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Kyzyl - The Center of Asia
Kok-Ool's Musical-Dramatick Theater
Shaman dancing near Kyzyl

Kyzyl (Tuvan and ) is a city, and is the capital of the Tuva Republicmarker, Russiamarker. The name of the city means "red" in Tuvan (as well as in many other Turkic languages). Population: 105,931 (2004 est.); 104,105 (2002 Census). Kyzyl is served by Kyzyl Airportmarker.


Kyzyl claims to be located exactly in the geographical center of Asia (coordinates ). Whether these coordinates are in fact the center of Asia is disputed. However, there is a monument labelled "Centre of Asia" in English, Russian, and Tuvan which asserts this claim. Tos-Bulak is the area of open fields and mineral springs which lies immediately south of Kyzyl.

Kyzyl is located where the Yenisei Rivermarker meets the Little Yenisey River to form the Upper Yenisey. Most development is south of the river and follow the curves of the river, with the highest development centered where the two headstreams of the Yenisei, the Bolshoi Yenisei and the Malyy Yenisei, meet. A monument was built in 1964 on the river bank to mark this.

Buildings of cultural and political importance in Kyzyl include the Tuvan Parliament building, the National Theater, and a Khoomei center (officially, the International Scientific Center "Khoomei") dedicated to studying and teaching khoomei, Tuvan throatsinging.


Kyzyl was founded in 1914 as Belotsarsk ( ). In 1918, the town was renamed Khem-Beldyr ( ), and in 1926—Kyzyl.

In the late 1980s, Kyzyl was visited by Ralph Leighton, who had made it a quest to reach Tuva with his friend, the Nobel prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman. Though Feynman died before they reached Tuva, the journey is chronicled in the book Tuva or Bust!.

The film Genghis Blues chronicles the pilgrimage of a blind blues performer, Paul Pena, who learned Tuvan throat singing by listening to his shortwave radio, to compete in the Tuvan throat singing competition.

In September 2004 Kyzyl celebrated its 90th anniversary as a city and the 60th anniversary of Tuva joining the Soviet Unionmarker.


The city primarily provides motor transport services. Manufacturing plants include brickyards, sawmills, furniture manufacturing, and food-processing plants.

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