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Russian Tourist Destinations: Yakutia - The Land of Diamonds, Frosts and Mysteries
December 17, 2006 15:38

Many know Yakutia (Republic Sakha) only as a spot on the georgraphic map and do not even guess that it is the coldest inhabited place on earth, rich in diamonds and legends. 

Today 99.8% of all Russian diamonds are extracted in Yakutia. There are many legends about diamonds` origins in these lands. One of the local legends says when Creator of the universe flew across the world carrying a big bag of diamonds and appeared to fly over Yakutia, his hands got cold and he just dropped the bag on the earth’s surface.

The legend narrates that at those times it was as cold in Yakutia as it is now, and it were severe frosts that made Creator drop the bag and thus produce the numerous diamond fields.

Nowadays Yakutia is a synonym of colds and extreme frosts to almost every Russian, as it is the coldest place in Russia and the coldest inhabited place in the whole world, often called the Cold Pole. Officially the title of the coldest inhabited place belongs to the Yakutian village Oymyakon; however, the town of Verkhoyansk is likely to share this status with the “frosty” village. The difference in temperature records between Oymyakon and Verkhoyansk constitutes 1/10 of a degree. The lowest temperature registered in Oymyakon is -67.7C. As it has recently become known, there are 3 cold poles in Yakutia: Oymyakon, Verkhoyansk, and the newly admitted Delyankir, where the lowest temperature ever registered is -65C. It would be fair to mention that a cold pole is not a single spot on the map: it is the whole territory of Yakutia. Although the global warming has affected Yakutia too and the winter temperatures in this area are getting higher, it is hard to imagine that Republic Sakha will ever give up its status of the coldest place to any other region of the Russian Federation.

Permafrost zones are widely spread in Yakutia, and its territory is one of the main sources of scientific data and researches on this topic. During summertime only 3.5 cm of the upper soil layer melt in Yakutia. Bodies of prehistorical animals are still found in the area: the Berelekhskoye Cemetery, where remains of more than 150 mammoths were found, and the deepest permafrost layer of 1500 metres was found in the west of Yakutia.

The unique character of the territory isn’t confined to its severe climate conditions and diamond fields: one of the most famous anomalous zones in Russia, the Valley of Death, is located here. The Valley of Death is situated at the right tributary of the Vilyui River and is described as a place with an underground metal rooms, pipes and paths which have unexplained effects on the human organism.

The anomalous area hasn`t been carefully researched, but witnesses claim that one can see some metal objects sticking out of the ground. One of the metal objects reminds a boiler of 10 metres in diameter. People getting to the area start feeling dizzy and faint, besides, there were registered some cases when after visiting the place people started to lose their hair.

The huge territory of the republic in combination with low density of population (only 0.3 people per square kilometre) has preserved many nature complexes in their entirely primeval form. Yakutia takes 10% of all untouched landscapes in the world – that’s why it plays a highly important role in a stable biological development of the planet.


Natalya Lavrentyeva

Tags: Yakutia Russian tourism Russian tourist destination   

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