Mountain Shoria is an astonishing land in the South of Kuzbass which area compares well with its of Belgium. The nine tenths of territory are covered with taiga; the density of population is less than 5 people on a square kilometre.
Mountain Shoria is surrounded by the huge circle of mountains opened in the North-West. Here close up the south-west spur of the Kuznetsk Alatau, the south spur of the Salair and the north-east spur of the Altay. The length of territory from the North to the South is 170 km, from the West to the East – 100 km. The administrative centre of Mountain Shoria is a town Tashtagol, which lies 560 km from Novosibirsk, 400 km from Kemerovo and 160 km from Novokuznetsk.
The Shorians are an aboriginal nation. They live in Mountain Shoria in the South of Kuzbass in the basins of rivers Tom, Mras-Su and Kondoma. The population is 16,6 thousand people, 12 thousand of them live compactly in the Kemerovo district. The name comes from the tribe “Shor” that lives on the river Kondoma. The nearest ancestors are various tribes and breeds which appeared in the beginning of the 17th century in Russian historical documents under the name “Kuznetsk Tatars”.
The language belongs to the Turkish group but the written language bases on Cyrillic character. The religion is heathenism. In the 19th century they adopted Christianity but the traditional faiths remained.
The main occupations were hunting and fishing. In whole Siberia the Shorians were famous for their ability to smelt iron of the iron ore and produce goods of it. With these goods they rendered tribute to the Russian Tsar. Thanks to Shorian smiths the land where they lived was called Kuznetskaya and the first burg – Kuznetsk (after the word “kuznets” – smith).
The land is mountainous. The most mountains are middle high – about 500 – 800 m. The highest point is the mountain Mustag (1570m). The smooth contours of mountain tops, narrow and cliffy river valleys, steep granite ranges with tops without vegetation, numerous caves, grottos and craters are very typical for the landscape of Mountain Shoria.
The climate is sharp continental, softened by the peculiarity of the landscape. Average temperature in July is +18ºC, in January - -20ºC. Unique blanket of snow till 4 m thick lies 6 months (November – May).
Black taiga, alp meadows, mountain tundra. Peculiarities: high herbage (3 – 4 m), great number of rare species, valuable medicinal plants, some species of Siberian orchid called “Shoes of Venus”.
39 species of mammals, 156 – of birds. Big animals: elk, brown bear, maral, wild reindeer, wild boar, roe. Fur-bearing animals: sable, squirrel, American mink. In Mountain Shoria live some species which are entered in the Red Book: butterfly “Apollo”, 8 species of bats, black stork and others. The mountain rivers are finny.
The main rivers are the Mras-Su (338 km) and the Kondoma (392 km), which flow in picturesque cliffy valleys. Their tributaries give 70 % of the flowing of the Tom.
The attractions of the landscape are the mountain Mustag with the remains “Verbludy”, waterfall “Saga” and numerous caves in the basin of the Mras-Su.
The Shoria National Park, The Tashtagol National Park (protection of sable).
The Nature and Ethnography Museum of Mountain Shoria (in Tashtagol), The open-air museum “Tazgol” (village Ust-Anzas).