Birds, lakes and shamans in south Siberian Hakasija

South Siberian Republic Hakasija in Russia is famous for its reservations, Siberian apricots, lakes and shamanism. On lake-reservation Itkulj in Hakasija visitors come to see birds, search steppe flora and old pictograms, or as eco-volunteers.

Lake Itkulj is situated in steppe zone Hakaska´s reservation and it represents real heaven for bird lovers, but except cranes, grey hawks and eagles, it is possible to watch all rich biodiversity of steppe vegetation, and rear plants which are already dying. Trip from Abakan, capital of Republic Hakasija, leads to vast hill steppes of south Siberia. After the rise on one altitude an unexpected view opens on lake Itkulj. Lake is only a part of Hakasko lake, and other parts are spread on all territory of republic and cover different natural zones: steppe, forest-steppe area and mountain taiga.

Close to lake Itkulj there is mountain range Sunduk, specially popular among archaeologist and those who are interested in shamanism. On the mountains with unusually flat relief many pictograms are found-old drawings on rocks. Local shamans still go to this place during the important astronomical features because they think that in old times natural observatories were there and that the holes in rocks helped to determinate right year period  and days specially suitable for harvest and sowing.

In Sunduk is possible to come for one day trekking. Mountain range has eight peaks from where there is magnificent view to green steppes which spread to whole horizon. It is possible to climb up even though if you are not specially physically prepared.

At the bottom of Tuimska abyss there is ake in colour of emeralds. Since 1954 it was tungsten mining here, but careless engineer suggested to make entrance a bit larger not in depth )which was reliable ) but in height. During that the entrance has swopped, and later on earthquakes made it even bigger. Thanks to men effort and natural forces, huge valley was created with picturesque natural walls and lake emerald colour at the bottom. On the highest part of shaft the equipment for bungee jumps is based and the one who has a courage can experience free fall from 100 m.

Five kilometres of fresh water Itkulj is situated on salt lake Šira. Only a part of this lake is on zone of reservation, while in other parts tourist complexes are situated, settlements and spas Žemčužni. Its visitors can expect comfort accommodation and bathing in healing water of salty lake, as well as phytotherapy created by one shaman woman from this area: the visitor  enters the barrel of cedar, and then the steam is left inside with the smells of steppe plants and flowers. From the same plants healing cosmetic is also made.

In camp where many guards live, what is the only resident part on lake Itkulj, the centre for tourist visits is open. It is a building with one whole wall in windows, where you can for hours look at the lake as well as at the life around it. This watch tower also function as a museum.

In protected zone there are walking and cycle paths of different length and hardness. There are also different paths for bird watch and plants. On open places along lake coast many watch towers were made. It is possible to hire a bike, and arrange lake tour of excursion to nearby places. Visit of reservation is usually organized as one day excursion. The excursion can also be organized in reservation.

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