Sayan Mountains
The Sayan Mountains are a mountain range
Mountain range
A mountain range is a single, large mass consisting of a succession of mountains or narrowly spaced mountain ridges, with or without peaks, closely related in position, direction, formation, and age; a component part of a mountain system or of a mountain chain...

 between northwestern Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 and southern Siberia
Siberia is an extensive region constituting almost all of Northern Asia. Comprising the central and eastern portion of the Russian Federation, it was part of the Soviet Union from its beginning, as its predecessor states, the Tsardom of Russia and the Russian Empire, conquered it during the 16th...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...


The Eastern Sayan extends 1000 km (621 mi) from the Yenisei River
Yenisei River
Yenisei , also written as Yenisey, is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean...

 at 92° E to the southwest end of Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal
Lake Baikal is the world's oldest at 30 million years old and deepest lake with an average depth of 744.4 metres.Located in the south of the Russian region of Siberia, between Irkutsk Oblast to the northwest and the Buryat Republic to the southeast, it is the most voluminous freshwater lake in the...

 at 106° E. The Western Sayan forms the eastern continuation of the Altay Mountains
Altay Mountains
The Altai Mountains are a mountain range in East-Central Asia, where Russia, China, Mongolia and Kazakhstan come together, and where the rivers Irtysh and Ob have their sources. The Altai Mountains are known as the original locus of the speakers of Turkic as well as other members of the proposed...

, stretching for 500 km (311 mi) from 89° E to the middle of the Eastern Sayan at 96° E.
The Sayan Mountains' towering peaks and cool lakes southwest of Tuva
The Tyva Republic , or Tuva , is a federal subject of Russia . It lies in the geographical center of Asia, in southern Siberia. The republic borders with the Altai Republic, the Republic of Khakassia, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Irkutsk Oblast, and the Republic of Buryatia in Russia and with Mongolia to the...

 give rise to the tributaries that merge to become one of Siberia's major rivers, the Yenisei River
Yenisei River
Yenisei , also written as Yenisey, is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean...

, which flows north over 2000 miles to the Arctic Ocean
Arctic Ocean
The Arctic Ocean, located in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceanic divisions...

. This is a protected and isolated area, having been kept closed by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 since 1944.


While the general elevation is 2000 to 2700 m (8,858 ft), granite
Granite is a common and widely occurring type of intrusive, felsic, igneous rock. Granite usually has a medium- to coarse-grained texture. Occasionally some individual crystals are larger than the groundmass, in which case the texture is known as porphyritic. A granitic rock with a porphyritic...

s and metamorphic slate
Slate is a fine-grained, foliated, homogeneous metamorphic rock derived from an original shale-type sedimentary rock composed of clay or volcanic ash through low-grade regional metamorphism. The result is a foliated rock in which the foliation may not correspond to the original sedimentary layering...

s reach altitudes of over 3000 m (9,843 ft), with the highest being Mönkh Saridag at 3492 m (11,457 ft). The principal mountain pass
Mountain pass
A mountain pass is a route through a mountain range or over a ridge. If following the lowest possible route, a pass is locally the highest point on that route...

es lie 1800 to 2300 m (7,546 ft) above the sea, for example Muztagh pass at 2280 m (7,480 ft), Mongol pass at 1980 m (6,496 ft), Tenghyz pass at 2280 m (7,480 ft) and Obo-sarym pass at 1860 m (6,102 ft).

At 92°E the system (the Western Sayan) is pierced by the Ulug-Khem or Upper Yenisei River
Yenisei River
Yenisei , also written as Yenisey, is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean...

, and at 106°, at its eastern extremity, it terminates above the depression of the Selenga
The Selenge is a major river in Mongolia and Buryatia, Russia. Its source rivers are the Ider River and the Delgermörön river. It flows into Lake Baikal and has a length of 616 miles...

-Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley
Orkhon Valley Cultural Landscape sprawls along the banks of the Orkhon River in Central Mongolia, some 360 km west from the capital Ulaanbaatar. It was inscribed by UNESCO in the World Heritage List as representing evolution of nomadic pastoral traditions spanning more than two millennia...

. From the Mongolian plateau
Mongolian Plateau
The Mongolian Plateau is part of the larger Central Asian Plateau and has an area of approximately 2,600,000 square kilometres. It is occupied by Mongolia in the north and Inner Mongolia in the south. The plateau includes the Gobi Desert as well as dry steppe regions...

 the ascent is on the whole gentle, but from the plains of Siberia it is much steeper, despite the fact that the range is masked by a broad belt of subsidiary ranges of an Alpine character, e.g. the Usinsk, Oya, Tunka
Tunka range
The Tunka range is a part of the Eastern Sayan.Coordinates: 52°N 101°E - 52°N 103°ELength:180 kmHighest summit: 3156 mRivers: Irkut and other tributaries of Angara River-Russian:...

  and Kitoi
Kitoi range
The Kitoy Range is a part of the Eastern Sayan.Length:180 kmHighest summit: 3215 mRivers: Kitoy and other tributaries of Angara River...


Between the breach of the Yenisei and Lake Khövsgöl at 100° 30' E. the system bears also the name of Yerghik-taiga. The flora is on the whole poor, although the higher regions carry good forests of larch
Larches are conifers in the genus Larix, in the family Pinaceae. Growing from 15 to 50m tall, they are native to much of the cooler temperate northern hemisphere, on lowlands in the north and high on mountains further south...

, pine
Pines are trees in the genus Pinus ,in the family Pinaceae. They make up the monotypic subfamily Pinoideae. There are about 115 species of pine, although different authorities accept between 105 and 125 species.-Etymology:...

, juniper
Junipers are coniferous plants in the genus Juniperus of the cypress family Cupressaceae. Depending on taxonomic viewpoint, there are between 50-67 species of juniper, widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere, from the Arctic, south to tropical Africa in the Old World, and to the...

, birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

, and alder
Alder is the common name of a genus of flowering plants belonging to the birch family . The genus comprises about 30 species of monoecious trees and shrubs, few reaching large size, distributed throughout the North Temperate Zone and in the Americas along the Andes southwards to...

, with rhododendron
Rhododendron is a genus of over 1 000 species of woody plants in the heath family, most with showy flowers...

s and species of Berberis
Berberis , the barberries or pepperidge bushes, is a genus of about 450-500 species of deciduous and evergreen shrubs from 1-5 m tall with thorny shoots, native to the temperate and subtropical regions of Europe, Asia, Africa, North America and South America. They are closely related to the genus...

and Ribes
Ribes is a genus of about 150 species of flowering plants native throughout the temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is usually treated as the only genus in the family Grossulariaceae. Seven subgenera are recognized....

. Lichens and mosses clothe many of the boulders that are scattered over the upper slopes.

See also

  • Geography of South-Central Siberia
    Geography of South-Central Siberia
    This article covers the region of Siberia west of Lake Baikal and north of the Altai Mountains. It is intended totie together a number of articles that are hard to understand in isolation....

  • Mana River
    Mana River
    Mana is a river in the Krasnoyarsk Krai making a confluence with the Yenisey River in 16 km from the Krasnoyarsk city. It is the second largest river in the Krasnoyarsk neighborhood after Yenisey....

  • Abakan River
    Abakan River
    The Abakan , the Khakas word for 'bear's blood', is a river in the Republic of Khakassia, Russia formed by the confluence of the Bolshoy Abakan and Maly Abakan Rivers. It rises in the western Sayan Mountains and flows northeast through the Minusinsk Depression to the Yenisei River...

  • Minusinsk Depression
  • Tuva Depression
    Tuva Depression
    Tuva Depression is located among mountains of South Central Siberia — Tannu-Ola Mountains, Eastern Sayans and Western Sayans, and the Altay Mountains region, part of a combination of raised lands and depressions....

External links

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