RT journalist Erick Zarate didn't shy away from exploring Russia's coldest region, where temperatures often hit -70C
The latest episode of Erick's List takes us to Yakutia. RT journalist Erick Zarate didn't shy away from exploring Russia's coldest region, where temperatures often hit -70C. Celebrating the New Year in the winter wonderland while learning more about the cultural heritage of its people – what a glorious idea!
Yakutia, officially called the Republic of Sakha, is the largest Russian region that lies off the beaten path taken by most travellers. With its vast territory and extreme temperature changes, Yakutia is quite alluring and slightly intimidating. Populated by at least six indigenous peoples, it's a hub of the Russian North's ancient traditions, beliefs, and crafts. But travelling these parts on one's own without the help of the local people – and local spirits! – would be extremely dangerous. Luckily, Erick enjoys a warm welcome from both and, clad in "unty" (traditional deerskin boots), treated to some delicious herbal tea and armed with an assortment of good omens and a shaman's blessing, hits the road.
After a scary dog-sledge ride through the white wilderness, Erick reaches the Lena Pillars – an arresting rock formation shrouded in legends. He then offers local deities some cookies to reverse the bad weather and, after securing the protection of the clan fire, tries his hand at indigenous sports, including nomadic football, played with a deerskin ball. As part of the winter celebrations, Erick participates in the ice and snow sculpture competition. Although his team doesn't win, he learns a valuable lesson: to stay warm at -40C degrees, one must always remain active. Finally, before leaving this fantastic land, he meets Chyskhan, the Lord of Cold. A distant cousin of Santa Claus, Chyskhan, extends Erick a hearty reception in his ice cavern hidden in permafrost and learns some Spanish in return.
To hop on board Erick's adventures, watch a new episode of Erick's List.