Introduction to Khövsgöl Province (Хөвсгөл аймаг) of Mongolia
Khövsgöl Province of Mongolia
Main Lakes, Rivers and Waterways of Khövsgöl Province - General Introduction:
The main body of water in Khövsgöl Province is the large fresh water lake of Khövsgöl Nuur which thus has lend its name to the entire Province. Situated not too far north of the Provincial Capital of Mörön (Мөрөн) and surrounded on the west, north and east side by high mountains, the Lake is the main tourist travel destination within the Province and traditionally also a crucial communications and stop-over point within the northern half of the Province.
The other internationally and historically famous Lake in Khövsgöl Province is the Dood Tsagaan Lake which lies on the Darkhan Valley which is on the west side of the Continental Watershed line curving its way through the north of Khövsgöl Province. Fed by various local springs and more notably the Shishged (also Shishhid) River which itself is one of the ultimate water sources of the Yenisei River, the Dood Tsagaan Lake lies in historically disputed regions which before a land swap in the year 1925 were actually part of the neighboring Tuva (Mongolian) Republic, today a part of the Russian Federation.
As an illustration, even today the existence of the Shishged River is not as such recognized in Russia, where the Shishged River and its Dood Tsagaan Nuur are named as being part of the "Little Yenisei River".
The signifance of the Lakes location on the west side of the continental watershed is that the water in the Shishged River flow mostly from south to north, and ultimately in north-western direction which is way from Mongolian territory. The Water from the Shishged River thus passes through Dood Tsagaan Nuur from where it heads to the north and crosses over the border into the Tuvy Republic. Ultimately it passes via the Yenisei River up to the Arctic Ocean.
Unfortunately, this Dood Tsagaan Lake has suffered significantly of climatic change and has dwindled in size. Among things, its no longer easily visible on satellite images.
Surrounding the Lake is the Khovsgol Lake National Park.
Two important towns are situated on the Lake Shore. On the southern tip of the Lake one may find the town of Khatgal (also Alag Erdene). On the eastern side of the northern tip of the Lake one may find the town of Turt (also Turta). Both town are now permanent settlements but originally these towns originated as well-known encampment locations of the nomadic peoples living near the Lake or for those traveling along the "International Route" or caravan trail that led from the south up along the Lake and then northward into what today are parts of the Russian Federation.
DOOD TSAGAAN LAKE:
The Dood Tsagaan (Доод Цагаан нуур ; literally "lower white lake") or also Blue-White Lake is (originally) a large Lake clustered together with a few other, more minor, Lakes and several streams. It is situated due west of KHövsgöl Lake in the Darkhad Valley in between of Tsagaannuur Sum and Renchinlkhümbe Sum (Рэнчинлхүмбэ сум ; ᠷᠢᠨᠴᠢᠨᡀᠦ᠋ᠩᠪᠦᠰᠤᠮᠤ) at an elevation of 1660 meters.
Drained by the Shishged River, it is traditionally an important waterbody in the north-west of Khövsgöl Province.
Officially, the Lake is registered to have a surface area of 64 km² and measure 18 kilometers in length with a maximum width of 7 kilometers.
However, fast dwindling over the recent decade, the Dood Tsagaan now often partilaly falls dry, dividing it into three segments. The three remaining smaller Lakes have been Targan, Dund, and Kharmai lakes. Reportedly, today the Targan lake is a mere 3,5 meters deep, the Dund Nuur 5 meters and Kharmai Nuur 15 meters.
The other lakes traditionally found nearby along the streams feeding into Dood Tsgaan Lake are situated to the south-east of Dood Tsagaan Nuur, Tsgaan Morit Lake, Burgast Lake and Khorkhoit Lake. The area is reachable via the Renchinlkhümbe to TsagaanNuur Road which passes south of the three lakes and along the southern tip of Dood Tsgaan Lake. The Sum Center of TsagaanNuur Sum is situated along the west shore of Dood Tsagaan Lake.
Full Map of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and adjoining territories, including 8 Provinces of China.
some 300 kilometers in Length.
(The Eg River Basin covers some 40 thousand 450 square kilometers and the Uur River Basin covers some 12 thousand 300 square kilometers.)
The combination of both river as Eg-Uur measures another 200 kilometers in length, altogether taken from the source of the Eg River down to its termination point creating the longest stream and continuous river flow in the Province.
Starting in the mountainous terrain in the north of the Province the Eg River and later Eg-Uur River flows southward over a distance of some 674 kilometers, ultimately terminating as tributary into the Selenge River. Via the Selenge River, the water of the Eg River eventually travels northward again to end up in the Baikal Lake in the Russian Federation.
Along its path the Eg River passes as a smaller stream from Mankhan in Alag-Erdene Sum
(Алаг-Эрдэнэ сум ; ᠠᠯᠠᠭᠡᠷᠳᠡᠨᠢᠰᠤᠮᠤ) into Tünel Sum (Түнэл сум ; ᠲᠦᠨᠡᠯᠰᠤᠮᠤ) where it becomes the full Eg River. urther flowing in a north eastern direction it passes through Erdenebulgan Sum (Эрдэнэбулган сум ; ᠡᠷᠳᠡᠨᠢᠪᠤᠯᠠᠭᠠᠨᠰᠤᠮᠤ) to its Sum Capital of Eg Uur (also Erdenebulgan). Some distance East of Eg Uur Town (Erdenebulgan) the Eg Uur is joined by the Dzerlik Gol creating a famous scenery and landscape.
Apart from the Provincial Capital of Moron which for many forms the (National) gateway to the wider Province, the Khovsgol Lake and its scenery are the main tourist destination and attraction in the Province. Traditionally, a visit to Khovsgol Lake also ranks high in the top 10 of most coveted travel destination in all of Mongolia.
The Khovsgol Lake is (by volume) the largest fresh water lake in the Nation and its surrounding mountain ranges provide a pristine and now highly protected habitat for species not found elsewhere. With its unique biosphere, recognized by UNESCO as world cultural (and natural) heritage, the protected National Parks of the Lake and nearby mountains are also situated on top of and along a major watershed on the Eurasian continent. In particular the Ulaantaiga Bioshere Reserve found west of Khovsgol Lake along the borders with the neighboring Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation is noted as home of the sources of various important and ancient rivers flowing from these regions. Among these rivers are the Yenisei River, the Eg River and through it the Selenge River, the Ider River and many other more minor waterflows.
Being the center of tourist activity as well as the (road) communications in much of the Khovsgol Province and the location or venue of its internationally most renowned landscape, a visit to the Khovsgol Lake is basicly a must on any tourist travel itenerary for Khovsgol Province. Hence, anyone who visits the Province but not the Lake is considered to be a bit out of ordinary.
As for the Khovsgol Lake itself. As the largest although dwindling fresh water lake and body in Mongolia, it is situated at an elevation of 1645 meters. With a length of 136 kilometers and a maximum width of 36.5 kilometers it has a surface area of 2.760 km².
The Lake has an average depth of 138 meters and holds a water volume of some 480,7 km³, which makes it the 2nd deepest lake in all of Asia (after its larger twin, Lake Baikal) and the largest lake in Mongolia by volume. Drained from the Lake through the Eg River as well as the Selenge River the water from Lake Khovsgol eventually reaches Baikal Lake. Some 60% of the waters of the ancient inland sea of Lake Baikal are said to originate from the Khovsgol Lake and its surrounding mountains.
- Delgermörön River. As the River passing the Capital and largest population center of the Province, the city of Mörön, the Delgermörön River is likely the most important and most visited river in Khövsgöl Province.
The Delgermoron River passes from west to east, following a very long and winding trajectory. It originates on the western border of Khövsgöl Province within the Tyva Republic of the Russian Federation. From the Ulaantaiga Bio Reserve in Bayanzürkh Sum (Баянзүрх сум ; ᠪᠠᠶ᠋ᠠᠨᠵᠢᠷᠦᠭᠡᠰᠤᠮᠤ) and through the mountainous terrain of Tsagaan-Uul Sum (Цагаан-Уул сум ; ᠴᠠᠭᠠᠨᠠᠭᠤᠯᠠᠰᠤᠮᠤ) the river eventually makes it way to the "southern plain" or better valley of Khövsgöl Province. Taking a west to east course it then flows past Bayan Town (also Arbulag), the center of Bürentogtokh Sum (Бүрэнтогтох сум ; ᠪᠦᠷᠢᠨᠲᠣᠭᠲᠣᠬᠤᠰᠤᠮᠤ), and also the city of Mörön.
Beyond the city of Mörön the Delgermörön River takes a south-eastern direction to eventually meet up with the Selenge River and the Ider River.
- Ider Gol. The Ider River flows in the southern regions of Khövsgöl Province. It eventually joins with the Delgermörön River and the Selenge River.
- Eg Uur or Eg River. The Eg River is a popular destination for tourist to go fishing or wild water rafting. The Eg-Uur is noted for its "Taimen", a popular local species of fish which as one of the largest Salmonid species in the world frequently draws tourist travelers who vie to try their luck in the river.
Confusingly the river starts as Eg River, and after meeting up with the Uur River continues as Eg-Uur River. The Eg River has a total length of some 474 kilometers, whereas the Uur River counts
Main Lakes, Rivers and Waterways of Khövsgöl Province - Specifics :
Satellite Image Overview of Mongolia, Tuva Republic (o/t Russian Federation), Inner Mongolia and parts of Manchuria and Siberia.
A Third lake of considerable historic and cultural importance is the Sangiin Dalay Lake, which is found near the south-western border of the Province and is noted for abundance in wildlife, in particular various species of rare (and migratory) birds who are among things attracted by the fish in the Lake. Today much deminished in size the Lake is no longer the heavenly natural reserve it was originally renowned as. Among travelers and tourist the Lake is mostly noted for a ruined castle, built over 3 centuries ago on the island in the Lake. Although the existence of the Lake entire is threatened, the Sangiin Dalay Lakeis a rare and remote but acclaimed destination for fishing enthusiasts.
In addition to the large lakes, there are many more larger and smaller Lakes strewn throughout the territories of Khövsgöl, in fact too many even for Google to have listed and registered on its maps.
In addition to the many lakes found, fresh water is found in abundance for those who know where
Satellite Image overview (Map) of Mongolia and various adjoining territories and regions. Clearly visible in west Mongolia are the Uvs Lake and Khovsgol Lake. The Sangiin Dalay Lake is barely visible in the south-west corner of Khovsgol Province. Most Lakes seen on this image have since reduced further in size, among things due to climatic changes.
to find it. Several large rivers flow through the Province and, due to its mountainous terrains with high snowy peaks, a multitude of smaller rivers and streams are found strewn throughout the various sum of Khövsgöl. Altogether there are some 400 rivers and streams to be found within Khövsgöl Province.
The main rivers to remember within the northern half of Khövsgöl Province and the Khövsgöl Lake are all derived from the Mountain Ranges surrounding the Khövsgöl Lake. Flowing southward from the continental watershed line which curves through the mountains north of Khövsgöl Lake, these are the Delger River, The Eg and the Uur River - which after meeting up continue as Eg-Uur River and finally join the Selenge River, the Sharga, the Shishged and finally the Uilgan River.
As mentioned above the Shishged (or Shishhid) River is part of the drainage basin of the Yenisei River and hence its waters flow "upwards" north- and west-ward not into Mongolia but into the Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation. The most visited section of the Khisged River lies in the Darkhan Valley and includes the Dood Tsagaan Nuur as well as the section of the Shishged River north of Dood Tsagaan Lake in Renchinlkhümbe Sum. Beyond lies the Mountains, the Ulaantaiga Biopshere Reserve and the International borderzone.
In the central and southern regions of Khövsgöl Province the main rivers and streams flow from the Khangai Mountain Range. These are the Ider and Tes Rivers, as well as the Bogdgeen (Or Bugdgeen) River.
The Ider Gol (Идэр гол) is a river that traverses parts of Khövsgöl Aimag as well as neighboring and adjoining (D)zavkhan Aimag. Together with the Delgermörön River (which passes along the Provincial Capital of Mörön) it is one of the source rivers of the much larger Selenge River which ultimately feeds into Lake Baikal. The Ider River is especially noted for the extreme climate which keeps (most of) its waters frozen some 170 to 180 days a year.
To illustrate its remote trajectory, to date only two bridges have been established across the Ider Gol, one near Jargalant and a modern concrete one near Galt.
The Tes River (Тэс гол) much alike the Shishged River is a river which flows in Khövsgöl Province as well as the neighboring Tuva Republic of the Russian Federation, although the Tes River takes a much more roundabout trajectory.
The Tes River originates near Dood Tsagaan Nuur in the Tsagaan-Nuur Sum of Khövsgöl, which is west of the continental watershed which lies west of the Khövsgöl Lake and so its waters flow westward via Dzavkhan Aimag and the Tuva Republic back into the Mongolian Territory. The final destination of the waters of the River Tes is the Uvs Nuur (Uvs Lake) in Uvs Aimag of Mongolia, an ancient fresh water lake of which it is the main source of water.
Reportedly, to date there are but two bridges across the Tes River. One of the bridges is found in Tsetserleg (Mongolian: Цэцэрлэг) the center of Tseteserleg Sum in Khövsgöl Province.
The other bridge is a more modern concrete bridge situated near Bayantes (Mongolian: Баянтэс), a town named after the River Tes in Bayantes Sum of Zavkhan Aimag.
In addition to the lakes, rivers and streams, the Province of Khövsgöl is especially noted for its many hot and cold fresh water springs, many of which are said to have medicinal and healing qualities. A few renowned hot springs have been turned into what amounts to tourist venue's with sometimes available lodgings. Many other fresh water springs (Hudag) have spawned their very own village, settlement or in bygone days Buddhist Monastery.
The most noted hot springs are the Bulnai (Town) Hot Springs and the Salbar Hot Springs.
Various fresh (or really cold) water springs exist (see available google maps of Mongolia) with the most noted being Dulaan Buleen, Naranbumbat, Khonogtsol and Buustug and Gantigt springs.