Yakutia is one of the rare places on the Earth where the purity of nature and incredibly amazing variety of flora and fauna are left untouched. Yakutia (another name is Sakha Republic) is one of the Russian regions situated in the northern-east Siberia with the center in Yakutsk city. It is the largest republic of the Russian Federation, covering about 20% of its area (3,103,200 km²). The territory of Yakutia is larger than the territories of France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK, Finland, and Greece put together.
Yakutia borders the Arctic Ocean, washed by the Laptev and the Eastern Siberian Seas. These waters, the coldest and iciest of all seas in the northern hemisphere, are covered by ice for 9-10 months of a year. About 40% of Sakha lies above the Arctic Circle and all of it is covered by eternally frozen ground - permafrost - that greatly influences the region's ecology and limits forests in the southern region.
Climate of the Yakutia is sharply continental with +40 C in summer and -60 C in winter. In winter there are Polar Nights that begin on the territory which is above the Arctic Circle. Darkness and twilight take charge for several months. Summer periods are mostly sunny, a day can last up to 20 hours along the latitude of Yakutsk. There is also The Pole of Cold – the coldest point of the Northern Hemisphere – in Yakutia, where the lowest temperature of an inhabited place (-71.2 C) was registered in 1926.
The population of the Yakutia is about 1 million, representing over 120 nationalities. The Russians are the largest group, making up approximately half the population, followed by indigenous Sakha-Yakut people, who constitute 33, 4% of the population. Russian and Yakut are the official languages used in the republic.
The Russians have known the ethnic term "Yakut" since the early 17th century. It was borrowed into Russian from the Tungus language, and means the Turkic-speaking population living in the Lena region and practicing horse and cattle-breeding. The Yakuts call themselves "Sakha", thus the republic of Yakutia has another name – "Sakha".
The roots of the Yakut culture remain hidden in the past, in the ancient Turkic epoch, in the Scythian-Siberian world. Historians estimate that ancestors of the Yakuts gradually moved somewhere from the southwest, probably the Western Baikal region.
The Yakut people practice shamanism as their religion: the worship of nature, its phenomena and elements. The traditions passed on from one generation to the other are traditional beliefs and ancient rituals and ceremonies based on respect for the world that surrounds the people. Where the spirits come from and where they go, the Yakuts do not know, but are certain of the existence of these spirits.
Yakutia is famous for its nature. The northern tundra is covered with moss and reindeer moss. You can find there specimens of tundra birch that can easily fit in the palm of one's hand. Pine, spruce, larch, cedar, aspen, and birch trees grow in the taiga. The northern flowers are bright and intensely colored. The northern berries are rich in taste. Lilium pensylvanicum is a favorite flower of the people of Yakutia. It is called Sardaana and grows only in Yakutia. Rhodiola rosea, Aconogonom amgense, Krascheninnikovia lenensis, Redowskia sophiifolia, Oxytropis scheludjakovae, are also endemic.
The inhabitants of the vast lands of Yakutia - moose, fox, sable, wolverine, brown bear, polar bear, walrus, Manchurian deer, northern deer, musk deer, and bighorn sheep - live freely. Numerous rivers and lakes are rich with fish, omul (coregonus autumnalis), chir (coregonus nasus), muksun, white salmon nelma (stenodus lencichthys nelma), sturgeon (acipenser baeri), taimen (hucho taimen), and karas (carassius).
There are about 250 avian species in Yakutia. The tundra is a habitat for rare birds, sterkh (Siberian white crane), sandhill crane, loon, Ross's goose, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, etc. The Arctic shore is famous for noisy and spectacular seashore bird colonies. Yakutia is the only place on the planet with Siberian black crane and Ross's gull habitats.
To enjoy such a fascinating nature of the region, tourists can visit such points of view as Kangalasskiy and Tabaginskiy points with wonderful landscapes of Lena River; ethnographical complex Itik Haiya, where you can see aspects of life of indigenous people; and tourist complex Bakaldin, which presents culture of Evenki indigenous people and gives an opportunity to ride on the reindeers.
Yakutia also have indoor activities as well, including National museum of history and culture of North People with rich archeological and ethnographic collections; Mammoth museum; Underground laboratory of the Permafrost Institute placed at the depth of 12 meters under the ground; National Art museum with collection of local art, Russian art of 18th-20th centuries, and foreign art of 16th-20th centuries; Music and folklore museum of people of Sakha Republic. There are several Drama theaters in Yakutia – Oikunskiy drama theatre, Russian drama theatre, Opera and Ballet theatre.