Top things to do

Buddhist Temple in Elista

Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni

The Golden Abode of Buddha Shakyamuni, also called the New Khurul, was built in 2005 in the Tibetan style. The prayer hall sports an 11m-high statue of Buddha and the monk’s robe of the 14th Dalai Lama. Downstairs a…
Russian in Elista

Cafeteria 'Ice'

Traditional no-frills, self-serve cafeteria offering very good and reasonably priced Russian and Kalmyk dishes. The location is in the centre, just off the main intersection of ul Lenina and ul Pushkina. Get in line…
Buddhist Pagoda in Elista

Pagoda of Seven Days

This beautiful, bright-red temple stands on the city's main intersection and is usually the first sign for visitors that Elista is not your typical Russian city. The temple has seven layers, prayer wheels and a foun…
Museum in Elista

National Museum of the Republic of Kalmykia

The modern building of the National Museum, about 2km west of the centre, has eight large rooms covering the history, environment and culture of the Kalmyk people and republic. One room deals with the deportations d…
Folk Arts in Elista

Dzhangariada Festival

The Kalmyk equivalent of the Mongolian Naadam, Dzhangariada is an annual celebration of the Kalmyk epic Dzhangar – a 12-song story about life in the blessed land called Bumba. Held on open steppe outside Elista (the…
Park in Elista

Alley of Heroes

This pleasant park stretches along a narrow ravine in the centre of the city and serves as the main promenade. It also has Elista’s largest concentration of sculptures and Buddhist architecture. The park runs west f…
Kalmyk in Elista


Located inside the 'Ural' cinema and bowling complex, a couple of blocks south of central ul Lenina, Gurman is arguably the best midrange place in town and offers Kalmyk dishes along with Russian and international c…
Pub in Elista


This handy cellar pub, just a short stroll from the main intersection of ul Lenina and ul Pushkina, serves a nice range of Czech and other European beers and has a decent food menu that includes some traditional Kal…
Russian in Elista

Cafe Chipollino

Great spot for coffee or lunch, right on the main intersection of ul Lenina and ul Pushkina. Order at the counter and choose from two daily soups and around half a dozen dishes. Drink your coffee in or take away.
Area in Elista

Chess City

Fans of chess will want to visit a small suburb that Kalmyk leader Kirsan Ilyumzhinov had hoped to make the world's chess capital. There's a nearly abandoned steel-and-glass 'Chess City Hall' here that played host t…