The capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic is Yakutsk, a large port on the Lena river and the largest city in the permafrost zone. It sits on the left bank of the Lena river in the Tuymaada valley.
The city history started in 1632 when the team under Sotnik (lieutenant of Cossack troops) Pyotr Beketov laid the Yakutsky (Lensky) ostrog (stockaded town). In 1643 the ostrog was shifted to the Tuymaada valley and received its current status and name of Yakutsk. In 1822 it became an oblast center and since 1851 the area has got an independent province status equal to gubernia (Governor’s territory) with the center in Yakutsk. In 1991 the city became capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic.
During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945 the city hosted the Administration of the air route called Alsib (Alaska-Siberia) for lend-lease aircraft shipments from the USA.
Yakutsk has a long and rich history. So the city can boast a lot of museums. The oldest one is the State united museum of history and culture of peoples of the North after Yaroslavsky founded in 1891. It has the natural history, scientific, archeology and ethnography expositions and krai local history materials.
In ancient times the area was inhabited by mammoths whose remains are still found in permafrost. Today Yakutia leads among regions with mammoth bone. The Mammoth museum tells about the old times and animals. Here at a depth of 12 meters is the underground laboratory of Melnikov permafrost institute that offers tours on the permafrost strata and ancient plants.
Besides that Yakutsk has the Museum of music and folklore of the peoples of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic and the People of the world khomus museum and center. This center exhibits over 400 vargan instruments from around the world.
In the city suburbs several ethnographic centers are found. Ytyk Khaya demonstrates all aspects of Yakut life. People celebrate national festivals here, and in winter time it is the platform for the ice sculpture festival. The Bakaldyn center tells of the Evenki culture and organizes reindeer sleigh ride. The Orto-Doidu tourist center has a small copy of the Yakutsk ostrog.
200 km south-west of Yakutsk is the Khangalassky ulus (region) with the main sight of the Lena, Pillars Nature Park. The Pillars are precipitous rocks up to 150 m high standing along the Lena for 80 km. Here one finds caves some of which are united in a complex system of labyrinths with stalactite formations, glacial incrustations and lakes.
That is only a part of the rich Sakha (Yakutia) heritage. We advise the visitor to find time and get here to make one’s own discoveries.