English language Web site on current affairs in the biggest russian region
00:31 | Aug 11 | 2011

To See the North

World heritage objects, mammoths remains preserved from the Ice Age and modern virgin wildlife, places where our ancestors used to live and diamonds and coal are mined today, where hydroelectric power stations and apartment houses are built directly on permafrost – these all travellers can find in Yakutia. 

There are own tourist brands in the Republic which favourably distinguish it from other northern regions of Russia. It should be noted that cultural and sight-seeing tours account for about 20% of internal tourist flow in Yakutia. For example, within the limits of so-called ethnotours, visitors can experience culture and life of Evenki and other indigenous minorities of the North and see with their own eyes Ysyakh and other local holidays.

Ysyakh is an ancient cult holiday of the nature revival. Traditionally Yakuts celebrate Ysyakh on June 21-22, at the day of summer solstice. This holiday is the symbol of the Nature awakening and revival of Human being. It is a Yakut New Year.

Holiday’s central action is a competition of storytellers of Yakut heroic epos Olonkho which is recognized as UNESCO non-material cultural heritage. During the holiday tourists can observe deer races and competitions of local fighters and try northern cuisine. At the end of Ysyakh celebration people meet sunrise which is believed to be the time of soul refinement.

Hunting and fishing lovers will especially like rich nature of Yakutia. In search for adventures you may have hunting tours for elks, brown bears, bighorn sheep, reindeers or wolves. Also it is possible to spend all the day fishing. There are many rivers and lakes in the Republic. The favourite catch of local fishermen is taimen which can weigh up to 30 kg. And those who like extreme sports can go mountain river rafting.

Beautiful Lena is one of the most powerful rivers in the world. In some areas it is so wide that you may not even see the opposite bank. During 530 million years great rock formation along the banks of this river was generated – the Lena Pillars. The best way to see these natural colonnades, towers, arches is to have a river cruise along the Lena.

Mysterious Kisilyakh Mountains in the district of Verkhoyane also make a great impression. Mountains title in Yakut means “stone people”. These granite sculptures up to 30 m high really look like fancifully curved human figures. LCC “Arctica” organizes tours to these places of interest. The company was given an award “Leader in tourism industry of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia)”, and also got a gold medal in competition “Best goods and services of the Far East – Gemma” in 2010.

There is a legend that when God was sharing natural riches among the continents and countries and flew over Yakutia, his hands froze and he dropped his treasures, having scattered gold and diamonds here.

Diamonds deposits are one of the main riches of the Yakut land. In 1954 there was opened the first kimberlite pipe in the country and jewels extraction was started. Diamond capital of Yakutia is the city of Mirniy where it is possible to see how an uncut stone turns into an excellent brilliant.

Tourists who come to the Republic are even offered to go to exotic “mammoth routes”. During such trips it is possible to see where these huge ancient animals lived, to have an excursion in the Mammoth Museum in Yakutsk and even visit real archaeological diggings.

So, Yakutia longs to use the tourism industry potential to the maximum. This region is full of contrasts and although it is far from other tourist centres, it remains attractive and hospitable.