Krasnoyarsk Krai is a huge territory in western-central Siberia that extends north of the industrial city of Krasnoryarsk and the Trans-Siberian Railway to the Arctic Sea. Covering an area about two thirds the size of the lower 48 United States an dlarger than Greenland, it lies in one of the most resource-rich parts of Russia and is occupied largely by the Yenisei River basin. Many of the towns can only be reached by plane, helicopter or boat. There are few roads or railroads. Website: Tourist Information Portal of Krasnoyarsk Krai visitsiberia.info
Krasnoyarsk Krai is Russia’ second largest political entity after Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and third largest country subdivision in the world after Sakha and Western Australia. Krasnoyarsk Krai covers 2,339,700 square kilometers (903,400 square miles), is home to about 2.9 million people and has a population density of 1.2 people per square kilometer. About 76 percent of the population live in urban areas. The city of Krasnoyarsk is the capital and largest city, with about one million people.
Krasnoyarsk is relatively wealthy. It is endowed with large reserves of coal, minerals, oil, gas, and timber. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the resources were exploited by a fair number of players, including crooked politicians, corrupt businessmen and gangsters. Turf battles, murders and assassination aimed to towards getting a larger piece of the pie were not unknown. Russian President Vladimir Putin brought some order to the region
Tourism in Krasnoyarsk Krai
Krasnoyarsk Krai stretches from the Sayan Mountains to the Arctic Ocean. Thanks to its geographical location, the region covers a variety of nature zones: from the wild and impassable taiga to the vast steppe and tundra. The Putorana Plateau with its innumerable waterfalls and lakes, the sacred Plotbishchenskoe Lake where a miracle-working icon was once found, and the Permafrost Museum in Igarka, are among the interesting places to check out.
Krasnoyarsk Krai is four times larger than France. It is home to Dikson, Russia’s northernmost village and northernmost place in Eurasia; Cape Chelyuskin; and Lake Taimyr, the largest northern lake in the world. The meteor craters of Chukcha and Popigai were left by giant meteors that struck Earth tens of millions years ago. Bolshaya Oreshnaya Cave is one of the longest in Russia. The 700-meter tall Talnikovy waterfall is the tallest in the country. The Podkamennaya Tunguska River area is where the Tunguska meteorite fell.
Getting There: From Moscow, airplanes fly to Krasnoyarsk and Norilsk. A flight to Krasnoyarsk costs 17,400 rubles; to Norilsk, from 50,000 rubles. An air ticket from St. Petersburg to Krasnoyarsk costs 34,600 rubles. By Train: A trip from Moscow to Krasnoyarsk costs 8,600 rubles, but the travel time is as much as three days. When traveling from St. Petersburg to Krasnoyarsk, you will have to make a transfer in Moscow. The ticket costs 16,000–20,000 rubles. (all prices are per one adult round trip).
Transport in the region: Road and railway network is well-developed in some parts of the region, however, not all corners of it are accessible by train car, or bus. The northern edge can only be reached by air, and also by the river in the summer. Schedule and ticket prices can be checked on the websites of the airport, bus station and river port of Krasnoyarsk, Alykel airport (Norilsk, Dudinka), and on the online scoreboard of Igarka airport.
Yenisey River is the largest river in Russia in terms of volume and the largest river system flowing into the Arctic Ocean. . Running northward through Siberia for 3,450 kilometers (2,136 miles), The fifth-longest river system in the world, the Yenisei is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob and the Lena) The Yenisey is only 25 kilometers shorter than the Ob.
The Yenisei (also spelled Yenisei) originates in Tuva in the Altay mountains in Mongolia and flows through, the Sayan Mountains, Krasnoyarsk and Yeniseysky into the Kara Sea, part of the Arctic Ocean. It's main tributary the Angara flows out of the Lake Baikal. The maximum depth of the Yenisei is 24 meters (80 feet) and the average depth is 14 meters (45 feet). In some places the river is several kilometers wide.
The Yenisei River passes through all climatic zones of Siberia and serves as a kind of natural border between the Western and Eastern Siberia , with the Western Siberian Plain to the west and the Central Siberian Plateau to the east. It flows almost strictly along the meridian from south to north and drains a large part of central Siberia.
The river Yenisei is the second largest rivers in Russia based on it basin area. Three hydroelectric power stations have been built on it: Krasnoyarskaya, Sayano-Shushenskaya, and Mainskaya. Krasnoyarsk sea is an artificial lake created during the construction of Krasnoyarsk HPP. In the summer, it is a favorite recreation spot for residents of Krasnoyarsk. The Yenisei has been polluted by waste from plutonium processing plants.
More than five hundred rivers run into the Yenisei. The river carries 600 cubic kilometers of water to the Kara Sea a year. The river is the most important waterway of Krasnoyarsk Krai. There is a regular shipping route between Krasnoyarsk to Dudinka that carries a fair amount of freight. The main embankment of Krasnoyarsk city goes along the river.
Boat Travel on the Yenisei River
During the summer ferries operate between Krasnoyarsk and northern destinations such as Dudinka and Vorontsovo, both about 1,900 kilometers (1,200 miles) north of Krasnoyarsk. The down stream voyages to the north takes about four days and the upstream trips back to Krasnoyarsk take about six days. It is possible to fly one way and travel by boat the other.
The boats leave every two to four days, and are usually not full but you may have trouble getting a ticket in the class you want. The boats stop in Yeniseysk (413 kilometers north of Krasnoyarsk), Bakhat (1023 kilometers) and Igarka (1744 kilometers). Dudinka is a seagoing port at the mouth of Yenisey. It is the capital of the Yaymar (Dolgan-Nenets) Autonomous District.
On the Krasnoyarsk–Yeniseysk–Igarka–Dudinka ferry, Lonely Planet reports: “From mid-June to early October, passenger ships slip along the Yenisey River from Krasnoyarsk to Dudinka in the Arctic Circle (4½ days) via Yeniseysk (17 hours) and Igarka (three days and two to seven hours). There are three to four sailings per week, most departing early morning. Returning upstream, journeys take 50% longer so most independent travellers choose to fly back to Krasnoyarsk. Foreigners are not allowed beyond Igarka, as Dudinka and nearby Norilsk are ‘closed’ towns. Contact SibTourGuide in Krasnoyarsk for timetables, tickets and round-trip tours.”
Vanavara (700 kilometers northeast of Krasnoyarsk) is a rural locality (a selo) in Evenkiysky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, located on the Podkamennaya Tunguska River at the mouth of the local Vanavarki River. It is home to about 3,153 people and is served by Vanavara Airport.
Vanavara is notable for being the nearest populated place to the site of the 1908 Tunguska event. The locality as it exists today was founded in 1932 as a base for herders, hunters, and fishermen, as well as a location for a weather station. The Tunguska event isn’t the only disaster to occur near the town. In September 1994, a plane flying from Krasnoyarsk to Tura was diverted to Vanavara Airport due to bad weather. Running out of fuel the crew, attempted an emergency landing on the bank of the Chamba River 41 kilometers from Vanavara centre. All twenty-four passengers and four crew died in the crash. In December 2010, an explosion occurred in a boiler in the heating plant in Vanavara. A fireman was killed in the incident and heating was cut off for 720 houses, forcing the evacuation of many children to Krasnoyarsk. Heating has since been fully restored.
At 7:07am local time on June 30, 1908 in the remote forests and peat bogs on Tunguska in northern Siberia one of the world’s most astonishing and mystifying events took place. A blinding fireball visible for hundreds of miles exploded in the atmosphere seven kilometers above the Tunguska River with the force of ten Hiroshima atom bombs (10 to 15 megatons).
The powerful explosion knocked down taiga trees like dominoes in continuous lines in the area between the Hushmy and Kimchi rivers and the Stony Tunguska tributaries on about 2,000 square kilometers. The explosion, which occurred at an altitude of 5-10 kilometers, produced earth tremors and air shock waves, which circled the globe twice. Virtually the entire continent of Eurasia felt it. Seismic waves were recorded in Irkutsk, St. Petersburg, Cambridge.
The explosion, centered at 101E longitude and 62 N latitude, was the largest event caused by an object from space in the history of civilization. The blast devastated an area of 3,900 square kilometers (1,500 square miles), flattening all the trees in that area. Fires caused by the blast, which lasted for weeks, wiped out all the vegetarian in a 1,000 square kilometer area. Shock waves circled the earth and trees were knocked down in parallel lines in a circle with a 20 kilometers (12 mile) radius around the center of the explosion, yet there was no crater. At the center of the devastated are was a mysterious island of trees, blackened and stripped of their branches but still standing upright.
The shock wave and deafening thundering sounds from the blast were experienced 1,000 kilometers away. In Kansk, 600 kilometers away, horses were thrown to the ground. People in the town of Kirensk, 350 kilometers away, saw a “standing pillar” of fire. Before the explosion a falling star flashed across western China. During the "white night" that followed strange luminous clouds surrounded the earth. People throughout Western Europe were able to read newspapers and take photographs at night. Scientist attributed the lights and luminous clouds to unusually bright northern lights.
The only people who saw the Tunguska Fireball it were some Tughus (Evenkh) reindeer herders. They described the object as a “bluish cylinder”“ followed by a multi-colored vapor trail. Nomads living 25 miles away were thrown from their tents. A farmer named S.B. Semyenov said his clothes nearly burnt onto his body.” It is not known how many people were killed if any. An estimated 4,500 reindeer were killed, including 1,500 that were incinerated to dust.
Explanations of the Tunguska Fireball
Most scientists think the Tunguska Fireball explosion was caused by an exploding meteor, or possibly a small asteroid or comet. But no impact carter or mineral evidence of such an event was found. The destruction didn't match the damage caused by a meteor. Some have suggested that the explosion was caused by a comet because comets are composed of water and frozen gases such as ammonia and would not leave behind much physical evidence after an explosion. An explosion could have been caused by such an object suddenly being heated as it entered the earth’s atmosphere but it seems if this these had occurred the comet would have been observed approaching the earth.
Because of the remote location of the Tunguska River, no investigation into the phenomena was launched until 20 years later. In 1927, a scientific expedition led by Russian meteorite specialist Leonid A. Kulik went to Vanavary in 1927, the nearest settlement to the explosion. With two Evenki assistants he explored a giant valley, surrounded by small mountains, entirely covered with fallen trees. In this area, Kulik said there was a uniform continuous burning trees, shrubs, and the moss, He found dozens of flat funnels with diameters from 70 centimeters to 50 meters and depths up to four meters. He also found plant mutation in the explosion area but didn't find any meteorites or crater, which usually occurs after a meteorite fall, on this expedition and a later expedition. They did find some cosmic spherules and speculated they were caused by a stony meteorite that got sucked into a bog, but were unable to attach firm dates or explantions to the finds. The reason an investigation was launched so late was that Soviet scientists initially thought the event was caused by an earthquake and dismissed reports from nomads that it was caused by something coming from the sky as poppycock.
Because no definitive proof that a cosmic body struck the area was found, a host of explanations, theories and hypotheses have been proposed: comet rain, a laser attack, a volcanic eruption, and a collision with a cloud of space dust.. Farfetched explanations for the event include a wandering black hole, an alien spacecraft and collision between matter and anti-matter. The famous scientist Nikola Tesla thought it was because a death ray he built missed its target and thanked god no one was hurt and dismantled it. The local Evenkh people attributed the event local gods and shamanistic phenomena.
Scientist believe the blast was probably caused by the disintegration at an altitude of 10,000 meters (33,000 feet) of a 30-meter-in-diameter, 100,000-ton stone asteroid traveling at 2,500 kilometers mer hour (1,500 mph). The reason no crater or fragments were found is because it exploded so far above the earth. If the object had struck a few hours later it would have devastated cities in northern Europe rather than one of the remotest places on earth.
Tunguska National Nature Reserve
Tunguska Reserve (north of Vanavara) a unique area of the central part of the Central Siberian Plateau in the Evenk municipal district of the Krasnoyarsk Territory. Covering 2965.62 square kilometers with a protected zone of a little more than 20,000 hectares, the Tunguska Reserve is inextricably linked with the history and the June 30, 1908 event.
Territory of the reserve can be divided into two parts: 1) the first is the 2,000 square kilometer area affected by the 1908 Tunguska explosion. In much of this area the taiga was burned and the trees were knocked down. Since the event, now more than one hundred years ago, the taiga was restored, and now this area is used for studying of the environmental impacts associated with the Tunguska fireball. 2) the second part of the reserve was not affected by the Tunguska explosion. This area serves as a control in the study of the impacts of the 1908 events and is where natural systems and the impact of global man-made pollution are studied.
The reserve sites on a low plateau, dissected by deeply incised river valleys. The site is dominated by northern taiga trees. Some places are heavily waterlogged. About 70 percent of the territory is covered by mixed forests. The climate is continental. In the winter the temperature reaches -58 degrees C; in the summer it rises to 30 degrees C.
Museum of the Tunguska Meteorite (in Vanavara) was opened in June 2008, to mark the the 100-year anniversary of Tunguska event in the Evenkia regional museum. Most of the stuff in the museum relates to the Evenki ethnic group not the event, The museum contains an interesting collection of antiques, photographs, books, which previously belonged to the old-timers of Evenkia. Among the valuable items are a shaman's costume, a metal loon from the pre-The Soviet era, a tsarist era the five-liter copper kettle imperial times, and a collection of Evenki tools and household items. An Evenki camp, with a hunting hut, goal (a winter Evenk tent that allows to sleep in the cold season, keep a fire going and protect against large predators) and an arangaz (an Evenki winter burial in the thick trunk of a larch tree) have ben recreated. Related to Tunguska event is an 180 year old larch cut from the Tunguska explosion site. The tree rings after the event clearly show accelerated growth of the tree immediately after the explosion. Trehhvoynye pine beams show signs of mutation processes in the area of the explosion
Norilsk (200 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle) is the world's northernmost city with more than 100,000 inhabitants and the second-largest city (after Murmansk) north of the Arctic Circle. Norilsk and Yakutsk are the only large cities in the continuous permafrost zone. Established by Stalin n 1933 as a prison camp, it the home to about 175,000 permanent residents (and 225,000 if temporary ones are added in), most of whom's livelihood is tied up with a sprawling collection of mines and smelters that annually produce 200,000 tons of nickel (20 percent of the world's supply) and 20 percent of its palladium.
Norilsk is located east of the Yenisei River and south of the western Taymyr Peninsula. Mining began in the Norilsk area in the 1920s. The Soviet government created the "Norilsk Combine" in 1935 and passed control to the NKVD (forerunner of the KGB). In 1943 Norilsk produced 4,000 tons of refined nickel and in 1945 hit the target figure of 10,000 tons. Mining and metal production continued first with Gulag forced labour, later with much volunteer labour owing to the comparatively good wages offered.
There are no roads to Norlisk. There is a railway but is freight only. The only way to get in or out of the city is by plane or helicopter. All the food and supplies are brought in from the outside. Even if snow didn't cover the ground most of year, growing crops would be next to impossible because the soil is contaminated with heavy metals. There isn't much to do except go to bars and the local movie theater.
In the Soviet era, many of the residents that came here were attracted by high wages but after the collapse of the Soviet Union they had trouble getting their pay checks on time, couldn’t afford the high prices and suffered from health problems caused by breathing toxic fumes that have also managed to effectively kill the forests 60 miles to the southeast of town. The economy has now stabilized and is prospering as nickel and palladium are usually highly sought after.
Nornikel(known until 2016 as Norisk Nikel) is one of the of he world's largest producers of nickel, cobalt and platinum. Owned by the oligarch Vladamir Potanin and headquartered in Moscow, it owns a huge nickel production complex and possesses about 20 percent of the world's nickel reserves. Nornikel owns the huge mine in Norlisk and its name is derived from the mine
Nornikel produces 20 percent of the world's nickel and 20 percent of its palladium as well as significant amounts of copper, cobalt. platinum and rhodium. It has annual sales of around $11.6 billion and employs over 96,000 people. In the late 1990s it also had $2 billion in wage, energy and tax debts and created huge environmental problems. The company has overcome the former but not the latter..
Nornikel was created by combining six metallurgical facilities. The oligarchs fought for control of the company with Potanin acquiring a 38 percent share for only $170 million in a loans for shares. deal in1995 Norilsk has courted investors from Asia and America.
Russia is the world’s largest nickel producer. Nickel is a metal that is essential in the making of stainless steel and other alloys. It is important in the chemical and aerospace industries. Leading producer include the former U.S.S.R., Canada, Australia and New Caledonia. Most of Russia’s nickel comes from a huge mine in Norisk, above the Arctic Circle in Siberia,.
Norlisk’s Mine, Nickel Deposits and Pollution
The nickel deposit in Norilsk is called Norilsk-Talnakh By all measures, it is the largest nickel-copper-palladium deposit in the world. It was formed 250 million years ago during the eruption of the Siberian Traps igneous province (STIP). The STIP eruption produced over one million cubic kilometers of lava, a large portion of it through a series of flat-lying lava conduits lying below Norilsk and the Talnakh Mountains. The Siberian Traps are considered to be responsible for the mass extinction event at the end of the Permian. [Source: Wikipedia]
The ore was formed when the erupting magma became saturated in sulfur, forming globules of pentlandite, chalcopyrite, and other sulfides. These sulfides were then "washed" by the continuing torrent of erupting magma, and upgraded their tenor with nickel, copper, platinum, and palladium. The current resource known for these mineralised intrusions exceeds 1.8 billion tons.
The ore is mined underground via several shafts, and a decline. The ore deposits are currently being extracted at greater than 1,200 meters below ground. The ore deposits are drilled from the surface. The deposits are being explored using electromagnetic field geophysics, with detection loops on the Earth's surface with dimensions of over 1,000 meters on a side. They are conclusively able to image the conduction nickel ore at depths in excess of 1,800 meters. The nickel ore concentrate and other products of the company are transported over a short railroad to the port city of Dudinka on the Yenisei River, and from there by boat to Murmansk and other ports.
Norilsk Nickel is known as one of Russia's most polluting companies, releasing approximately 1.67 million tonnes of harmful sulphur dioxide every year into the air, according to 2018 figures. Ore is smelted on site in Norilsk. The smelting is directly responsible for severe pollution, including acid rain and smog. By some estimates, 1 percent of the entire global emissions of sulfur dioxide originates here. Heavy metal pollution in the area is so severe that the soil itself has platinum and palladium content which is feasible to mine.
Sights in Norilsk
Norilsk is home to the Norilsk Polar Drama Theater and has an art gallery, a cultural center, a sports and entertainment complex, and many monuments and historical buildings. There is a Russian Orthodox cathedral, several Russian Orthodox churches and a Ukrainian Orthodox church. The mosque in Norilsk, built in 1998 and belonging to the local Tatar community, is considered to be the northernmost mosque in the world..
First House of Norilsk was built in August 1921 at zero picket by the participants of the expedition under the leadership of Nikolai Nikolaevich Urvantseva that came to Norlisk to follow up of the 1920 geological expedition in 1920 that revealed a peak of the mineral riches in the area. Urvantseva’s expedition spent the winter in Norilsk, mapped out the first mine and made meteorological observations. Members of the expedition built a house, consisting of three rooms and a kitchen - the first house of Norilsk. In 1985, the house became part of the memorial complex on the picket Zero, which operated for five years. It is now a museum.
Norilsk Museum was in 1939. In its first incarnation the museum exhibition in contained ores and non-metallic minerals, and building materials used in Norilsk region. Now it has that plus a collection of igneous and sedimentary rocks from all over the Krasnoyarsk as wel as exhibits local history, the history of the discovery of the Norilsk ore field, the history of construction of the city, and the story of agricultural production of state farms "Norilsk" and "North". Since 2000, the museum has been housed in a former Lenin theater.
Museum of History of Exploration and Development of Norilsk Industrial Region was founded in 1939 and underwent major reconstruction between 2002 and 2005. The museum’s collections contain more than 60,000 units. It has won a number of awards.
Putorana Plateau: UNESCO World Heritage Site
Putorana Plateau(300 kilometers east of Norlisk) is the northernmost and one of the most ancient volcanic plateaus. Covering 18,872.5 square kilometers, it is located to the south of the Taymyr Peninsula and takes up the major part of a vast rectangle formed by the Yenisei, Kheta, Kotuy, and Nizhnyaya (Lower) Tunguska rivers. The plateau is difficult access: there are virtually no roads in the region and only way to get there is by helicopter or boat. Tourist groups travel to the plateau from Norilsk by water. The tours take 6–10 days and cost is 80,000-150,000 rubles per person (the cost of flying to Norilsk not included). A visit to Putorana is included in several cruises on the Yenisei. With these you spend two days on the plateau.
The Putorana Plateau was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003. According to UNESCO: “ This site coincides with the area of the Putoransky State Nature Reserve, and is located in the central part of the Putorana Plateau in northern Central Siberia. It is situated about 100 kilometers north of the Arctic Circle. The part of the plateau inscribed on the World Heritage List harbours a complete set of subarctic and arctic ecosystems in an isolated mountain range, including pristine taiga, forest tundra, tundra and arctic desert systems, as well as untouched cold-water lake and river systems. A major reindeer migration route crosses the property, which represents an exceptional, large-scale and increasingly rare natural phenomenon.
“The combination of remoteness, naturalness and strict protection ensure that ecological and biological processes continue at a large scale with minimal human influence. The property provides a dramatic demonstration of ecological processes, including the interactions between healthy populations of a full range of Arctic fauna. A major reindeer migration crosses part of the property. The property is also one of the very few centers of plant species richness in the Arctic.
“A vast and diverse landscape of striking natural beauty, the Putorana Plateau is pristine and not affected by human infrastructure. Its superlative natural features include an extensive area of layered basalt traps that has been dissected by dozens of deep canyons; countless cold water rivers and creeks with thousands of waterfalls; more than 25,000 lakes characterized by a fjord-like formation that is associated with a large variation in the relief. The immense arctic and boreal landscapes remain intact with carpets of lichens and forest that are unusual at such northern latitudes.
“The property displays a comprehensive set of ecological and biological processes associated with its diverse arctic and subarctic ecosystems. Its bio-geographical location, on the border of the tundra and taiga biomes and at the transition between Western and Eastern Siberian floras, makes the property one of only a few centers of plant species richness in the Arctic. The combination of landscape diversity, remoteness, naturalness and degree of protection are extraordinary. In addition, the property may provide valuable evidence on the impacts of climate change to large-scale natural arctic ecosystems if proper monitoring and research take place.”
Topography and Climate of the Putorana Plateau
Hundreds of thousands of years ago the Putorana Plateau was home to glaciers. As a result of their movement the plateau was divided by flat-bottomed canyons with steep walls up to several meters high. The highest point is 1,701 meters. This is the Kamen (Stone) Mountain — the highest point on the Central Siberian Plateau.
The narrow long lakes here leave a lasting impression. These are some of the deepest (Khantai Lake's maximum depth is 520 meters) and the most beautiful lakes in Russia. In a deep mountain valley there is a drainage lake with high steep shores — Lama Lake. Its area equals 466 square kilometers and it's maximum depth is 208 meters. The temperature of the water in Lama Lake is rather low — about 4°C, even in the summer. The Putorana Plateau is often called “The land of ten thousand lakes and a thousand waterfalls”. There is no place in Russia that has more waterfalls. There is also the highest waterfall in Eurasia — Talnikovy Waterfall, at a height of 482 meters.
The Putorana plateau is in a zone of permafrost. The winter here is extremely cold — the temperature may drop to 44°C below zero — so the best time to visit this place is summer, especially the polar day period (July 11–August 2). The absolute temperature maximum during this time is 30°C. At the same time you can raft down the rivers Khugdyakit, Ambardah, and Maimecha, which also offer excellent opportunities for fishing. The southern part of the Putorana plateau is on the borderline between subarctic and temperate zones, which results in an extremely diverse wildlife.
Permafrost Museum in Igarka
Igarka (200 kilometers south of Norlisk) is the home of the Museum of Permafrost, founded in 1965. The world's only museum devoted to permafrost, it contains an underground area deep in the frozen ground. Several exhibition halls are located at a depth of 14 meters, where the temperature is constant at about -5°C. Among the oldest exhibits are pieces of Ice Age ice more than 50,000 years old, and ice larch dated to 36,000 years ago.
Among the exhibits in the museum are the construction of the Salekhard-Igarka railway, also referred to as Dead Road and the Stalinbahn, an incomplete railway in northern Siberia built by Gulag labor; "The History of Repression in Igar Region", which includes documents, photos and objects on the subject; and "Viktor Astafjevs and Igarka," dedicated to the life and the creative work of the famous Siberian writer.
Among the permanent collections of the museum are "The flora and fauna of the Igar region"; "The development of the North"; "That was the beginning of Igarka"; "History spetspereseleny"; "Creation of local artists"; "Traditions of the indigenous peoples of the North" and others. The main attraction is descending into the 14-meter-deep shaft, and going back 70,000 years in frozen time. The fragments of trees sticking out of the walls of the mine are contemporaries of the first people. Since 2009, the museum has held wedding ceremonies. You can get to Igarka only by air and on the Yenisei River ferry. A flight from Krasnoyarsk costs 30,000 rubles round trip.
The Arctic is defined as the area north of the Arctic Circle (66 degrees 30' latitude), which is 2,655 kilometers (1650 miles) south of the North Pole, or an area in the northern hemisphere (excluding high mountains), where the warmest month has a mean temperature of less than 50 degrees F (10 degrees C). The coldest part of the Arctic, the "polar segment," is where the warmest month has a mean temperature of less than freezing (32 degrees F, 0 degrees C). Areas where the mean temperature of the warmest month is between freezing and 50 degrees F are sometimes called the "subarctic."
The Arctic is colder than the equator because the slant of the earth in the Arctic region means that it gets less direct sunlight than the equator where the earth directly faces the sun. In the winter parts of the Arctic doesn't receive any sunlight at all because the earth’s tilt causes the Arctic regions to become situated beyond the sun’s rays.
Russians visited the far northern reaches of the Russian Arctic in Novaya Zemlya from the 11th century, when hunters from Novgorod visited the area. The first Western Europeans came in search of a northern sea route. The first to visit area was the Englishman Hugh Willoughby in 1553. Dutch explorer Willem Barentsz, the source of the name Barents Sea, reached the west coast of Novaya Zemlya in 1594, and in a subsequent expedition of 1596, he rounded the northern cape and wintered on the northeastern coast. Barentsz died during the expedition, and may have been buried on Severny Island. Henry Hudson came to the region in 1608 while searching for the Northeast Passage but was to turned back by impenetrable ice in July.
Taymry Peninsula (north of Norlisk) is a huge piece of land that juts into the Arctic Ocean. Covering 400,000 square kilometers (150,000 square miles), it comprised of tundra, rock and glaciers and is the home to rare red-breasted goose, musk ox and 400,000 wild reindeer. Some Nenets still live here. The length of the peninsula is 1,050 kilometers (652 miles) and the widthis 520 kilometers (323 miles). The highest elevation is 1,125 meters (3,691 feet), in the Byrranga Mountains.
The Taymyr Peninsula forms the northernmost part of the mainland of Eurasia and lies between the Yenisei Gulf of the Kara Sea and the Khatanga Gulf of the Laptev Sea. Lake Taymyr and the Byrranga Mountains are located within the vast Taymyr Peninsula. Cape Chelyuskin, the northernmost point of the Eurasian continent, is located at the northern end of the Taymyr Peninsula.
The Nganasan people are an indigenous Samoyedic people inhabiting central Siberia, including the Taymyr Peninsula. In the Russian Federation, they are recognized as being one of the Indigenous peoples of the Russian North. They reside primarily in the settlements of Ust-Avam, Volachanka, and Novaya in the Taymyrsky Dolgano-Nenetsky District of Krasnoyarsk Krai, with smaller populations residing in the towns of Dudinka and Norilsk as well. The isolated location of the Nganasan people enabled them to maintain shamanistic practices even in the 20th century.
Cape Chelyuskin is northernmost point of Russian and of Eurasian mainland. Muskox were successfully reintroduced to the Taymyr Peninsula region in 1975 The peninsula is the site of the last known naturally occurring muskox outside of North America, which died out about 2,000 years ago.  They were successfully reintroduced in 1975. The population grew to 2,500 animals in 2002 increasing to 6,500 in 2010.
The coasts of the Taymyr Peninsula are frozen most of the year, between September and June on average. The summer season is short, especially on the shores of the Laptev Sea in the northeast. The climate in the interior of the peninsula is continental. Winters are harsh, with frequent blizzards and extremely low temperatures. The average low temperatures for January, February and March are -33 degrees C.
Dikson: the World's Northernmost Town
Dikson (700 kilometers north of Norlisk) is the world's northernmost town (73 degrees 32'N), with a population of 500. The northernmost settlement (78 degrees 55'N) is Ny Ålesund, a coal mining settlement in Vest-Spitsbergen in the Norwegian territory of Svaldard. Its population varies seasonally from 25 to 100.
Dikson is located on the shore of the Yenisei Gulf. It is surrounded by the arctic desert. The landscapes here are surreal and rugged. A snowstorm in the winter can last for four to five days non-stop and polar bears often visit. Local residents are significantly different from the population of the “mainland”. The North changes people, and the locals take on a very different attitude. If you happen to talk with a Diksonian, you will understand this right away.
From Moscow, Dixon can only be reached by plane with a transfer (the cost is about 60,000 rubles per an adult round trip). There are also flights from Norilsk that cost about 30,000 per an adult round trip. The ships Valery Chkalov and Alexander Matrosov, cruising along the Yenisei, call at Dikson. The duration of tours is 14–17 days, and the cost is 150,000–190,000 rubles.
Great Arctic State Nature Reserve
The Great Arctic State Nature Reserve is the largest reserve in Russia and Eurasia as well as one of the largest in the world.. Located in the Dixonovsky Administrative District of Taimyr (Dolgan-Nenets) Autonomous Okrug in Krasnoyarsk Krai, it covers an area of 41,692 square kilometers (16,097 square miles), which roughly the same size as Switzerland
Created in 1993, the Great Arctic Reserve is located in the Taimyr-Central Siberian tundra ecoregion, which covers the Taymyr Peninsula in the Russian Far North.Most of the reserve is located within the Arctic tundra zone, with its northernmost parts in the Arctic desert zone. The Arctic desert has almost no vegetation: only a tiny fraction of the surface is covered with lichens and mosses, and there are no trees or shrubs at all. The climate is defined as a tundra climate, which means that at least one month has an average temperature high enough to melt snow (0°C (32°F)), but no month has an average temperature in excess of 10°C (50°F).
The severity of the climate of the Arctic means that the fauna of the peninsula is not very rich either. Waterfowl are one of the main objects of conservation at the reserve. The Great Arctic State Nature Reserve is also home to 18 kinds of mammals, 14 of which are marine animals, 124 species of birds, including 55 species which nest in the reserve, and 29 species of fish. The animals that inhabit the reserve and surrounding areas include lemming, Arctic fox, wild reindeer, wolverine, ermine, walrus, seal, beluga whale, musk ox, and of course, polar bear.
The reserve is open to the public, but visitors have to request permission in advance. There are a number of environmental routes developed for tourists, such as the fishing and educational tour “Fishing on the Edge of the Earth” or “Khutuda-Biga, the river of life.” Those fond of birdwatching can visit the Willem Barents Biostation, in the vicinity of Dixon settlement.
The Great Arctic State Nature Reserve is divided into nine sections: 1) Dikson - Sibiryakov section. 2) The Kara Sea Islands section, with a surface of 4,000 square kilometers (1,500 sq mi). It includes the Sergei Kirov Islands, the Voronina Island, the Izvestiy TSIK Islands, the Arkticheskiy Institut Islands, the Sverdrup Island, the Uedineniya Island and a number of smaller islands. This section represents rather fully the natural and biological diversity of Arctic Sea islands of the eastern part of the Kara Sea. 3) The Pyasino section. Includes the Pyasino Gulf and the Pyasina River basin. 4) The Middendorff Bay 5) The Nordenskiöld Archipelago 6) The Lower Taimyr section. Includes the basin of the Taimyr River (upper and lower), as well as Lake Taimyr. 7) The Chelyuskin Peninsula. Includes the northern end of the Taimyr Peninsula 8) The Northern Reserve. And 9) The Brekhovsky Islands Natural Reserve
Image Sources: Wikimedia Commons
Text Sources: Federal Agency for Tourism of the Russian Federation (official Russia tourism website russiatourism.ru ), Russian government websites, UNESCO, Wikipedia, Lonely Planet guides, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, National Geographic, The New Yorker, Bloomberg, Reuters, Associated Press, AFP, Yomiuri Shimbun and various books and other publications.
Updated in September 2020