Introducing Khakassia Republic & Southern Krasnoyarsk Territory
The Ireland-sized Khakassia Republic rises from lake-dotted taiga through a vast agricultural plain to meet richly forested mountains on the Tuvan border. Geographically, it is inextricably linked with Southern Krasnoyarsk Territory. For both areas, transport connections focus on on the city of Abakan.
Like culturally similar Altai, Khakassia was a cradle of Siberian civilisation. Standing stones and kurgan (burial mounds) pock the landscape; many are more than 3000 years old, though the most visually impressive date from the Turkic period (6th to 12th centuries). The Khyagas (Yenisey Kyrgyz) Empire, from which the name Khakassia is derived, ruled much of Central Asia and central Siberia from around AD 840 until its golden age ended abruptly with the arrival of Chinggis Khaan and company.
Most Khyagas later migrated to what is now Kyrgyzstan. Those who remained were picked on by neighbours until joining the Russian Empire in 1701. Compared to neighbouring Tuva, Russian colonisation in relatively fertile Khakassia was comprehensive. Outnumbered eight-to-one, the shamanist- Khakass people have been largely Christianised and integrated into Russian society, although the area around Askiz remains something of a Khakass cultural stronghold.