Abakan, the capital city of the Republic of Khakassia, is located 270 kilometers to the south of Krasnoyarsk, in the mouth of the Abakan River.
Greenery takes up one third of Abakan. Make sure you visit Dream Gardens Topiary Art Park – thanks to unique “cropping” technique invented by Vasily Antropov, the mind behind the park, plants can take a dazzling variety of shapes. A 14-meter replica of the Eiffel Tower sits in the center of the Gardens.
Town of Antiquities
Khakassia Regional History Museum has a unique collection of over 20,000 interesting archeological artifacts. Visitors can marvel at ancient petroglyphs (images and texts chiseled in stone slabs), ritual masks, neolithic stone statues dating 5,000 years back, ornaments made of carved bone, etc.
Town of Shamans
Although Abakan has several Christian churches and census listed most citizens as Orthodox, Shamanism, Khakassia’s traditional religion, is still very popular. Modern street festivals in Abakan include colorful exorcism rituals performed by “professional” shamans.
Valley of Power
Salbyk Valley, or Valley of Kings, known for its burial mounds and megaliths (structures made of giant rocks) is situated 60-70 kilometers from Abakan. 56 barrows within “round dances” of menhirs can be seen in the valley measuring about 5 square km.
The valley is dominated by the centrally located Great Salbyk Barrow which used to be 30 meters tall. Close to the barrow are Salbyk Gates, a magnetic anomaly area; according to local superstitions, touching the gates will boost one’s vitality.
Several salt and fresh water lakes in the town’s vicinity have given the region its moniker of ‘Siberian Switzerland’. Water from Tus, Bele, Shira and Shunet lakes has medicinal properties, so people from various regions of Russia come to the spa resorts built on their shores.