Welcome to Elista
Prayer drums, red-robed monks, boiled guts and butter tea for lunch… Wait, it’s still Europe! Elista is the capital of Kalmykia (Республика Калмыкия), the continent’s only Buddhist region and a fragment of Mongolia thrown onto the shores of the Caspian Sea. Much of the republic consists of sparsely populated steppe occasionally punctuated by straight or squiggly lines of wooden electricity poles running to the horizon. With its colourful, Tibetan-style khuruls (temples), the otherwise-drab Elista is a good starting point for further exploration of this region.