The attractive two-storey timber building of the Centre for Tuvan Culture was founded in 2012 by legendary Tuvan musician Kongar-ol Ondar, who was its first director until his untimely death in 2013. The government-funded institution brings together all of Tuva’s ensembles, the amazing National Orchestra, traditional costume-makers, metalworkers and sculptors in a single one-stop shop and makes accessing the extraordinary culture of Tuva much simpler than before.
On the ground floor there’s a 150-seat concert hall, venue for the monthly concert given by one of Tuva’s ensembles and decorated in motifs inspired by the Scythian gold in the National Museum. The basement hosts rehearsal rooms belonging to the different ensembles, and upstairs is the large studio used by the Tuvan National Orchestra – between 10am and 2pm most weekdays, tourists are welcome to sit in on their rehearsal sessions. Just along the corridor is the International Scientific Centre of Khöömei.
The current director, Igor Koshkendey, speaks English and is keen to see more tourists coming to the centre. Through him, his staff and members of the National Orchestra, it’s possible to access any aspect of Tuvan culture, find out about events and even arrange throat-singing lessons.