March 01, 1997


Prior to our arrival in Yakutsk, we were half prepared to see muddy streets lined with bars and brothels and men with six-footers on their hips. Western travel guides have little good to say about thsi thriving frontier city, which seems to be ever widening the gap between itself and Moscow.

Yakutsk’s streets were clean and pleasant. The modern office buildings going up around town were far from the gray block towers we expected. The native people have a strong connection to their heritage, and they were certainly not in hibernation during the three weeks we spent in the area.

There was no lack of food or fuel here – Yakutsk may well be the busiest port on the Lena River. While not neccessarily a place to spend your vacation, it could be an excellent base from which to start an adventure. Remote areas to the north, south and west can be reached by ice roads in the winter, or by boat in the summer. There are some interesting museums which can broaden one’s impression of the 1,158,390 square mile Republic of Sakha, of which Yakutsk is the capital.

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