The Republic of Sakha
Yakutia is a federal subject of the Russian Federation over 8000km from Moscow in Russia’s Far East. Officially recognised as a republic by the Russian Federation in 1992, The Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) is the largest subnational governing body by area in the world. The name for the multi-ethnic Republic comes from the name of one of its indigenous groups, the Yakuts, who are the most populous of all the many different ethnic groups. The Yakuts formed an ethnic unity comparatively late in the 13th and 14th century migrating north from Lake Baikal to the Lena River. They called themselves Sakha (pronounced Sahar). However the Tungus-Evenk people who inhabited the region near Lake Baikal in southern Siberia called them Yako, and since they had some interaction and communication with the Russian empire, they transferred this pronunciation to the Russians. Gradually phonetic changes formed the name of the modern nation.
Why travel to Yakutia?
To test your mettle! Think you can handle the extreme? Try out temperatures of minus 50 and beyond for size!
Bragging rights! Take the ‘Pole of Cold’ tour to Oymyakon and get to tell your friends you’ve travelled to the coldest village on earth. Receive your Pole of Cold certificate from the Mayor of Oymyakon.
You’re an eager war historian; travel on the ‘Road of Bones’ and visit the infamous Stalin built Gulags where many unfortunate German soldiers and Russian political prisoners met their demise.
You’re a sun worshipper! Visit during white nights when the sun barely sets; dance and pray to the sun gods!
To seek spiritual inspiration and enlightenment; take part in shaman rituals and seek out the guidance of spiritual healers.
You’ve always dreamed of wearing fur coats, hats and gloves without being persecuted for it from pressure groups at home.
You’re a keen anthropologist; Come and marvel at the ancient Yakutian way of life and see the striking similarities to the American Indians.
You’re a keen ornithologist. With over 250 species of bird in Yakutia, including a handful of extremely rare species, you can don binoculars and sit in shrubbery for days on end until your heart’s content.
If exercise is your drug of choice! With vast areas to explore you can choose to mountain bike, kayak, run, trek and climb until your endorphin levels explode into your brain receptors and you reach that morphine like euphoria. In other words, pain to most people.
You love adventurous gastronome; try out the local delicacies of raw frozen fish, raw frozen fish liver, raw frozen horse meat, raw frozen cow and horse liver, blood sausages, drink kumys – alcoholic sour mare’s milk.
You’re the miserable type who’s happiest when alone! Personal space is not at a premium in Yakutia, it covers an area as big as India and has under a million inhabitants! If you can’t find solitude here you’ll never find it anywhere. Come to find true peace and silence and be at one with nature.
You like big holes in the ground. With the top three deepest diamond mines in the world located in Yakutia, you can pay a visit to a hole in the ground which is nearly as deep as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai is tall.
To visit the Land of the Mammoth. With scientists claiming they have a ‘high chance’ of cloning a woolly mammoth after the discovery of preserved blood in a woolly mammoth which died 43,000 years ago in Yakutia, chances are that in the not too distant future there’ll be once more living mammoths in the Land of the Mammoth. It probably won’t be too long after that you’ll get the chance to try woolly mammoth steak and chips.
To meet the real Santa Claus. Santa Claus is green and is from Germany! No way! Santa Claus is red and white, was invented by Coke and lives at the North Pole. Actually ladies and gentlemen the real Santa Claus is blue, lives in Yakutia and wears bull’s horns on his head.
You’re an avid angler. There are vast rivers in Yakutia that are simply teeming with fish with over 50 different varieties. In the winter you can try your hand at ice fishing for the day and stay warm drinking vodka.
You like drinking vodka!