If you take a map of the world, cut out Asia and balance the continent on a pin, the centre of gravity would be Kyzyl. Well, only if you’ve used the utterly obscure Gall’s stereographic projection. However, that doesn’t stop the city from perpetuating the ‘Centre of Asia’ idea first posited by a mysterious 19th-century English eccentric and now marked with a monument standing in the middle of a manicured park that looks at the confluence of the two Yeniseys.
The creator of the monument, Buryat sculptor Dashi Namdakov, whose Chinggis (Genghis) Khaan sculpture stands near London's Marble Arch, drove inspiration from the Skythian gold finds, now housed at the Tuvan National Museum. The equestrian monument depicts a Skythian prince and his Amazon-like wife, who were put to rest with all their gold in a burial mound north of Kyzyl.