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The Sayan Mountains (Sayany Region)

The Sayany region, one of the most popular tourist areas in Russia, is a great horseshoe of rugged mountains stretching from the Altai region to Lake Baikal in southern Siberia, just north of the Mongolian border. At its western end, the Sayany is separated from the Altai by the Shapshalskiy chain of mountains, with peaks towering 3,614 meters.

The Sayan mountains are laced with numerous rivers and most of the waterfalls of Siberia are located in this region. Many rivers flow into the Yenisey River which is one of the biggest rivers in the world. The Yenisey River flows from the center of the Asian continent into the Arctic ocean. Most of the rivers in this valley are guarded by woodlands rich in cedar, larch, and birch trees. One can also find wonderful wild berries and mushrooms along the river banks.

The fauna of the Sayany Region is very rich including bears, marals (south Siberian elk), mountain goats, wolverines, and many semi-tamed chipmunks. Among the birds here are ulars, kedrovkas, and hazel hens (grouse). The clean rivers of this region support a healthy fish population, including graylings and taimens, a kind of salmon.

There are almost no mosquitoes or midges along the rivers in summer, so you can enjoy river trips in this region without the maddening distraction of insects. To add to the pleasure of this area, there are numerous hot and cold mineral springs found near the river banks.

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