World Heritage Russian sites of WH

The Uvs Nuur Basin

Uvs Nuur Basin  
Status of Property: State Nature Biosphere Reserve

Area: 0.883 million ha

Situation: Inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2003

Criteria: (ix) (x)

The following organizations took part in preparation of the nomination: Greenpeace Russia, International Academy for Nature Conservation (Vilm Island, Germany), the Natural Heritage Protection Fund, the Ubsunur International Center for Biosphere Research, Geology Institute of Mongolian Academy of Sciences, Geography Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences State Biosphere Nature Reserve


Uvs Nuur Basin  Ariskannig cluster  'View of river Kargy valley and Zagan-Shibetu ridge

Yaks with Mongun-Taiga mountain in the background  Lake Uvs Nuur  'Altan Els cluster


The Ubsunur (Uvs Nuur) - is a large (70x80 km) shallow (up to 15 m) saline lake located between the Tyva Republic (Russia) and Mongolia in the western part of the vast internal drainage intermontane basin.

The transboundary World Heritage Site consists of 12 clusters of total area of 883 000 ha. 7 clusters of 73 529 ha are located in Russia, the other 5 in Mongolia.

Russian clusters are part of the Ubsunur Hollow Biosphere Reserve established in 1993. They are located in different parts of the Ubsunur lake water shed basin and thus differ from each other by their natural conditions. As a whole the Hollow as the peculiar mirror reflects all general landscape types characteristic for the vaster area - the Siberia and Central Asia.

Indeed, here are highlands (up to 3970 m) with perennial snow and small glaciers covered by rock streams, mountain tundra and Alpine meadows; are met mountain taiga massifs; are found forest steppe, steppe and semidesert areas and even small plots of genuine sand desert with almost disvegetated barchans. One of the Reserve's clusters is the bogged northeastern end of the Ubsunur lake. Rocky residual mountains rising in many parts of the hollow, give the area a special picturesque view.

Thus, the Ubsunur presents the rarest case when such contrasting landscapes are met at a relatively small area. Moreover, the sandy deserts of the Ubsunur can be defined as the Eurasia's most northern, and the mountain tundra - as the Eurasia's most southern one.

Another value of the hollow is the extremely high biodiversity level shown in the unique mixture of northern (taiga, Siberian) and more southern (desert, Central Asian) flora and fauna species. Ubsunur is one of the most important biodiversity poles of Eurasia.

Of special importance are several globally rare species, firstly the snow leopard and argali. Fauna list of the Ubsunur Hollow Reserve counts about 80 mammal and over 350 bird species. Of these 8 mammal species and 34 bird species has been inscribed into the Red Book of Russia. The Ubsunur lake with the adjacent bogged meadows and solonchaks attracts a lot of geese, swans, Charadriiformes, herons, cormorants, gulls, terns and other waterfowl and nearwater birds species.

The unique monuments of cultural heritage: ancient burials, rock carvings, stone statues have been found in the Hollow. Concentrating ancient burialmounds and prehistoric rock carvings the "Yamaalyg" cluster (located to the west of Erzin village) is of the highest value from this point of view.