THE RUSSIAN ARCTIC & THE RUSSIAN FAR EAST

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Russia is a vast country stretching from the Baltic to the Pacific and from the High Arctic to the Black Sea, covering nine time zones. It is a country of diverse scenery, fauna, flora and cultures, impossible to encapsulate in a few words. At Safir Tour, we concentrate on the remote regions of the Arctic and Far East, which are especially rich in wildlife and the history of exploration, as well as featuring a variety of spectacular scenery.

The Russian Far East is full of many unique natural wonders. Among them are the volcanoes and the magnificent Geyser Valley of Kamchatka, the largest cat of all cats in the world – Amur Tiger, ginseng, and the rare Japanese Crane. More than one hundred species of flowering plants, such as the arctic poppy and snow buttercup, are still found in the Arctic wilderness. Some plants are very small, such as the dwarf willow and partridge grass. In winter you will see polar bears and foxes. In summer, huge bird colonies gather on the cliffs of many unexplored areas of Kamchatka and Kuril Islands, some of which were opened very recently to civilian visitors after their lengthy military conservation.

The Russian Far East is comprised of ten federal districts and the largest cities are Vladivostok and Khabarovsk. Economically and politically the Far East can be easily divided into two economic areas: southern and northern. The southern area includes the Khabarovsk, Primorski, Sakhalin, Amur and Jewish districts and is more densely populated with a well-developed transportation system, industries and agriculture. The northern area, including Kamchatka, Magadan, Chukotka, Yakutia (Sakha), and Koryak districts, are populated more sparsely with people who mainly derive their livelihood from fishing along the Pacific coast, reindeer breeding, hunting, and extraction of rich natural resources. The diamonds of Yakutia (Sakha) republic deserve special attention. It is one of the world’s largest diamond deposits with surface mining, placing Russia (former USSR) at the top of the list of diamond producers. Extreme weather is the main challenge to life in the northern area. In January or December, don’t be surprised if you notice a strange noise when you exhale. The dry and dense frost turns your breath immediately into flourishing snowflakes and ice and you are hearing the crystallizing of your breath. Tomtor settlement of Yakutia (Sakha) republic owns the world record for the lowest (-71.2 C / -96 F) temperature ever registered (1926) in a populated area. Yet, in spite of exhausting winters, life goes on here. Cold winters lead to toughness and ingenuity. Time spent indoors in winter leads to innovative solutions for how to spend time and keep spirits high; this leads to an artistic and creative nature in the people here. People often gathering together indoors brings good cheer and feelings of camaraderie.

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Destinations:

•CITIES

– Vladivostok

– Blagoveschensk

– Chara town (Kadar Mtn. Range)

– Khabarovsk

– Komsomolsk-on-Amur

– Magadan

– Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky

– Tiksi

– Tynda

– Yakutsk (Yakutia-Sakha Republic)

•OTHER DISTINATIONS

– Trans-Siberian Railway

– BAM Railway

– Trans-Manchurian Railway

– Trans-Mongolian Railway

– Sakhalin Island

– The Kamchatka