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Kyzyl Weather

The Centre of Europe
and a Man Named Proctor

The legend of the man named Proctor who placed a monument to the centre of Asia in Kyzyl has never been satisfactorily proven or disproven, despite the efforts of many.  We present here the information sent our way, as a guide to those who may take up the challenge of finding out more about this mystery!


  • It has not been definitely established that there even WAS a man named Proctor who went around putting up monuments.


  • Glen Cowan reports that the centre of Asia monument would have been somewhere in Transcarpathia, in Uzhgorod or Chop.  Google returns 
    which says...
    • Due to its advantageous location (the geographic centre of Europe was defined just here and the special monument since 1862 testifies to this event), the province had established an extensive economical and cultural relations with Europe.


  • Alan Leighton reports that any declaration that the Englishman was Carruthers can be flatly disproved by the mention of an English "tourist" who set up a monument on the banks of the Yenisei --- in a book published in Moscow before Carruthers even set foot in Tuva.



  • The information that the monument was placed by a guy named Proctor originally came from someone in Tuva, perhaps at the TNIIYaLI --- maybe Rada Chakar?


  • How does all this square with Maenchen-Helfen's description of Safyanov's farm, and its location at another "saldam" (river crossing), near Kyzyl?  Did the same people who divulged the Proctor information also tell about Safyanov, or is there a written reference to that?


  • Masahiko Todoriki has been the most serious seeker of  the old "Centre of Asia" monument.  He reports that the present monument was placed in Kyzyl in 1964(?) and it is not the same one that the English man built. As reported in Otto J. Manchen-Helfen's "Journey to Tuva", it was settled in town called Saldam, Tozhu, north-east region of Tyva.

    In the summer of 2000, Riki went to Tuva and asked about this monument, speaking to several old people living there. Riki then found the "considerable pole" of the old Center of Asia monument. Unfortunately, his broken camera didn't work properly, so he has to return for a photo.


  • Here are Riki's interview notes:
    • VACILI'EV Viktor (born in 1929); Russian, male
      He didn't know anything about old "the Centre of Asia". He seemed too busy to talk with strange foreigner, though...

    • DOROFEEV Evgenii Kupriyanovich (born in 1926); Russian, male
      Born in Saldam. His grandfather moved here and settled. He still remembered some of the story about old "the Centre of Asia" that he heard from his father. According his saying, the English man was a "teacher", and the monument was wooden. He didn't know exactly the place, but can point out somewhere around near the ferry harbor, Yeniseiskaya 45. He told me that he might still have a small things, kind of a badge, from a German guy (!) who visited there when he was a kid.

    • DAMDYN-OOL Vasilii Sanmaevich (born in 1918); Tyvan, male
      Settled Doora-Khem (settled in 1893 --- since 1942, from Ulug-Khem kozhuun. His memory was clear. When he moved to Doora-Khem, everybody knows about the monument, he said.

      Used to be, there was only two ways from north into Tyva, from Irkutsk (by horse) or from Krasnoyarsk (by boat). I suspect the English "ertemden"; teacher or professor, came into Tyva by horse, cross over old track from Irkutsk through Buriat. He might used raft finally. Then he jumped the gun when he found the first small settlement in "Tanny-Uryankhai" Saldam, and concluded this must be the Center of Asia. What a lazy guy he was, he put the cross shaped 1m height 50cm width wooden monument written "Tsentr azii" in Russian, JUST FRONT OF THE FERRY HARBOR! That was 1890, and there was a house with a Russian living in it.

      Now the house, Yeniseiskaya 48, was coming down to make way for a Promkhoz in 50's. I found out the suspected pole near a garbage dump of the Promkhoz. The Centre of Asia was not the talk of the town anymore, after 50's up to now. After few more days to stay there, the old Tyvan said, the English guy rafted down the Yenisei. Then while, he found out there was much bigger town, Bayan-Kol. "Oh no, I made a mistake! This should be the center!!"  So, the guy put another Centre of Asia there.

      Now in these days, there is three Centre of Asia's in Tyva, if it still exist in Bayan-Kol. I will check it later.

    • This is the sketch of the original form by SAGAACHY Sholban from the story of DAMDYN-OOL Vashlii. 

  • This is my rough sketch of the suspected old Centre of Asia at 48 Yeniseiskaya Saldam, Tozhu.

  • Three people in Kyzyl independently named Saldam as the location of the old Center of Asia monument.


  • Ralph Leighton reports seeing "Saldam" on a map used or published by  Carruthers in "Unknown Mongolia," and it is where Toora Khem is.