Yakutsk is the capital of the Republic of Sakha (formerly Yakutia), Eastern Siberia, Russia. Situated on the left bank of the middle Lena, it is a major port on the river.
Founded in 1632, Yakutsk is one of the oldest cities of Siberia. The modern Yakutsk with a population of 191,400 people is an industrial, scientific and cultural centre of Yakutia.
The founder of Yakutsk was a Russian Cossack Peter Beketov. It was founded in 1632 as a Yakutsky burg on the right bank of the Lena River about 70 kilometres downstream of the modern city. In 1642-1643 it was moved to the location of the modern Yakutsk. The city was to become the main centre for the conquest of much of northeast Asia, and a collecting point for furs and ivory.
For more than two centuries Yakutsk was the place where the routes connecting central parts of Russia with northeastern Asia, the coast and the islands of the Pacific Oceans and the North East of America, crossed. However for a long time Yakutsk was a provincial town known as a place of political exile. In 1917 the population of the town was only 7,000 people. After the Revolution of 1917 Yakutsk began to grow.
In 1922 the land became the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Republic and in 1992 grew into the sovereign Republic of Sakha of the Russian Federation with its own elected president.
Winters in Yakutsk are long and come early. The average temperature in November is –27°C, while in December and January it falls to –40° C. In February the temperature goes up but there is strong wind. In winters, there is often thick fog. Spring begins in March. The average temperature in March is –20°C. Summer in Yakutsk starts in June and lasts three months, July being the hottest. The temperature may rise to +28°C.
Places To See
The main places of interest are the Yakutsky Drama Theatre, the Russian Drama Theatre, the Opera and Ballet Theatre, the Philharmonic Hall, the Museum of Local Lore, the Fine Arts Museum, the Tower of the Yakutsk burg with wood hip-roof (1685), the stone buildings of the Spassky Monastery (1664) and the Nikolskaya Church (1852).
In Bakaldyn Ethnographic Complex one you can see life of the modern Evenks, the taiga nomads, and take part in the Evenki ceremonies. Address: Yakutsk, 45, Viluiskiy road (to the East of Yakutsk). The Friendship Historical and Architectural Museum houses various pieces of architecture, including traditional Yakut constructions.
The Museum of History and Culture of People of the North houses about 140 thousand exhibits. They include the interiors of Yakut summer and winter houses, Yakut shamans’ artifacts, a kayak from the first Russian polar expedition and the skeleton of a woolly mammoth.
In the Museum of Mammoth of the Academy of Science one can learn everything about mammoths. Skeletons of 40 thousand year old mammoths are represented there. The pictures of the Berelekh Cemetry, where the remnants of 150 mammoths were found, are exhibited throughout the year.
The Museum of Diamonds and Precious Stones is quite small. It exhibits geological wealth of Yakutia, a land of the precious stones and metals. Address: 12, Kirov Street, Yakutsk.
The Museum of Geology established in 1958 exhibits variety and wealth of mineral resources of Yakutia. Special interest is the collection of rocks and minerals of unprecedented layer of the rarest jewelry stone - the Charoit.
Music and Folklore Museum of the Nations houses various samples of people's and professional music culture.
The National Fine Arts Museum opened in 1946 has over 10,000 exhibits, including paintings, drawings and applied art. On display there are works of the Russian painters of XVIII-XX centuries, paintings of local artists and a small collection of the Eastern Art.
There are also several theatres in Yakutsk. They are the State Theatre of Humor and Satire (25 Kirov Street), the State Variety Theatre (2, Kalandarashvili Street), the National Dance Theatre (13 Dzerzhinskogo Street), the Yakut State Theatre of Opera and Ballet (46/1 Lenin Street) and the Sakha Academic Theatre (1, Ordzhonikidze Sq).