Why Travel To Yamal?
With much of Yamal territory above the Arctic Circle, Yamal means ‘edge of the world’ in the language of its indigenous people, the Nenets. The Yamal-Nenets Autonomous District spans from the slopes of the Polar Ural Mountains, north to the Kara Sea. Its administrative centre, the historic town of Salekhard (population 43,000) straddles the Arctic Circle.
Yamal was considered so inhospitable that Stalin built his prison camps here. And yet a rich, colourful and resilient culture has managed to survive here. It is the home of the Nenets, custodians of a style of reindeer herding that is considered the last of its kind. Our Yamal tours will expose you a daily way of life of the Nenets and their ways to survive Yamal’s extreme climate, the Nenets migrate with herds of up to 10,000 strong from their winter pastures in the southern taiga, north to their summer grazing lands near the Arctic Ocean.
Highlights of Travelling to Yamal Peninsula, Russia:
- Famous throughout Arctic Russia as being the best reindeer herders with the biggest herds, the longest migration routes and the most well-preserved culture, this off-the-beaten-track trip to the Yamal Peninsula will give you a rare glimpse into one of the last few surviving nomadic tribes in the world
- Yamal Tour will allow you to travel back in time and experience a cultural immersion like no other, live like the indigenous Nenets of Yamal, from sleeping in conical teepees known as ‘chums’ to working with reindeer and traversing through snowy forests on reindeer-pulled wooden sleds
- Be a part of the famous Reindeer Herder’s Festival - a major annual event that includes contests of physical skill and unique traditions
- Gain an understanding of Yamal’s age-old regional culture and natural history by visiting the Shemanovskiy Yamal-Nenets District Museum, with a fascinating exhibition on mammoth remains discovered in the region and the 16th-century fortress of Obdursk, the first-ever Russian settlement built in the area
Rarely visited by outsiders, our Yamal Tours provide the opportunity to experience traditions that have remained unchanged for thousands of years, and to hear from the Nenets themselves how vital it is to keep this extraordinary culture alive.