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Mythical Lands of Russia, Part 2
November 30, 2014 17:05

Previous: Mythical Lands of Russia, Part 2

Altai Shambhala 

 
Shambhala is the mythical land described in Hinduism and Buddhism. The fairy land promises fantastic conditions, such as eternal youth and knowledge of the whole world. “If you know the teaching of Shambhala then you know the future”, - the thinker, researcher and artist Nicholas Roerich wrote about this mystic realm. Traditionally, the entrance to Shambhala is considered to be somewhere close to the sacred Mount Kailash in the highland western Tibet. 
 
However, according to the doctrine of Nicholas Roerich, there must be three entrances to Shambhala. One of them is located in Altai, near Mount Belukha, the sacred peak of the local Altai people. According to their beliefs, there is the realm of spirits in it. One of the Altai shamans Anton Yudanov said in an interview that even ministers of the cult do not dare to come to the mountain closer than 10 km. As for attempts to conquer Belukha, which a great number of people try to do every year, these are real sacrilege followed by punishment. Thus, it is not without reason that Belukha is called “the murderer mountain” because of so many tourists lost there lately. “The sacred mountain will through off anyone who tries to approach its mystery”, he said.
 
Island of Buyan
 
Alexander Pushkin's fairy tale, just like numerous Old Slavic incantations started with the words about the Island on Buyan. As the legend goes, the world peak mountain stands and the magic oak grows on this island. The mystic power stone Alatyn lies under this oak: “It keeps the infinite mighty power”. A beautiful maiden sits there and sutures bleeding wounds. Thus, Buyan is a divine island from the Slavic mythology. The question is where it was situated. The incantations that have come down to us give ambiguous answers. The possible location extends from the Jordan River through Caspian Sea to the White Sea. 
 
The historian Merkulov compared Buyan to the German island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, which harbours ruins of the western Slavic sacred citadel-temple Arkona. The Island of Buyan is mentioned in legends of Pomors, first of all, as the island rich in amber. 
 
Today the Buyan Island is clearly marked on the map of Russia in the Arctic Ocean. It is part of the Severnaya Zemlya Archipelago in the Taimyr Dolgan-Nenets District of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. However, it is not known if the island has something to do with the legendary Buyan. Anyway, there are no traces of ancient cultures and amber there. 
 
Bjarmia
 
Bjarmia aka Bjarmaland is an unknown historical area that is repeatedly mentioned in the Scandinavian sagas.  According to some historians, it could possibly be located somewhere in the northernmost top end of Eastern Europe, in the present-day Arkhangelsk Region. For the first time the mysterious realm was recorded in the story about traveling of the Viking Ottar from Holugaland (870-890). According to Ottar's words, Holugalang was the most northern region of Norway subordinated to it. He wanted to explore which lands were located beyond neighboring Lapland, and found the people of Bjarmia. Unlike nomadic Lapps, those were domiciled and rich. Moreover, they were downright sorcerers: “They can bind people with their looks and words and drive them insane and taking weird actions”. 
 
In spite of the fact that sources keep a detailed description of the Scandinavian expeditions to Bjarmia, historians still cannot come to a consensus as to what that country of rich sorcerers was. 
 
The most widespread version is that the sagas describe the area of Northern Dvina. Other researchers, based on the ethnonym “bjarmia” that the Vikings attributed to the locals, relate the legendary people to the Finno-Ugric tribes in the area from the modern Udmurtia to the Polar Ural Mountains. In that case, Bjarmia is a derivative from Perm the Great. The well-known Scandinavist T.N. Jackson assumes that Bjarmia could be located on the shore of the White Sea and on the Kola Peninsula.
 
 
 



Author: Vera Ivanova

Tags: Russian Fairy Tales     

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