Tiksi, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (Russia)

The urban-type settlement of Tiksi is located in the north of the Republic of Yakutia. This seaport, which serves the most inaccessible section of the Northern Sea Route, stands on the shore of Tiksi Bay, which is part of the Laptev Sea. The port of Tiksi was built in 1933, this year is considered the year of the foundation of the village. Now the village is the administrative center of the Bulunsky district (ulus) of Yakutia. Northwest of Tiksi is the delta of the Lena River.

Of the sights of Tiksi, one can single out the Museum of Fine Arts and Culture of the Arctic. The museum tells about the history of the development of the region – about the times of the first explorers and about the Great Northern Expedition. The art gallery exhibits the works of artists who participated in campaigns on these lands, and local craftsmen.

According to Photionary, the visitor center of the Ust-Lensky Nature Reserve is located in Tiksi which lies northwest of the village. The reserve was established in 1985 to protect and study the ecosystems of the Lena River delta, the protection of white salmon and whitefish, waterfowl migratory birds, the northernmost population of the black-capped marmot (tabagan) in Eurasia and the northernmost forests in Yakutia. It consists of two sections: the “Deltoviy” section, covering part of the territory of the Lena River Delta, and the “Sokol” mountain section, stretching along the right bank of the Lena River, where the spurs of the Kharaulakh Mountains enter. The total area of the reserve is 1433 ha, the mountain area accounts for 9% of its territory. The delta of the Lena River is formed by many channels separated by islands. This unique area was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2000. More than 30 species of rare plants and 32 species of mammals have been identified on the territory of the reserve. The polar bear, arctic fox, wild reindeer, ungulate and Siberian lemmings, Middendorf’s vole, polar wolf, shrews, ermine, weasel, mountain hare, house vole often live here; sable, elk, lynx, muskrat, brown bear, wolverine, and in mountainous areas you can see bighorn sheep, northern pika, lemming vole and tarbagan. Near the coastal part of the reserve, Laptev walruses have recently begun to appear, which were destroyed here back in the middle of the 20th century, white whales, seals, bearded seals (beared seal) and narwhal. In the delta of the Lena River, mass nesting sites of such birds as the red-throated and black-throated diver, lesser swan, white-fronted goose and bean goose, black goose, teal-whistle, pintail, long-tailed duck, comb eider and Siberian eider. Very rare Siberian Crane, Kloktun, Long-nosed Merganser, Crested Duck, White Goose, Whooper Swan and Ivory Gull. Also, three species of skuas live in the reserve – long-tailed, medium and short-tailed, several types of waders – flat-nosed phalarope, turukhtan, oystercatcher, white-tailed sandpiper, red-tailed, dunlin and puffin. In recent years, the number of populations of the pink gull “Firebird of the North”, swans and white Canada goose has been increased. Owl, tundra and ptarmigan and raven winter in the Lena River Delta. Of the birds of prey, there are gyrfalcon, merlin, snowy owl, peregrine falcon, golden eagle and white-tailed eagle. The delta part of the reserve is a place for feeding and migration of valuable species of fish – sturgeon and salmon – taimen, nelma, whitefish, muksun, vendace, peled and whitefish.

Ust-Lensky nature reserve offers tourists a variety of tours because there are many natural attractions. The channels of the Lena River are very interesting, where numerous islands and limestone rocks with grottoes, cracks and outliers are located. The most popular islands are Tas-Ary, Tit-Ary (the northernmost place on the Lena River, where Dahurian larch is common) and Stolb Island, where you can often see mirages (optical effects due to the contact of cold air masses with warm water brought from the south). The Kharaulakh mountains are suitable for ski trips. In the period from November to January, the northern lights can be observed in the reserve. At the end of summer in August-September, tourists are invited to go to the coast and coastal islands, where there are rookeries of the Laptev walrus. Ornithological routes are held in the vicinity of the International Biological Station “Lena-Nordenskiƶld” from July to August. In a nature reserve or in a village Tiksi can be licensed for hunting and fishing. In spring, hunting tours for waterfowl are offered, and in autumn – for wild reindeer. If you have a license, you can fish not only on the Lena River, but also on the Kengdei, Chubukuly, Khara-Ulah, Olenyok and Besyuk rivers. Also in the Ust-Lensky Reserve there are opportunities for kayaking and inflatable rafting along the Besyuk, Kengdey, Chubukuly and Ayakit rivers.

Tiksi, Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) (Russia)