Whichever way you look at it, or measure it – there can be no doubt in anyone’s mind that what we’ve got here is one large territory. Indeed, it turns out it’s the largest subnational entity in the world in terms of land area – stretching across three time zones!
Yakutia, Russia (home to the Yakut people), or, officially, Sakha (home to the Sakha people) is very proud of its humungous dimensions, liking to compare itself with assorted European countries, a favourite for some reason being France: on Wikipedia (in Russian, at least) it says Yakutia is ‘five times as large as France’. (Why France? Why not Spain, Turkey or Ukraine?) There are plenty of other comparisons kicking about the Internet too like the one approximately equating Yakutia with the Mediterranean and Black Seas together.
Yakutia can boast not only a massive territory; it also rocks in terms of diamonds, is really cool on the permafrost front, and is extreme to the extreme on wintery cold – particularly in Oymyakon. There’s also the Kolyma Highway (the one Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman rode along on their round-the-world motorcycle trip in 2004), the Lena River, and – last and most – the Lena Pillars – which were where we were headed. Here are the pics:
How to get there
The road to the Lena Pillars is tiring, but fascinating. From Moscow to Yakutsk you can fly by plane, the price of the question is from 150 to 350 USD (depends on the season), the journey time is about 6.5 hours. Boats run from Yakutsk to the Lena Pillars. This part of the route is most often remembered for tourists, as the beauty of these edges fascinates. You can do this on a small boat or boat, or you can hire a private vessel. More details on the official website of the national park “Lena Pillars.”
The climate in the area of rocks is sharply continental, that is, contrast. If the temperature of the thermometer can fall below -35 ° C in winter, then in the summer it is quite possible to expect not only +20 ° C, but +40 ° C. Because of the river, the air is wet, so in winter there is an intense frost, and in the summer it is stifling.
The National Park “Lena Pillars”
The National Nature Park “Lena Pillars” was established in 1995 and has since attracted the attention not only of tourists, many of whom are foreigners, but also scientists. The fact is that the reserve, in addition to the picturesque rocks, is famous for its flora and fauna. Here lives a lot of animals and birds, including rare: bears, lynxes, wolverines, wolves, squirrels, elk, elk, hares, squirrels, muskrats, golden eagles, eagles, falcons, white herons. There are many fishes in the river, including valuable sturgeon, nelma and grayling. Many representatives of local flora and fauna are listed in the Red Book. It is not the first year that the Lena Pillars claim to include the reserve in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Lena Pillars are a forty-kilometre-long series of sheer cliffs that stretch along the right bank of the Lena River. Two hundred kilometres downstream is the city of Yakutsk, about a hundred kilometres – the city of Pokrovsk. The length of the rocks is more than forty kilometres. Today it is a natural reserve of Yakutia – cliffs in height from 40 to 100 meters each year become more beautiful and mysterious due to local climatic conditions.
The total area of the reserve is almost 500 thousand hectares. It is not only rocks, but also picturesque forests, and according to this feature two parts are singled out in the park: the Stolby itself and the Tukulan site (in translation from the Evenki “sand”). Here you can walk not one day on a variety of routes, visit the picturesque observation platforms, rafting along the river.
Particularly beautiful is the view of the pillars at sunrise: from afar the mountain range looks like an ancient castle or a magical palace with its outlines, and the river at the foot serves as a mirror making the pillars twice as large and majestic.
Archaeological value of the reserve
The ridge of the Lena Pillars began to form about 400 thousand years ago. In fact, these are precipitous cliffs, the base of which is the Cambrian limestone.
Cambria is the ancient name of the county of Wales. The fact is that limestones forming the rocks of the Lena Pillars were first discovered in England, on the territory of Wales.
On the territory of the Tukulan site, scientists discovered the remains of a mammoth, an ancient bison and an ancient rhino. And still, these places keep a memory of the parking of ancient people. The Lena Pillars themselves testify to this: using natural yellow paint, people drew various scenes from their lives on the rocks. These drawings, discovered not so long ago, seriously interested archaeologists and anthropologists.
Natural objects of the reserve “Lena Pillars”
The first columns appearing in the field of view make you forget about the difficulties of the path and attract attention to yourself. Rocks of red sandstone, sometimes overgrown with wood, are reflected in the smooth surface of the great river, cliffs of light grey limestone hang over the water, layers of quartzite gleaming in the sun. The rays of the setting sun change the picture, turning it from majestic to almost ominous. Not on any of these rocks, you can climb, but in the reserve, there are several survey sites at an altitude of about 100 meters, from here you can admire the surroundings and the great Siberian river.
The reserve offers its guests one- and two-day excursions, during which you can see a unique relief and local vegetation, listen to the story of animals that have long been inhabited in these places.
Photos courtesy of Eugeny Kaspersky
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