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Yamal Peninsula to host unique expedition
© RIA Novosti. Sergey Rusanov

Yamal Peninsula to host unique expedition

On August 1, the Roads of the Sikhirtya ethnographic expedition will start in the Nadym District of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area, the Arctic-Info agency reports.

The mythical Sikhirtya nation reportedly lived in the tundra above the Arctic Circle before the arrival of the Nenets ethnic group. The Sikhirtya are mentioned in Nenets mythology which claims that they are now living underground because they are afraid of the Sun.

The fifteen expedition members will sail from Nadym along the Nadym River in three motorboats. They will reach the coast of the Ob River Estuary along a 500-kilometer water route, and they will spend five to six days there, living in a raw-hide tent.

The expedition members will take a week to study the culture of Yamal natives and their traditions.

"I called my project ‘Roads of the Sikhirtya' for a mythical connotation. I hope that in the future it will become a Yamal trademark because the Sikhirtya ethnic group lived only in this region and also in the legends of the Nenets nation. They helped create life in Yamal; we'll learn how this might have happened, and we'll follow in their footsteps to survive. We'll emphasize the historical significance of these places, the culture of the local nations and the rich cultural heritage of Russia's ethnic groups," said project creator Ivan Nerkagy, Executive Director of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Area Ethnic Sports Federation.

Tourists will go through purification rites and feed the spirits of the water and the winds. They will also visit sacred Nenets places and walk to the nearby nomadic reindeer-breeders' camps in Nyoyto, Yartsangi and Nerupiya, as well as the village of Kutopyugan and the towns of He and Shugu. They will also celebrate Fisherman's Day, the Feast Day of Prophet Elijah and the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples.

The expedition is to end August 7.