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Tuva or Tyva (Russian: Республика Тыва [Тува], Respublika Tyva [Tuva]) (pop. 310,300, census 2002) is a constituent republic of Russian Federation, 170,500 km² (65,830 mi², ranked 24th), located in extreme southern Siberia, bordering the Altai Republic on west, Khakassia Republic, Krasnoyarsk Krai and Irkutsk Oblast on north, Buryat Republic on east and Mongolia on south. Kyzyl is the administrative center.



The area is a mountain basin, ca. 600 m (2,000 ft) high, encircled by the Sayan and Tannu-Ola ranges. The eastern part is forested and elevated, and the west is a drier lowland. The area includes the upper course of the Yenisei River. There are numerous glacial lakes.


Tuvans (or Tuvinians), a group of Turkic people, make up about two thirds of the population, and Russians (who live primarily in urban areas) the rest.


Tuva, also known as Tannu Uriankhai, was controlled by the Mongols from the 13th to 18th centuries, then under Manchu rule from 1757 to 1911. During the 1911 revolution in China, tsarist Russia fomented a separatist movement among the Tuvans, whose territory became nominally independent before being made a Russian protectorate in 1914.

The chaos accompanying the Russian Revolution of 1917 allowed the Tuvans to again proclaim their independence. In 1921 the Bolsheviks established a Tuvinian People's Republic, popularly called Tannu Tuva. It was annexed by the USSR in 1944 as an autonomous region and became an autonomous republic in 1961. It was a signatory to the March 31, 1992, treaty that created the Russian Federation.

The Republic of China has never officially recognized the Russian claim and maps made in Taiwan have often included Tuva (along with outer Mongolia) as part of China. This claim, along with the claim to mainland China, has been largely ignored since the early 1990s.


Tuvans are famous for their throat singing. See also: Ezengileer, Kargyraa, Sygyt, Xoomii.

Administrative Division


Tuva Republic consists of the following districts (Russian: районы):

  • Barun-Khemchiksky (Барун-Хемчикский)
  • Bay-Tayginsky (Бай-Тайгинский)
  • Chaa-Kholsky (Чаа-Хольский)
  • Chedi-Kholsky (Чеди-Хольский)
  • Dzun-Khemchiksky (Дзун-Хемчикский)
  • Erzinsky (Эрзинский)
  • Kaa-Khemsky (Каа-Хемский)
  • Kyzylsky (Кызыльский)
  • Mongun-Tayginsky (Монгун-Тайгинский)
  • Ovyursky (Овюрский)
  • Piy-Khemsky (Пий-Хемский)
  • Sut-Kholsky (Сут-Хольский)
  • Tandinsky (Тандинский)
  • Tes-Khemsky (Тес-Хемский)
  • Todzhinsky (Тоджинский)
  • Ulug-Khemsky (Улуг-Хемский)

List of Tuvans


In the 1920s and 1930s, postage stamps from Tuva were issued. Many philatelists, including famous physicist Richard Feynman, have been fascinated with the far-away and obscure land of Tuva because of these stamps .

Tuva was featured prominently in the award-winning documentary Genghis Blues.

See also: Subdivisions of Russia

External Links

  • Genghis Blues official movie site
  • (defunct)
  • Tuva Discussion Group
  • Friends of Tuva website

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Last updated: 02-08-2005 15:52:42
Last updated: 02-27-2005 18:47:33