The Minusinsk Basin, also called the intermontane depression, is located on the border of Khakassia and the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Around the basin rise ridges. Its southern and southwestern borders are framed by the mountain systems of the Western Sayan. The North-Western and Western sides of the basin are “guarded” by the Abakan Range, and to the east is the Vos
exact Sayan. The Minusinsk Basin is open only from the north - the West Siberian Plain is spread out there. The large rivers Abakan, Yenisei, Chulym and Tuba turn the mountain valley into a green and fertile land. Even on the eastern dunes of the basin there is a beautiful pine forest.
Minusinsk hollow is famous for its gardens, founded by the exiled Decembrist of Krasnokutsky. Another Decembrist by the name of Krivtsov in a letter called this region Siberian Italy. Such a flattering name of the basin was not in vain - the nature surrounding Minusinsk is very diverse and rich. The Krasnoyarsk Territory abounds in beautiful clear lakes surrounded by willows and poplars and stormy mountain rivers. Rich flooded meadows alternate with salt marshes and feather grass steppes, and among the mountains hid alpine meadows, fragrant with hundreds of grasses and flowers. Part of the mountains surrounding the basin is covered with wild taiga, which is rich not only in wood, but also in valuable marble.
In addition to scenic spots, Minusinsk Basin is full of history. Even now, archaeologists find in it traces of the most diverse eras, from the Paleolithic to the Middle Ages. A variety of tribes and cultures left "traces" in the form of burial grounds and ancient burial mounds, ruins of cities and settlements, rock art, stone sculptures and figurines of unknown creatures. Scientists were especially interested in stone animal sculptures. These samples of ancient art attracted the first archeologists to Siberia.
Minusinsk district was full of such sculptures. Some figures, carved from granite or sandstone, have the appearance of flat steles, others are high reliefs
three meter height. Particular attention is attracted by a group of steles with animal masks, topped with characteristic headdresses. From this group stands the stele, called "Shirinskaya Baba." It resembles an ancient totem, in the center of which is carved the face of a human beast, framed by an ancient ornament. Under the mask, a grinning face of a wild beast is depicted, and above it you can see a realistic human face. All together is a very harmonious and mysterious composition, the secret of which has not yet been disclosed. Scientists have just begun to unravel the secrets of the ancient stelae. Only in the 1960s did historians establish that practically all Yenisei steles were carved by the tribes of the Okunev culture, which inherited the name of the Okunev ulus, near which excavations took place.
Minusinsk hollow keeps the history of not only local peoples. Passed through the valley and the horde of Genghis Khan, who left a trail of burned castles and ravaged cities. Scientists and remains of ancient paths along which caravans from Central Asia, Arabia, Tibet and China find here. For more than a century, historians and archaeologists have solved riddles and restored the history of this ancient corner of the planet.