Yakutia: Diamonds, Permafrost and the Ysyah summer festival
7 days / 6 nights cultural tour to Yakutia
Itinerary: Yakutsk – Hangalassky Ulus – Yakutsk – Us Hatyn – Yakutsk
DAY 1 Meeting in the airport of Yakutsk. Transfer to the hotel. Lunch and time to rest, then we will begin our sightseeing tour of the city whit a visit to the "Treasury of Yakutia" (exhibition) Yakutia accounts for around a quarter of the world's natural diamond production and is second only to South Africa. You will visit the Treasury of the Republic of Sakha in capital Yakutsk, where glittering samples of diamonds, gold and silver are on display. The exhibition introduces visitors to the history of the development of jewelry and jewelry industry from the past to the present day. City tour of the cosy "Old Town" is a historical and architectural complex, located in the city center. Walking through the "old town" you’ll see the buildings of the XIX century, the streets paved with blocks of wood, nice cafes and restaurants. Thanks to the restricted car traffic, you’ll dive into the atmosphere of the past. 19:00 Dinner in the local Yakutian cuisine restaurant “Tygyn Darhan”. The restaurant specializes in a modern interpretation of national dishes - the revival of ancient Yakut recipes adapted to modern technology, as well as quality natural local products: Lena river white fish, white salmon, whitefish, cisco, sturgeon, and the famous Yakut young horse meat and venison, local sweet berries. Return to hotel and overnight.
DAY 2 Breakfast at the hotel. In the morning we will take part in a visit of the world famous Mammoth Museum: an important part of the discoveries of mammoths, bison, woolly rhinoceros, muskox, cave lions and other animals long extinct were made in Yakutia. The Mammoth Museum was founded in 1991 in Yakutsk as scientific and cultural center studying mammoths and their environment before the ice age. In this unique museum, the only one of its kind, many valuable paleontological items are displayed. This museum has one of the world's most diverse collections of exhibits from the Ice Age. The centerpiece of the collection is the cryogenically (and completely) preserved head of a wooly mammoth. The mammoth head often travels to museums outside of Yakutsk. Visit of the Ethnographical Complex «Us Kut” - the homestead of the Atlasov family. Copies of different types of a traditional Yakut housing and utility rooms of a house. Lunch at the restaurant “Muus Haya” (local cuisine), the we will return to the hotel and enjoy some free time before our transfer to the boat station, where we will depart to Lena Pillars Nation Park (200 km from Yakutsk). Dinner on board and evening entertainment.
DAY 3 Breakfast. Arrival to Lena Pillars station. Shaman ritual, ascension to the peak of Lena Pillars. Lunch, then we will depart to a sandy island, where we will enjoy some free time (water sport, masterclasses). Dinner, the we will depart to Yakutsk. entertainment program on board.
DAY 4 Arrival in Yakutsk, transfer to the hotel, breakfast and check-in. In the morning we will take part in a visit to the diamond cutting and jewelry factory Yakut Diamond Company. Visit of the jewelry salon of the National Yakut Diamond Company. Certificate for a discounts for purchase of the certified Yakut Diamonds. Lunch at the restaurant “Avenue Le Grand”. Visit to the The Yaroslavsky United Yakutsk State Museum of History and Culture of People of the North - the main museum in the city, with an impressive collection of artifacts from various periods in the history of Yakutsk—beginning with the prehistoric and ending with the events of the 1990s. Of especial interest is the rich collection of stuffed wildlife from the North, and one of the world's few complete woolly mammoth skeletons. The museum was opened in 1891 and now occupies the unique architectural building - the Bishop’s Chambers. Visit of the “Kingdom of permafrost Museum”- Siberia’s Frozen Louvre. This is a museum complex, located in the glacier, inside the mountain. One of the most interesting places in northern Russia, Yakutsk Permafrost Museum, opened in the old tunnel near Yakutsk. This tunnel was drilled in 1989 and was intended for food storage. Later it was closed as unnecessary, but in 2008 it was acquired by a local travel agency. Now it is a unique dungeon, with the eternally low temperature of minus 10.5 degrees all year round. The museum walls are covered with frost, and the ground is riddled with ice veins. The excursion starts traditionally – so that the visitors get warm in the kingdom of eternal cold, they are met with ice shot glasses of vodka. Visit the tourist complex "Chochur Muran - Expedition 16.32" Beautifully located near the mountain Chochur Myraan, is designed as an exact copy of the Yakut Cossack fort. Tourist Complex "Expedition 16.32" is devoted to the foundation of the city of Yakutsk. It holds real, genuine things and objects of that times from private collections, rarely found even in museums. Dinner at the restaurant. Transfer to the hotel.
DAY 5 Breakfast and transfer to the Ust-Hatyn settlement, 18km out of Yakutsk – the location of the national fest called Ysyah – Sun Meeting. Ysyah is the most popular Yakutian holiday. Is a summer celebration in honor of the deity “aiyy” and the rebirth of nature, accompanied by ritual prayers, plentiful eating and kumys-drinking (kumys = horse milk), dances, folk games, horse races, competitions of strength. Yakut Ysyakh - the most important holiday in Yakutia. Ysyah word literally translates as "abundance", associated with the cult of the solar deities, religious cult of fertility. In fact it is the Yakut New Year. Before the 2nd World War Ysyakh was traditionally conducted on the summer solstice day - June 22. After the war, for moral and ethical reasons (Ysyakh date coincided with the beginning of the war in Russia on June 22, 1941) Ysyakh is being held between June 10 and June 25, depending on the local preferences and weekend days. Researchers believe that the ancestral home of the summer holidays are the steppes of Central Asia. Elements of the Yakut festival have similar features to the summer holidays of the Turkic peoples: Tuva, Altai, Tatars, Bashkirs, and others. Yakuts preserved ancient tradition of typical pastoral peoples - to divide the year into two halves, and the Ysyakh is kind of boundary between the old and the new, past and future. The first written evidence of Western researchers can be found in the diaries of Dutch traveler Mr Ples, passing through Siberia to China at the end of the XVII century. He noted that this holiday is celebrated with great solemnity: Yakuts make bonfires and keep them all the time throughout the holiday. Full day participation in the festival – ethnic rituals, competitions, exhibitions of local crafts. Lunch of Yakut cuisine during the festival. Evening transfer to Yakutsk. Dinner at a city restaurant.
Day 6 (Optional, free of charge) 02:00 Transfer to Ust-Hatyn to take part in the spiritual pagan ritual “Meeting the Sun” Transfer back to the hotel and free time till the breakfast. Transfer to Ust-Hatyn for a new day celebration, devoted to different traditional sports competitions. During the celebration, symbolizing the beginning of summer and the awakening of nature, people remember their ancestors and their customs. Ethnographer Catherine Romanov believes that such a feast for the Yakuts is not just an excuse to have fun. "In Yakutia they have a very long winter - she says. - And the only opportunity to meet for all the relatives - it's during these dates. " Upon return to Yakutsk, lunch at a city restaurant. Free time for exploring the city and pick up a few souvenirs. Dinner in the restaurant.
DAY 7 Early breakfast, followed by the airport transfer. Depart from Yakutsk.
Dates and Prices
Scheduled departure: end of june*
Prices per person, including accommodation in a DBL/twin room.
|No of Pax.||Price|
*the exact dates are not available yet; package tour also available on request, departures every day.
- Accommodation in a double room at the 4* hotel "Polyarnaya Zvezda "(Polar Star)
- 1 overnight stay in a TWN boat cabin
- Transfers and excursions as indicated in the program, English speaking guide
- Meals: as per itinerary
- Entrance tickets: as per itinerary
- Visa service and fees
- Alcoholic beverages
- International Airfare
- Extras and on-request additional features
The order of the included excursions may change. Because of the unstable conditions of the EUR/RUB exchange rate, the price published on this website may be subject to changes.