Khakasia is one of the national republics of Russia. The landscape is a bit similar to that of Altai but not so spectacular.

Khakasia’s capital – Abakan – is a pleasant city but notoriously short of places of interest. Travelers can comfortably stay overnight in one of Abakan’s many hotels and during the day make sightseeing raids into the surroundings.

Khakasia was a cradle of Siberian civilization. The main attractions - standing stones and burial mounds (kurgans) are dispersed all around the republic. Some of them are more than 3000 years old. Therefore, a car traveler should allocate a couple of days for driving around Khakasia.

SAlbyk Kurgan - салбыкский курган

Undoubtedly, the most impressive is the so-called Salbyk Kurgan. This Stonehenge-sized ring of standing stones was excavated in 1956. It is located about 60 km north-west of Abakan. It is a huge ancient grave once 11 meters high. Some of the huge stones weigh 50 tons.

Much less known but equally attractive and rarely visited kurgan called Barsoochy Log is hidden in a valley not far from the heavily touristed Salbyk. It is not easy to find as there are no signs and no paved roads.

Askiz - аскиз

A daytrip can be made to the town of Askiz. It is the most Khakas town in Khakasia. However there is little to see except, perhaps, a very sad Lenin.

It should be a long way from this... this.

The main attraction of Askiz in my mind is The Sovietsky hotel exhibiting many artifacts of the glorious Soviet past and having a well-kept carefully mowed garden.

Flags of all 15 former Soviet republics.

The Eifel Tower made of 1500 flower pots.

Upon having a portion of unexpectedly tasty ice-cream in the Sovietsky cafe a traveler can continue to the beautiful and hilly Kazanovka area to bow to the most revered and worshipped standing stone of Khakasia.

The highest concentration of kurgans is found around the village of Safronov in the south of the republic.

Russia’s biggest and the world’s fourth in terms of energy production Sayano-Shushenskaya Dam is located in Khakasia straight south from Abakan about 30 km from the town of Saynogorsk.

Few tourists come to Khakasia. Still fewer ever ventured to travel to its remote corners. I recommend a circular drive Abakan – Kyzyl – Abakan by the road running through rural areas in the western corner of Tuva, where nomadic Tuvans live traditional life in yurts being little affected by modern conveniences, as well as across the remote southern part of Khakasia. The border between the two republics lies right on the top of a scenic mountain pass at 2214 m ASL. This route is still can be considered a relatively off-beaten track.