Uvs Nuur - An Impressive Heritage Site

Uvs Nuur is formed by two important parts, namely the Uvs Nuur Lake and the Uvs Nuur Basin. Together they form a natural World Heritage Site that was listed by the UNESCO in 2001. It is also the largest World Heritage Site that has ever been listed. The Uvs Nuur Lake is the biggest lake to be found in Mongolia.

Uvs Nuur Lake is a 3 350 square kilometer lake that is situated 753 meters above sea level, and falls within the Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation. Ulaangom is the biggest settlement of the lake that has very shallow saline water, and it is believed that this area is the remainder of a massive saline sea that covered this area thousands of years ago.

The Uvs Nuur Basin is a 700 000 square kilometer area, and the Uvs Nuur Lake is situated right in the middle. The surrounding landscapes are painted with beautiful natural steppe, the best preserved steppe area in the entire Eurasia. Excluding the Uvs Nuur Lake, the Uvs Nuur Basin has many smaller lakes, for example the Ureg Nuur Lake at 1 450 meters above sea level, which are generally found in the north of the Uvs Nuur Basin and inland seas of Central Asia. These smaller lakes and the Uvs Nuur Lake assist with the conservation of many endangered bird species such as the waterfowl, sea birds and many migratory birds that are attracted by the saline water.

The Uvs Nuur Basin is the geoclimatic boundary between Central Asia and Siberia. The entire basin is divided into twelve protected regions that are the most important biomes of the whole eastern Eurasia. Temperatures in the basin vary from minus 58 degrees Celsius in the winter months to a much warmer 47 degees Celsius in the months of summer. Although this is an extremely harsh climate, the Uvs Nuur Basin is still inhabited by approximately 173 bird species and 41 mammal species, which includes the endangered Asiatic fox and the snow leopard, which have adjusted to these conditions. Bird populations are supported by the steppe ecosystem, whereas the marbled polecats, jerboas and gerbils find shelter in the desert region.

The Uvs Nuur is vital to the conservation of animals and the preservation of its natural vegetation, and also provides unforgettable scenic views and perfect photographic opportunities to its visitors.


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