Yakutia, also known as the Sakha Republic, is a federal subject of Russia located in the Far East region of the country. It is the largest subnational governing body by area, and it occupies about 20% of Russia’s total area. It shares borders with the Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions, as well as with the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug, Magadan Oblast, the Kamchatka Krai, and the Khabarovsk Krai. The capital and largest city of Yakutia is Yakutsk. The region is known for its remote and rugged terrain, as well as its vast reserves of diamonds and other precious minerals.
Population of Yakutia
Yakutia, also known as the Sakha Republic, is a federal subject of Russia located in the Far East region of the country. As of the 2010 Census, the population of Yakutia was approximately 958,528 people. However, the population of the region is relatively small and sparsely distributed due to the harsh climate and rugged terrain.
The Yakuts, an ethnic group indigenous to the region, make up a significant portion of the population. According to the 2010 Census, the Yakuts constitute around 50% of the population. Other ethnic groups represented in the region include the Russians, Evens, and Evenks.
Yakutia has a population density of just 0.1 people per square kilometer, making it one of the most sparsely populated regions in the world. Much of the population is concentrated in the cities and towns, with the majority of the rural areas being thinly populated.
In recent years, the population fluctuated around 990k with a slight decrease
Language in Yakutia
The official language of Yakutia is Russian. However, Yakut, also known as Sakha, is also widely spoken in the region.
Yakut is a Turkic language and is the native language of the Yakuts, the largest indigenous ethnic group in the region. It is considered a distinct language, with its own alphabet, grammar, and vocabulary. Yakut is written in the Cyrillic script and is taught in schools throughout the region.
Yakut is one of the few indigenous languages in Russia that has official status in its respective region, and it is considered to be in active use. It is protected by the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) law, which establishes the language as a state one. Also, it’s widely spoken among the Yakut population and it’s also spoken by some Evenk and Even people, as well as by some Russian people living in the region.
According to the 2010 Census, around 75% of the population of Yakutia speaks Yakut as their first language, while around 80% of the population speaks Russian. So the majority of the population is bilingual.
In addition to these two languages, other languages spoken in Yakutia include Evenk, Even, and Dolgan.
Culture followed in Yakutia
The culture of Yakutia is a mix of traditional indigenous practices and customs, as well as influences from Russian and Soviet culture.
The Yakut people, the largest indigenous ethnic group in the region, have a rich and distinctive culture. They have their own language, traditions, and customs, and they have a strong sense of cultural identity. Many Yakut people continue to practice traditional activities such as hunting, fishing, and herding, and they also maintain traditional spiritual beliefs.
The traditional Yakut culture has an animistic worldview, and the belief in the spirits of nature is prominent. Such as in their folk stories, songs, and rituals, the spirits of rivers, forests, and animals are invoked and respected. One of the most important festivals of the Yakuts is Ysyakh, celebrated at the beginning of June, are a celebration of the summer solstice and the beginning of the new year according to the Yakut calendar. It’s a time to give thanks to the spirits of nature and ancestors and to ask for their blessings.
Many Yakut people also continue to wear traditional clothing, such as the kaftan, a long, flowing robe, and the ushanka, a fur hat with earflaps. Yakut jewelry, such as silver rings, bracelets, and earrings, is also popular among Yakut women.
In recent years, there has been a growing interest in preserving and promoting the traditional Yakut culture, and there are now several organizations and initiatives dedicated to this goal.
In addition to traditional Yakut culture, Russian culture has also had a significant influence on Yakutia. Since the 18th century, when Russia first began to expand into the region, Russian culture has been introduced and adopted by many Yakut people. This can be seen in the adoption of the Russian Orthodox Church, the spread of the Russian language, and the incorporation of Russian customs and traditions.
Overall, the culture of Yakutia is a unique blend of traditional indigenous practices and customs, as well as influences from Russian and Soviet culture.
What is the main religion in Yakutia?
The main religion in Yakutia is Russian Orthodox Christianity. According to the 2010 Census, around 37% of the population of Yakutia adheres to the Russian Orthodox Church.
The Russian Orthodox Church has a long history in the region, dating back to the 17th century when the Russian Empire first began to expand into the area. The church has played an important role in the cultural and spiritual life of the people of Yakutia, and many of the region’s historic churches and monasteries are affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church.
However, traditional religions and beliefs of indigenous people still are widely practiced especially among the rural population. These traditional religions are based on ancestor worship and nature worship and involve a wide variety of rituals and ceremonies.
In addition to Russian Orthodox Christianity and traditional indigenous religions, other religions represented in Yakutia include Buddhism, Islam, and shamanism. Though the numbers of followers of these religions in Yakutia are relatively small, they coexist with Russian Orthodox Christianity and traditional indigenous religion relatively peacefully.
It’s also worth mentioning that in recent years, there has been a growing interest in various new religious movements, and a small number of people in Yakutia have converted to them.
Climate of Yakutia
The climate of Yakutia is subarctic to arctic and is characterized by long, cold winters and short, cool summers. The region is located in the far north of Asia and is one of the coldest inhabited places on Earth.
The average temperature in Yakutia varies greatly depending on the season. During the winter, temperatures can drop as low as -60 °C (-76 °F), while during the summer, temperatures can reach as high as 30 °C (86 °F). The mean temperature in January the coldest month is -40 °C (-40 °F) and July is the warmest month with a mean temperature of 15 °C (59 °F).
Precipitation in Yakutia is relatively low, with an average of 250-300 mm per year, most of it falling in the summer as rain or thunderstorms. Snowfall is common in the winter, and the region is also known for its heavy snowstorms, blizzards, and severe winds
Because of the harsh climate, vegetation in Yakutia is limited to tundra, with a mix of mosses, lichens, and small shrubs. In some parts of the region, there are also small pockets of boreal forest, where trees such as pine and larch can be found.
The permafrost, or permanently frozen soil that is found throughout much of Yakutia, also has a significant impact on the region’s climate. It can cause problems with infrastructure, buildings, and transportation.
Overall, the weather in Yakutia can be quite challenging, and the region can be inhospitable to human habitation. It requires special gear, clothing, and equipment to withstand the weather and to be able to work and live in such conditions.
Speciality of Yakutia
Yakutia is known for a number of unique characteristics and specialties. Some of the most notable include:
- Extreme cold: Yakutia is one of the coldest inhabited regions on earth, with temperatures reaching as low as -60 °C (-76 °F) in the winter. This harsh climate has shaped the region’s culture and way of life, with many traditional activities such as hunting, fishing, and herding taking place in extremely cold weather.
- Diamonds: Yakutia is a major diamond-producing region and one of the world’s leading suppliers of diamonds. The diamond mines in Yakutia have played a significant role in the economy of the region.
- Permafrost: Much of Yakutia is covered in permafrost, or permanently frozen soil, which has a significant impact on the region’s climate, ecology, and infrastructure.
- Indigenous culture: Yakutia is home to the Yakut people, the largest indigenous ethnic group in the region, and the Yakut culture is an important part of the region’s identity. Yakut’s traditional culture and art are well known for their unique characteristics, such as its animistic worldview, traditional clothing, and traditional Yakut jewelry.
- Natural resources: Yakutia is rich in natural resources, with large reserves of coal, oil, gas, gold, and other minerals. The region’s natural resources have played an important role in its economy and development.
- Beautiful landscapes: The region offers a wide range of natural landscapes, from the snowy tundra of the northern regions to the dense forests of the southern areas. It is known for its rugged and remote wilderness, which offers a variety of outdoor activities such as trekking, hiking, and fishing.
- Space research: It’s worth noting that Yakutia also has a few space research centers, as it’s situated in the Northern hemisphere, it provides good conditions for observing the Northern lights, and for rocket launching.
All in all, Yakutia is a unique and remote region, with a diverse range of cultures, landscapes, and resources that set it apart from the rest of the world.
Attractions in Yakutia
Yakutia offers a variety of attractions for visitors, both natural and cultural. Some of the most popular tourist destinations and things to see and do in the region include:
- Lena Pillars Nature Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the banks of the Lena River, this park is known for its towering rock formations, some reaching up to 300m. The park is also home to a variety of wildlife, including bears, wolves, and reindeer.
- Mammoth Museum: This museum in Yakutsk is dedicated to the discovery, study, and preservation of mammoths and other ancient animals. Visitors can see a variety of fossils, casts, and models of extinct animals, as well as learn about the latest research and theories about these ancient creatures.
- Old Believers’ Villages: These traditional villages are scattered across Yakutia and are home to members of the Old Believers, a sect of the Russian Orthodox Church that split from the main church in the 17th century. The villages are known for their traditional architecture and way of life.
- Sakha National Theater: This theater in Yakutsk is a showcase for Yakut culture and performances, hosting a variety of traditional Yakut performances and plays throughout the year.
- Olonkho: It’s traditional epic storytelling, which is one of the most notable examples of the oral tradition of the Yakut people. The stories are passed down through generations and tell the legends, myths, and history of the Yakut people.
- Olenek: A small village located on the banks of the Olenek River, it’s an excellent spot for fishing and hunting.
- Oymyakon: The coldest permanently inhabited place on Earth, which is known for its extreme weather and temperatures that can drop below -60°C. It’s a popular destination for adventure seekers and those looking to experience the harsh beauty of Yakutia’s coldest landscapes.
- The Arctic Circle: Yakutia is located close to the Arctic Circle, and visitors can take a trip to see the Midnight Sun, the Northern Lights, and other unique Arctic phenomena.
Overall, Yakutia offers a wide range of opportunities for visitors to experience its unique culture, history, and natural beauty. From the ancient stories and traditions of the Yakut people to the rugged wilderness of the far north, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.