22-Jun-2008 – In Kyzyl, the capital of the autonomous republic of Tuva, there lies what the Tuvans claim to be the "Centre of Asia". On the occasion of a long planned trip to visit the old Circumbaikal railway at Lake Baikal we also planned to visit this Centre of Asia. Our trip to Kyzyl began in Irkutsk, from where we took an overnight train to Krasnoyarsk. We arrived in Krasnoyarsk in the afternoon of the next day. Here we had to change trains and continued with train no. 658, leaving 17:10 and arriving in Abakan at 6:00 next morning. The railroad ends in Abakan, so we had to look for further transport by road. This was not difficult to find as a number of taxis are waiting for guests in the front of the railroad station. We hired a taxi with driver for 2,000 Roubles[*] to go to Kyzyl and back. So we left the train station in Abakan at around 7:00 in the morning with destination Kyzyl. Behind Abakan the road first leads through some flat plains before reaching the gorgeous Sayan mountain range. We passed the mountains and after a total of around 6 hours driving we reached the city limits of Kyzyl. It took us another 20 minutes into town and to the monument marking the Centre of Asia. The monument stands in a small park at the river banks of Yenisei river. The coordinates of the monument are 51 degrees and 43.495 minutes North and 94 degrees and 26.616 minutes East.
After looking around a little bit in Kyzyl we were trying to find some accommodation for the night. We had not reserved anything so just went up to some hotels and asked, however they were all fully booked. After searching a bit longer we found a travel agency that helped us to arrange an overnight stay in a Yurt place, some 20km outside of Kyzyl. We were picked up by the friendly owner of the place. Those yurts were beautifully situated besides Yenisei river in a fantastic steppe landscape. That evening we enjoyed a fascinating Tuvan throat-singer concert making this visit an unforgettable experience.
Comment to the question of how was this "Centre of Asia" calculated? Here are four different methods of how to calculate the centre of an irregular shape such as the continent of Asia:
1) Rectangle-based: imagine a rectangle fitted around the continent of Asia, in other words the centre is the middle between the extremes of latitude and longitude of continent Asia.
2) Circle-based (inside): the centre of the continent is the centre of the largest circle that can fit INSIDE continent Asia (furthest Point from the coastline of the continent Asia).
3) Circle-based (outside): the centre of the continent is the centre of a circle that encloses (i.e. OUTSIDE) continent Asia.
4) Centre of Gravity Method, using the centre of gravity of the continent Asia.
Regarding the calculation method of this monument in Kyzyl there was unfortunately no information available on which of the four methods was used[**].
Coordinator's Note: [*] About $80 for 750 km.
[**] Seems as a method 2). The circle centred on Kyzyl lies inside Asia and touches Arctic ocean at Kara sea coast, Pacific ocean at Yellow sea coast and Europe at Ural mountain ridge. The radius is equal to 2278 km.
There are few article concerning this monument, for instance, in English and