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Photo: Vjatsheslav Petuchin
Due to its good accessibility for traffic the Tunka Valley became the gate to the Sayan. It got its name from the Tunkinskij mountain chain stretching alongside the valley.
Quite a number of little villages are spread across the area. The soil is very fertile there and valley has long been known for its hot springs and their healing power.
The chain of the Tunkinskij-Golzi Mountains has its southern end at the shores of the Irkut River and its northern end at the river Kitoi. The summits reach a hight of approx. 3000 m. Glaciers left their distinct marks of steep, pyramid shaped mountains and deep valleys where you can still make out the old moraines. Today only few small glaciers are left. Mostly you only find the crystal clear glacial lakes. Above the tree line - from approx. 1700 to 2200 m - the landscape is characterised by widespread grasslands, enormous moss fields and the sometimes very steep and rocky passes.