Fact No. 1. Yakutia is the largest federal subject
If Yakutia was an independent state, it would make it to the top 10 list of the largest countries beating Argentina, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Indonesia! This region is among the most sparsely populated ones. Furthermore, the local population mostly lives in Yakutsk and its surroundings.
Fact No. 2. Yakutia is the least touristy place in both Russia and the rest of the world
In case you decide to learn more about the Russian region Yakutia, you will be disappointed as there is not a lot of information to find. Here is the answer. It is quite hard to get to Yakutia, and it takes certain time and effort to reach its most interesting places. For example, you may need to go by boat along numerous rivers or ride horses since there are hardly any roads in Yakutia.
What is more, visit to Yakutia will take time. As a rule, you should fly to the Russian capital Moscow and then catch a domestic flight to Yakutsk, which is the capital of Yakutia. The next step will be to use the services of some local airlines. The trip along rivers will also take you more than one day. Keep in mind that the territory of Yakutia can comprise France, Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, Italy, Sweden and Norway at once!
The Moma River in Yakutia
Fact No. 3. The better part of Yakutia is located within the Arctic Circle
40% of the Yakutian territory lies within the Arctic Circle. It means that ways of travelling are limited and you can move along rivers only two or three months per year. It is also worth mentioning that there is no year-round transport connection on 90% of the region.
However, locals have found a way-out. In winter rivers freeze over and drivers start to use them as seasonal roads for lorries. They can cover up to thousands kilometers on ice one way. This job is challenging and quite dangerous. Sometimes cars break down or even sink. Good news is no one will drive by. People will stop and try to help.
Lorry on a winter road of the Indigirka River, which is a temporary highway carved out of ice. The driver is fixing its engine when the temperature outside is lower than minus 30°C / minus 22°F.
Fact No. 4. 2/3 of the Yakutian territory is covered with mountains and highlands
Less than 30% of the territory is occupied by plains. Yakutia is mostly a mysterious mountainous land and the world-largest region that is known for its breathtaking landscapes. These places still have not been captured by professional photographers!
Fact No. 5. There is only one Yakutian landmark that is included into UNESCO World Heritage Site list
Lena Pillars Nature Park is a wonderful site located along the Lena River. This 100-m high rock formation is stunningly beautiful.
The Ulakhan-Sis Ridge is an unknown region of Yakutia
Unlike the Lena Pillars these eroded ones are not formed on the Lena River but are no less impressive. Don’t you think that they resemble the Manpupuner rock formations deemed one of the Seven Wonders of Russia? If more people had visited Yakutia, the World Heritage Site list would have been much longer!
Fact No. 6. The bigger part of Yakutia is covered by permafrost
Permafrost is ground that does not thaw during summer. In other words, soil contains ice. Frost is considered permanent if it is stable from 2,000 years and more.
Geologists have found the deepest permafrost (1,300-1,500 m) in the upstream of the Vilyuy River. It means that the ground in Yakutia has frozen for more than 1 km! The average depth of the local permafrost is 300-400 m. Most buildings are constructed over frozen soil that is full of ice. These houses are worth a look as they are built on piles. Otherwise the heat they radiate would have thawed permafrost.
Fact No. 7. The coldest permanently inhabited place is situated in Yakutia
A record low temperature of minus 67.7°C / minus 89.9°F (for permanently inhabited locales) was documented in Oymyakon that is situated in Yakutia.
Yakutia is also known for a great difference between the highest (July) and lowest (January) temperatures. The average drop is 70-75°C in Yakutia and more than 100°C (!) in Oymyakon.
You will need special skills to spend winter in Yakutia, which lasts for 8-9 months. There are no spring and fall, winter is sometimes changed by a short summer.
Fact No. 8. Yakutia is the world-largest bioreserve
Yakutia is famous for its pristine nature. It becomes possible thanks to poorly developed infrastructure. More than 90% of the region remains unexplored.
Today’s Yakutia stands for 30% of the Russian pristine nature and more than 10% of the world wildlife!
Many Yakutian areas are wildly acknowledged as bioreserve and carefully protected.
Fact No. 9. Yakutia has the world-largest river system
There are more than 700 000 (!) rivers and 800 000 (!) lakes in Yakutia. The total length of all the Yakutian rivers accounts for more than 2,000,000 km. By the way many of them are stunningly beautiful!
The Tobandya-Siene River
The list of the largest and best-known Yakutian rivers include the Lena River, the Vilyuy River, the Aldan River, the Kolyma River, the Indigirka River, the Olyokma River, the Anabar River and the Yana River.
Fact No. 10. Most Yakuts lead a traditional life
Yakutia is among few places in Russia where most population leads a traditional life. It is a dream place for any ethnographer. Local traditions are mostly followed by Yakuts who live far away from cities, long-term residents and indigenous peoples of the Russian North. They pursue folk crafts like reindeer breeding, fur trapping, fishing, the northernmost agriculture and cattle farming.
Tobandya Lake is perfect to store up plenty of fish
Kenilibita Valley on September 10. It takes several days to reach civilization
Yakutia is also the Russian largest storage of diamonds (almost all diamonds are mined there), uranium, gold, coal, oil, iron and many other natural resources. Moreover, Yakutia is hardly discovered!
Today Yakutia is still an unexplored and mysterious land that has stunningly beautiful landscapes and offers many opportunities for scientists, tourists and photographers.
All the photos were taken by Sergey Karpukhin.