If you were to take the entire continent of Asia and balance it on a pinhead, you would have to put the pin at a place called Kyzyl in Russia — at least, that’s what being the geographic center is supposed to mean. Not everybody agrees though, especially the Chinese who claim that the real geographic center is located near Ürümqi, in Xinjiang province. But because its incredibly hard to find the exact geographic center of a landmass as expansive as Asia, nobody has challenged either claim.
The city of Kyzyl is located at the confluence of the rivers Great Yenisei (Bii Khem) and Little Yenisei (Kaa Khem), in Tuva Republic, Russia, approximately 3,700 kilometers to the east of Moscow. Despite its fame, Kyzyl is barely accessible. There are no direct flights from Moscow and no connection with the Trans Siberian railroad. The nearest major city is 400 kilometers away.
The Center of Asia Monument in Kyzyl. Photo credit: www.gidkyzyl.com
The Centre of Asia Monument is located in the Tos-Bulak area south of the city, on the bank of the Yenisey River, where the Great and Litle Yenisey Rivers join into the Great Yenisey. The original monument was built in 1964. In 2014, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of unification of Tuva and Russia, a new monument was erected in its place. The monument is represented by an ensemble of three lions that hold a globe surmounted by a spire.
Photo credit: visittuva.ru
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the unification of Kyzyl and Tuva and Russia, this sculptural ensemble called "Royal Hunt" was unveiled near the monument. Photo credit: www.tuva.asia
The old monument. Photo credit: nesiditsa.ru
The other geographic center is located 700 km to the south, in a town called Yongfeng, in China, about 30 km away from the city of Ürümqi. A grand monument was erected on this place in 1992. A tower stands 18 meters high and is supported by four posts oriented along the four cardinal directions. From every side, the monument appears in the shape of “A”, referring to the English word “ Asia”. There is a stylized globe on the top of the tower, and a pendulum in the shape of heart hangs from the center, pointing to the geographic center.
Before the completion of the monument, the site was marked by a wooden pole stating "Geographic Center of Asia". In order to construct the monument, the village that was originally situated on the land was relocated a kilometer away. The new village is now known as the "Heart of Asia".
The Geographic Center of Asia Monument in Yongfeng. Photo credit: songyimao/Panoramio
Photo credit: Carl Parker/Panoramio
Photo credit: Panoramio
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