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Other transcription(s)
 • KalmykЭлст
Golden Temple, Echo Monument, Monument to Oka Gorodovikov, Stupa of enlightenment, Golden Door
Golden Temple, Echo Monument, Monument to Oka Gorodovikov, Stupa of enlightenment, Golden Door
Flag of Elista
Coat of arms of Elista
Location of Elista
Elista is located in European Russia
Location of Elista
Elista is located in Europe
Elista (Europe)
Coordinates: 46°19′N 44°16′E / 46.317°N 44.267°E / 46.317; 44.267
Federal subjectKalmykia[1]
 • LeaderShafran Tepshinov (acting)
120 m (390 ft)
 • Total103,749
 • Estimate 
103,132 (−0.6%)
 • Rank156th in 2010
 • Subordinated toCity of Elista[1]
 • Capital ofRepublic of Kalmykia[1]
 • Capital ofCity of Elista[1]
 • Urban okrugElista Urban Okrug[5]
 • Capital ofElista Urban Okrug[5]
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[6])
Postal code(s)[7]
358000–358014Edit this on Wikidata
Dialing code(s)+7 84722
OKTMO ID85701000001

Elista (Russian: Элиста́, Russian pronunciation: [ɪˈlʲistə] (common during the Soviet era) or Russian pronunciation: [ɪlʲɪˈsta] (most common pronunciation used after 1992 and in Kalmykia itself);[8] Kalmyk: Элст, Elst, [ɛləsˈtə])[9] is the capital city of the Republic of Kalmykia, Russia.

It was known as Stepnoy from 1944 to 1957.


The city is located in the area of the Yergeni hills, in the upper part of the Elista valley. The sources of the river are located in the western part of the city. The Elista crosses the urban area from west to east, dividing it into two sections, a larger northern part and a smaller southern one.[10]


A representation of the Buddha
A representation of the Buddha

Elista was founded in 1865 as a small settlement, the name is from Kalmyk els(e)n "sand(y)".[2] In November 1920, Elista became the administrative center of Kalmyk Autonomous Oblast. By the early 1930s, Elista was transformed into a small city as the collectivization policies of Joseph Stalin forced many Kalmyks to abandon their traditional pastoral nomadic lifestyle in exchange for a modern, sedentary, and urban lifestyle. In October 1935, Elista was recognized as the capital of the Kalmyk ASSR. In late 1942, the city was briefly occupied by the German army. Because of alleged collaboration between the ethnic Kalmyks and the Germans, on December 27, 1943, the Kalmyk ASSR was dissolved and its ethnic Kalmyk residents were forcibly exiled to Siberia. Russian people were brought in to repopulate Elista whose name was changed to Stepnoy (Степно́й). It was called Stepnoy until 1957, when the survivors of the deportations were allowed to return from exile.

Some western tourists started to visit Elista from the mid-1990s, and more after it received publicity as the host city of the 1998 Chess Olympiad. The city is safe and has little traffic. On the outskirts of Elista, there are vast grasslands.

Administrative and municipal status

Elista is the capital of the republic. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with four rural localities, incorporated as the City of Elista—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, the City of Elista is incorporated as Elista Urban Okrug.[5]


A Kalmyk woman praying in front of the statue before entering the temple
A Kalmyk woman praying in front of the statue before entering the temple

Since 1991, the town has been characterized by the slow decay of Soviet-built institutions, and the large construction projects instigated by the republic's millionaire president Kirsan Ilyumzhinov.

The town center has a number of renovated public parks focused on the main square, boasting statues to both Lenin and the Buddha. To the east of the town lies the Olympic village of the 1998 XXXIII Chess Olympiad, known locally as "City-Chess". The site has a public swimming pool and a museum of Kalmyk Buddhist art, which is also infrequently used as a conference center.

During his visit in 1998, the 14th Dalai Lama chose a location west of the town center to build the Burkhan Bakshin Altan Sume, a Buddhist temple for city residents. It was opened in December 2005. It is the largest Buddhist temple in Europe.


Elista has a small regional airport which is open daily during the week, providing flights to Moscow and various cities in the southern part of the Russian Federation. The airport was closed by the federal aviation authorities sometime in the fall of 2006,[why?] but was reopened sometime in 2007. Rail connections are available to Stavropol.

Due to the high cost of air travel, people usually prefer to take the bus between Elista and Moscow. The trip is approximately 18 hours and makes several rest stops along the route. Nowadays there is an airline, Azimuth, that provides air flights to Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Sochi, Crimea and Rostov on Don at affordable cost with direct flights from Elista airport. The price starts at 2500 rubles one way and it saves traveler a lot of time instead of traveling by bus as it was in the past.

Within Elista itself, a network of about a dozen marshrutka (minibus) routes is run by private companies.[why?] Minibuses are available around every five minutes. This is the preferred option of most Kalmykians because of the minimal cost (10 rubles).


Elista has a hot-summer humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa), although it has sometimes been described as a temperate semi-arid climate (Köppen classification BSk).[11] Winters are cold with a January average of −6.1 °C (21.0 °F) while summers are hot with a July average of 24.5 °C (76.1 °F).[12] The average annual precipitation is 349 millimetres (14 in) with winters being drier than summers.[13] Extremes range from −34.0 °C (−29.2 °F) in January to 42.9 °C (109.2 °F) in August.[14]

Climate data for Elista
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.8
Average high °C (°F) −2.9
Daily mean °C (°F) −6.1
Average low °C (°F) −8.8
Record low °C (°F) −34.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 25
Average precipitation days 6 5 5 4 5 6 5 4 4 4 6 8 62
Mean monthly sunshine hours 71 88 131 201 277 300 326 299 237 167 71 42 2,210
Source 1: World Meteorological Organization (UN)[13] Thermo[14]
Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[12]


103,749 (2010 Census);[3] 104,254 (2002 Census);[15] 89,695 (1989 Census).[16]

Ethnic composition (2010):[17]

Twin towns – sister cities

Elista is twinned with:[18]

Photo gallery

See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f Appendix to Decree #137
  2. ^ a b Е. М. Поспелов. "Географические названия мира", Москва, 1998, стр. 480.
  3. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  4. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved January 23, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c Law #308-IV-Z
  6. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  8. ^ "Большой энциклопедический словарь", под ред. А. М. Прохорова. Москва и Санкт-Петербург, 1997, стр. 1402
  9. ^ The approximate pronunciation of the Cyrillic Kalmyk name in IPA is [ˈeɮstʰ]. The name in Oirat clear script is ᡄᠯᡄᠰᡉᡐᡉ or ᠡᠯᠡᠡᠰᠦᠲᠦ, Êlêsütü
  10. ^ Google Earth
  11. ^ Kottek, M.; J. Grieser; C. Beck; B. Rudolf; F. Rubel (2006). "World Map of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification updated" (PDF). Meteorol. Z. 15 (3): 259–263. doi:10.1127/0941-2948/2006/0130. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Elista Climate Normals 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 12, 2017.
  13. ^ a b "World Weather Information Service – Elista". United Nations. Retrieved December 31, 2010.
  14. ^ a b "Weather Statistics - Elista" (in Russian). Petrozavodsk State University. Retrieved December 4, 2012.
  15. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек [Population of Russia, Its Federal Districts, Federal Subjects, Districts, Urban Localities, Rural Localities—Administrative Centers, and Rural Localities with Population of Over 3,000] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian).
  16. ^ Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. 1989 – via Demoscope Weekly.
  17. ^ "ВПН том 4. Таблица 4. Население по национальности и владению русским языком Республики Калмыкия". Archived from the original on January 11, 2014. Retrieved October 24, 2020.
  18. ^ "Инвестиционный паспортгорода Элисты" (PDF). (in Russian). Elista. 2015. p. 20. Retrieved November 11, 2020.


  • Justin Corfield, The History of Kalmykia: From Ancient Times to Kirsan Ilyumzhinov and Aleksey Orlov, 2015. ISBN 978-1-876586-29-4.
  • Президент Республики Калмыкия. Приложение к Указу №137 от 25 июня 2002 г. «Реестр административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия», в ред. Указа №103 от 27 июня 2011 г «О внесении изменений в Реестр административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия, утверждённый Указом Президента Республики Калмыкия от 26 декабря 2001 г. №235 "Об утверждении реестра административно-территориальных единиц Республики Калмыкия"». (President of the Republic of Kalmykia. Appendix to Decree #137 of June 25, 2002 Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia, as amended by the Decree #103 of June 27, 2011 On Amending the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia, Adopted by Decree #235 of the President of the Republic of Kalmykia of December 26, 2001 "On Adopting the Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Units of the Republic of Kalmykia". ).
  • Народный Хурал (Парламент) Республики Калмыкия. Закон №308-IV-З от 23 ноября 2011 г. «О некоторых вопросах организации местного самоуправления в Республики Калмыкия», в ред. Закона №105-V-З от 6 марта 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 13.1 Закона Республики Калмыкия "О некоторых вопросах организации местного самоуправления в Республики Калмыкия"». Вступил в силу по истечении 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Хальмг Унн", №214, 24 ноября 2011 г. (People's Khural (Parliament) of the Republic of Kalmykia. Law #308-IV-Z of November 23, 2011 On Various Issues of the Organization of the Local Self-Government in the Republic of Kalmykia, as amended by the Law #105-V-Z of March 6, 2015 On Amending Article 13.1 of the Law of the Republic of Kalmykia "On Various Issues of the Organization of the Local Self-Government in the Republic of Kalmykia". Effective as of after 10 days since the day of the official publication.).

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This page was last edited on 7 June 2022, at 09:13
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