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World's Strangest Towns

World's Strangest Towns: Elista, Russia

Ray Nayler

Elista, Russia

The king is threatened daily in this Russian town because here, it’s all about chess. Play a game on the enormous chessboard painted on the ground in the Town Square or head to Chess City, a domed complex that hosted the 1998 Chess Olympiad. Indeed, some of the world’s finest chess players have paid a visit to Elista, which is the capital of the Republic of Kalmykia. Its other strange claim to fame is being the only Buddhist region in Europe; Elista’s chess complex includes a museum of Buddhist art.

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