Yamal & Nenets. Herders from the End of the World. (Part 1)
Amaroqexplorers.com

There is very little for April 15. We are eager to seeing our friends Nenets and our friend and fellow, Aleksey. Everything is ready, and the visa is in our passport already.

That who are the Nenets? They are the shepherds from the End of the World.

You see, there is a place where winter temperatures drop to 50º C below zero. Where meanders, under the ice, the fifth longest river in the world and where even far beyond where the eye can see, there is only meadows, streams and dwarf shrubs. In this place, it thrived long time ago, a strong and vibrant culture, which called this land, Yamal. Yamal in the language of this culture, in nenet,  means “World’s End“.

nenet tempesta

The Siberian Arctic Nenet people are the last representatives of an unique style of herdering. They travel with their herds of reindeer, throughout the year, following ancient migration routes, a distance of over 1,000 kilometers, from the pastures of mosses and lichens in summer from the North, to the winter pastures in the taiga, just south of the Arctic Circle. A large area that has been  their Nenet’s home for more than a millennium.

The Nenet people live in the polar regions of northeastern Europe and northwestern Siberia, from the Kanin Peninsula in the White Sea to the delta of the Yenisey. They also inhabit the Arctic Ocean islands and the Kola Peninsula. A territory of about one million square kilometers. The homeland of the Nenets is the tundra, a country of permafrost, many rivers, lakes (about 50,000) and extensive wetlands. Along the banks of the Ob River, the Nenet settlements reach the long extensive territory of  forests of the Siberian taiga.

nens nenet

In the Yamal Peninsula, which belongs to the Russian Federation and occupies an area of 1.5 times France, live more than 10,000 nomadic herders and 300,000 “domestic”reindeer.

When spring comes, the Nenets and their flocks begin their journey towards north. During this trip they will be setting up camps every three or four days. In the caravan,  head of the family goes first, with a light sled; after children and women, after sleds with utensils and tools and chum, their mobile home, then the reindeer herd, and end their sacred sleigh with its special cargo.

nenet camp

Did you enjoyed with what we have told? If so, and you want to know more about this amazing culture, before we leave you we will tell you more.

See you soon!

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