There is very little left for April 15. We are looking forward to seeing our Nenets friends and our friend and partner Aleksey. Everything is ready, and the visa, stuck in the passport.
Who are the Nenets? They are the shepherds of the End of the World.
You see, there is a place where winter temperatures drop to minus 50º C. Where the fifth longest river on the planet meanders beneath the ice, and where far beyond the eye can see nothing but torberas, streams and dwarf shrubs. In this place, a strong and vibrant culture flourished a long time ago, which it called this land, Yamal. Yamal, in the language of this culture, Nenet, means “the End of the World.”
The Nenet people of the Siberian Arctic are the last representatives of a unique herding style. They travel with their herds of reindeer, throughout the year, following the ancient migration routes, on a route of more than 1000 kilometers, from the pastures of molsa and summer lichens, in the north, to the winter pastures, in the taiga, just south of the Arctic Circle. A vast territory that has been the home of the Nenets for more than a millennium.
The Nenets live in the polar regions of northeastern Europe and northwestern Siberia, from the Kanin Peninsula in the White Sea to the Yenisey Delta. They also inhabit the islands of the Arctic Ocean and the Kola Peninsula. A territory of about a million square kilometers. The Nenets’ homeland is the tundra, a country of permafrost, many rivers, lakes (about 50,000) and vast swamps. Along the banks of the Ob River, the Nenets settlements reach into the vast forests of the Siberian taiga.
More than 10,000 nomadic Nenet herders and 300,000 “domestic” reindeer live on the Yamal Peninsula, which belongs to the Russian Federation and covers an area 1.5 times France.
With the arrival of spring, the Nenets and their herds begin their journey north. During this trip they will be setting up camps every three or four days. In the caravan, first the head of the family travels, with a light sled; then the children and women, then the sleighs with utensils and tools and the chum, his mobile home, the herd of reindeer and finally his sacred sleigh with its special load.
Did you like what we have told you? If so, and you want to know more about this incredible culture, before we leave we will tell you more.
See you soon!
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