the first Russian museum The Kunstkamera established by Peter the Great in 1714. In 1717, he purchased the collection of Albert Seba, a merchant from Amsterdam, for the new museum. In 1832 the Zoological Museum of the Imperial Academy of Sciences was separated as a distinct institution which in 1931 became the Zoological Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences (since 1991 — Russian Academy of Sciences).

In 1859, the then director of the Zoological Museum, Johann Friedrich von Brandt was one of the founders of the Russian Entomological Society in 1859 and in St. Petersburg . Other founders were Karl Ernst von Baer, Ya. A. Kushakevich, Colonel Alexander Karlovich Manderstern, Alexander von Middendorff and Colonel of General Staff Victor Ivanovitsch Motschulsky. Another society founder was Ferdinand Morawitz. Eduard Brandt and Ferdinand Morawitz. Also important was the Moscow Society of Naturalists and increasingly the Russian Academy of Sciences and The Academy of Sciences of the USSR. From the mid-nineteenth century the main zoogeographic focus was on the Caucasus, Siberia and the Russian Far East. At the end of the nineteenth century the German entomologist Otto Staudinger financed collectors in the Far East of Russia. In the early twentieth century the results of all these endeavours were summarised in Die Gross-Schmetterlinge der Erde edited by Adalbert Seitz.

From 1925 lepidopterology was organised by The Academy of Sciences of the USSR and lists titled USSR or SSR. In 1991 The Academy of Sciences of the USSR became once again the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Notable Russian lepidopterists include Peter Simon Pallas, Johann Friedrich von Eschscholtz, Édouard Ménétries, Johann von Böber, Hugo Theodor Christoph, Alexander Yakhontov, Alexander von Nordmann, Vasily Evgrafovich Yakovlev, Victor Motschulsky, Sergei Alphéraky, Otto Vasilievich Bremer, Grigory Grumm-Grzhimaylo, Alexei Fedchenko, Nicholas Mikhailovich, Nikolay Grigoryevich Erschoff, Nikolai Yakovlevich Kuznetsov, Grigory Bey-Bienko and Yuri Korshunov.

Butterflies of Russia

List of lakes of Mongolia

The lakes in Mongolia are distributed unevenly across the country. Many, including some of the largest, can be found in the Great Lakes Depression between the Altai, Khangai and Tannu-Ola mountain ranges in the west. A second group can be found in mountain valleys throughout the country. Lake Khövsgöl in a rift valley south of the Russian Sayan Mountains has the largest volume because of its great depth. The remaining lakes found in the steppe areas and in the Gobi desert are usually smaller and shallow.

The total area of the lakes is 16,003 km². The 83.7% of the total lakes number are the small lakes with surface area less than 0.1 km² (5.6% of the total area). There are 3,060 lakes with surface area 0.1 km² and more.

Mator language

Mator or Motor was a Uralic language belonging to the group of Samoyedic languages, extinct since the 1840s. It was spoken in the northern region of the Sayan Mountains in Siberia, close to the Mongolian north border. The speakers of Mator lived in a wide area from the eastern parts of the Minusinsk District (okrug) along the Yenisei River to the region of Lake Baikal. Three dialects of Mator were recorded: Mator proper as well as Taygi and Karagas (occasionally portrayed as separate languages, but their differences are few).

Today the term "Mator people" is simply an alternate name of the Koibal, one of the five territorial sub-division groups of the Khakas. (Note that the name "Koibal" likewise derives from the related Samoyedic Koibal language.)

Mator has been frequently grouped together with Selkup and Kamassian as "South Samoyedic". This is however a grouping by geographical area, and not considered to constitute an actual sub-branch of the Samoyedic languages.

Mönkh Saridag

Mönkh Saridag (also spelled as Munku-Sardyk; Mongolian: Мөнх сарьдаг, lit. "eternal aiguille") is the highest mountain in the Sayan Mountains of Asia. It is 3,491 metres (11,453 ft) tall and is on the international border between Mongolia and Russia. It is also the highest mountain in Buryatia and the highest mountain in Mongolia's Khövsgöl Province. On the southern side, the tree line is at 2000 meters, on the northern side at 2200 meters.

Osiris blue

The Osiris blue (Cupido osiris) is a butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found in South Europe, Asia Minor, southern Siberia, the Alay Mountains, Tian-Shan, Dzhungarsky Alatau, the Altai Region, the Sayan mountains, Lake Baikal and Mongolia. It is often confused with the small blue, a closely related species.

The larvae feed on Onobrychis and Leguminosae species.

Perizoma hydrata

Perizoma hydrata is a species of moth of the family Geometridae. It is found from most of Europe and the Caucasus through western Siberia to the Sayan Mountains and Altai and northern Mongolia.

The wingspan is 18–22 mm. There is one generation per year with adults on wing from the end of May to July.

The larvae feed on Caryophyllaceae species, Silene nutans, Silene cucubalus, Silene viscaria and Melandrium album. They feed on the capsules. The larvae can be found from June to July. It overwinters as a pupa.

Rusina ferruginea

The Brown Rustic (Rusina ferruginea) is a species of moth of the Noctuidae family. It is found in Europe. then East across the Palearctic to the Sayan Mountains in Central Asia.

The wingspan is 32–40 mm. The ground colour of the forewings is dark brown. A series of small white marks run along the costa. The stigmata are not well defined. The antemedian line runs obliquely from the costa and is darker than the ground colour. The postmedian line is fine and also darker than ground colour. The subterminal line is dark and irregular. The hindwings are yellow brown, with darker veins and a small discal spot.

The moth flies from June to July depending on the location.

The larvae feed on various herbaceous plants, including Rumex species.


Sayan may refer to:

Sayan (name)

Sayan Mountains, a mountain range in Siberia, Asia

Sayan, India

Sayan, Bali, a village in Indonesia

Sayan, Iran, a village in Hamadan Province, Iran

Sayán District, Peru

Sayán, city in Peru

Sayany-Khakassia, a Russian bandy club

Sayan Plak, a Turkish record label in the 1960s

Sayana, 14th century Indian commentator on the Vedas

Sayan, a bad Brawlhalla player

Sayan Alpine meadows and tundra

The Sayan Alpine meadows and tundra ecoregion (WWF ID:PA1016) is an ecoregion that covers the high areas of the Sayan mountains above the treeline, between the Altai Mountains in the west and Lake Baikal in the east. The area is remote and protects diverse species of alpine flora and fauna. It has an area of 846,149 square kilometres (326,700 sq mi).

Sayano-Shushenski Nature Reserve

Sayano-Shushenski Nature Reserve (Russian: Саяно-Шушенский заповедник) (also Sayano-Shushensky) is a Russian 'zapovednik' (strict ecological reserve) reserve in a remote area of the West Sayan Mountains of south Siberia. It is on the southern bank of the Yenisei River along the Sayano-Shushenskoye reservoir. The reserve thus protects a large section of the wooded, mountainous territory above the reservoir created by the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam, the largest power plant in Russia. Both the reserve and the dam were established 1976, and a major purpose of the reserve besides conservation is the study of the ecological effects of a large reservoir on the local ecology. The reserve covers an area of 390,368 ha (1,507.22 sq mi). It is situated in the Shushensky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai.

Shushensky Bor National Park

Shushensky Bor National Park (Russian: (национальный парк «Шушенский бор»)) ("Sushenshky Forest") consists of two representative forests in the extreme southwest of Siberia, in the northern foothills of the Western Sayan Mountains. The northern section is forest-steppe in character, while the southern section is mountain conifer forest. The southern section is bordered on two sides by the Yenisei river reservoir behind the Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam, the largest hydroelectric dam in Russia. The forest has both high biodiversity value and recreational value for hikers and tourists. It is located in the Shushensky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai.

Stolby Nature Sanctuary

Stolby Nature Reserve (Russian:запове́дник «Столбы́»), (in English, "The Pillars") is a Russian strict nature reserve located 10 km south of the city of Krasnoyarsk, on the northwestern spurs of the Eastern Sayan Mountains. The site is known for its dramatic complexes of rocks; 3.5% of the reserve is open to hikers seeking to visit and climb the rocks. Over 200,000 visitors per year are recorded. The park was founded in 1925 by citizens the picturesque Syenite Buttes and surrounding rocky landscape. The area of nature reserve is 47,219 hectares. Stolby has been nominated to be on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Tunkinsky National Park

Tunkinsky National Park (Russian: Тункинский) (also called Tunka National Park) is a national park located in south central Siberia, covers a mountainous region centered on the Irkut River valley (also referred to as the Tunka Valley) that continues from the rift valley of Lake Baikal southwest to the border of Mongolia. To the north and west of the valley is the eastern edge of the Sayan Mountains. To the east are the lower Chamar-Daban mountains. About 1,183,662 hectares (2,924,893 acres; 11,837 km2; 4,570 sq mi) in size, the park occupies the entirety of the Tunkinsky District of the Republic of Buryatia. It is about 200 km southwest of the city of Irkutsk.

Xestia lorezi

Xestia lorezi is a moth of the Noctuidae family. It is found in northern Europe and the Alps. Subspecies lorezi is found in the Alps on altitudes between 1,700 and 2,500 meters. Subspecies kongsvoldensis is found in Fennoscandia and northern Russia. Outside of Europe, there are four more subspecies, ssp. sajana in the Sayan Mountains, ssp. katuna in the Altai mountains, ssp. monotona in Yakutia and ssp. ogilviana in Yukon and Alaska.

The wingspan of ssp. lorezi is 38–41 mm. Subspecies kongsvoldensis has a wingspan of 33–37 mm. Adults are on wing from the end of June to August in one generation.

The larvae feed on various low-growing plants.


This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.