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Absorbed the power and beaty of Sayans

Author:  Bobkov .
Source:  Conservation of natural and cultural heritage of Baikal. - Moskow-Ulan-Ude, 2010. - .60-61.

Beneficial waters of restless Kyngerga that runs across the territory of Tunkinsky National Park, are used by people since long ago. For how long do people live at the Tunkinsky land, for so long they use the aqua vitae of Arshan located at the bottom of 33 tops of Sayan mountains - majestic and forbidding, surrounded with inimitable magnetic aura, gorgeous at any hour of day and any season. Therefore, most likely, lamas did consider that the legendary Shambala is located in Eastern Sayans but not in Tibet. They went away to mountains and lived in caves. They summoned with supernatural powers. But among mortals nobody knew which top they chose to acquire the desired nirvana.

It was log ago, almost four centuries passed. The hunter wounded the elk and followed the bloody-stained snow. He went long, and the blood drops showed the way. And than the hunter reached the animal and saw: the wounded leg and shot-broken horns are in water. The hunter watched and marveled - the horns slowly growing. And the wound isn't bleeding. He sat and stared as bewitched. For a long time the hunter stared. The darkness already covered the forest and mysterious spring. The skies are full with stars already. The hunter decided to overnight. The made the fire. But the water where the elk washed the horns and healed the wound wasn't good for tea. And how the legend narrates since then the healing spring became famous.

According to the legend the first Arshan citizen was certain Shpak. Where he came from nobody's know now. He lived with his family here. Once, the bear attacked the horse, and Shpak began to recapture it. The bear killed Shpak. His wife and kids left. Again the site on Kyngerga shore depopulated. But people already knew about the aqua vitae near the bottom of Sayans.

This place is actively making habitable since early 19th century. The hunters and millers inhabited it. Area is free and un-trammeled for hunting, boundless. And waters of Kyngerga happily turned the millstones and grinded the grains well. The hunter Roman Serebrennikov made a house a bit away from Kyngerga and, as the old-timers said, he began behave oddly. He hollowed the coffin of a log, dug the grave for himself. Roman lived a long life, and once died the place he lived in was named Romanovka.

On August 19, 1894 the Koymorsky camp missioner Chistokhin reported at the Tomsk University Scientific Council meeting the following: "In the area of Koymorsky non-Russian council in the Tinkinsky non-Russian agency of Irkutsk province  found a mineral sour-soda chalybeate spring. This water will bring obvious benefit for a suffering person, on what I'm proud to report to the expert attention of the Tomsk Emperor University. If it happens to be on mission scientifically aimed somebody from its members, will it be liked to pick up the instruments to make analysis in place.

This spring could show..." (Minute-book No. 8, volume 9 «Proceedings of the Tomsk University» for 1896). In the second part of the century the fame on the healing power of the water from the spring at the bottom of Sayan mountains spread out far away out the Tnukinsky valley. Here came for healing both the inhabitants of the adjacent villages and the citizens of Irkutsk. Little-by-little the cottages were begun to be constructed in Arshan, where the Irkutsk citizens were having rest and healing.

In his article "Mineral waters of Arshan" published in 1897 E. De-Hening-Michaelis wrote: "Above the entrances of both springs there are primitive pavilions, while the outcomes of the springs are drawned-out with wooden cylinders. The mineral water coming from the cylinder's floor and emitting the trickle of gas reminded me of the boiling water. People draw water with their own dishware. Locals took water with birch-bark containers for koumiss or tarasun, which then carry away to their booths, as well as drink it from the spring in abundance..."

In the end of 19th century there were 52 yards in Arshan, and around forty summer cottages where the Irkutsk citizens were having rest and healing. The rapid development of Arshan started in May 1920 after liberation of the Tunkinsky valley from White Cossacks and Kolchak army. The Irkutsk Province Department for Health began the preparations at the resort for reception of the wounded Red Guards. In the report of the resort-sanatorium section of the medicinal-hospital sub-division of Irkutsk Province Department we could read: "...in 1920 season 44 buildings that previously were the property of the clergy, Cossacks and Irkutsk citizens were assigned with the Province Department for Health. 320 persons came for recreation and healing». And the resolution on establishment of boundaries of district and protection of Arshan resort was made in 1921. The same report of Irkutsk Province Department for Health reads: "The boundary of district, protection is established in one verst (milestone) south from Arshan and continues in approximately same distance from go-lets foot towards the east for four versts, towards the west for 10 versts up to deep of Barun Khandagay river, and towards the north up to watershed ridge, where all rivers are having their source within the stated limits".

The resort continued to expand and by 1922 the bath building is constructed, and in 1925 - two dormitories. In a year the hydropower station was built at the Kyngerga river. It was low-powerful and provided light for only Arshan resort building. The diner building was erected. The number of visitors has increased. Since 1936 the resort has farm, established on the base of agricultural artel "Red October" with 17 ha of plough-land.

The destructive flood of summer 1965 demolished the greenhouse, garden with all plantations and even fertile humus soil layer.

Mountains, clearest air of pine woods, richness in sun, comparatively mild climate and beautiful landscape of the locality make Arshan a unique site for recreation and therapy. There are 12 waterfalls at only river Kyngerga, what in Buryat means "tambourine". The first waterfall of up to 15 meters height is located not far from the resort park. The river don't freeze the year round.

Water, running on granite, marble and sand rocks generates beautiful rainbow patterns - from white, blue to rose-red. If stay on this river shore in winter - it's possible to see dipper. Thus small bird has other name - water sparrow. Even in Epiphany frosts dipper with big excitement dives to the river floor, where it search for food.

The fans of tours could climb any of the mountain tops, from where the breathtaking look at the magical Tunkinsky valley is available. Over 20 extinct volcanoes are around Arshan. Now they are as usual short hills covered with forests. BTW, according to scientists the healing waters of Arshan have also volcanic origin, being more specific, carbonic acid water originated as a result of post-volcanic processes is escapes at the crossing of two fault fissures, one of which is following the mountains foot, while other is in parallel with Kyngerga river.

Nowadays in one and a half kilometers from Arshan village the Arshan datzan is located in a picturesque locality with the Sayan mountains as a background. The village has the Russian orthodox Peter and Paul's church. There are two museums: local history museum of Arshan secondary school and private museum of nature. And more than 40 boarding houses and houses

for varatinn and therary arp are near.



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