Vast lands, deep lakes, chilly mornings, taiga, mountains, arctic, tundra, amazing wildlife… All of this is Siberia, a vast region comprising the Asian portion of Russia as well as northern Kazakhstan with a variety of unmatched cultural, adventure and natural expedition itinerary possibilities.
Siberia, which means “sleeping land,” is a large region inside Russia, extending from the Ural Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. Siberia occupies about 5.2 million square miles, which roughly corresponds to about 9 percent of Earth’s dry land mass… Let’s explore some!
A big part of Siberia is uninhabitable, covered by either permafrost or thick taiga.
From the Urals, the Eurasian Steppe, to the watershed between Pacific and Arctic drainage basins live the Siberians, including all the wild animals from tigers to bears. Siberian lands extent from the Arctic Ocean to north-central Kazakhstan mountains.
Eastern Russian also borders Mongolia, China and the Pacific, with the biggest city being Vladivostok, which is currently a post-industrial city. In the future it will probably be a very avant-guard city like Vancouver once Russia changes its economy towards more free market and generally when East Asia develops more.
Most of central Siberia is taiga, while the southern regions are temperate broad leaf forest and the northern Tundra, with the far south being steppe.
Siberia shelters a variety of animals such as the Siberian wapiti (red deer), the musk deer, the sable, the Siberian weasel, the squirrel, the chipmunk, the Siberian ibex or the mountain goat. The lovely snow leopard and the Altai snow cock can also be observed. These animals live in Siberia as well:
- Amur Leopard
- East Siberian brown bear
- Siberian flying squirrel
- Siberian musk Deer
- Siberian weasel
- Siberian chipmunk
- Siberian tiger
Siberian mammals (bears, lynx, musk deer, wolves and squirrels) and birds (hazel grouse and woodpeckers) frequent the moist coniferous forests.
The Siberian Russian Arctic constitutes an extreme habitat and haven for polar bears, arctic foxes and walruses. The beluga (in the Anadyr near Chukotka), the elk (moose), the reindeer, the mountain (Arctic) hare, and the brown and collared Lemmings are some examples of the great variety of wildlife that can be found here.
Russian wildlife has received a huge boost to its conservation as the Russian government announced that 9 new national reserves and 13 new national parks will be constructed.
Prior to Russian colonization of Siberia, local ethnic groups of various origins populated the region, including the turkish, the finnish and the mongolic. Some of these peoples intermarried with Europeans and some ethnic groups remained discrete, but in any case, colonists adopted many local food traditions through mixed marriages or through daily contact.
Today 10% of Siberia’s tribal groups follow a nomadic or semi nomadic way of life, compared to the 70% that did so just 30 years ago. The languages spoken by the different tribes come from a range of linguistic families; some bear no similarity to any other language, and none bear any relation to Russian.
Generally, the climate in Siberia is continental, which means there are large temperature differences between summer and winter. The Siberian winter is indeed long and cold, yet summers are fairly warm: warm enough to allow for the farming of watermelons in western and southern Siberia. Although there is relatively little precipitation in eastern Siberia, and the winter frost penetrates quite deep, the climate becomes milder and warmer towards the west and south. Due to the heavy rainfall, the region is drained by numerous rivers and dotted with lakes filled with a variety of fish.
The Siberian northern coastal region along the Arctic Ocean is occupied by a wide strip of arctic tundra, which is inhabited by an enormous population of reindeer. The south is a vast area of evergreen pine forest, which gradually changes to fertile chernozem (black earth) steppes. The far southeastern part of Siberia, near Manchuria and the Pacific Ocean, consists of subtropical forests.
Places to visit
Tuva – The semi-autonomous region of Tuva is a unique cultural destination whose ethnic population practices Buddhism.
Baikal Lake – The most ancient and deepest lake in the world.
Yakutia – Built on permafrost, Yakutia’s layers of earth have preserved millenial flora and fauna . Yakutia is located in eastern Siberia and stretches to the Henrietta Islands in the far north and, washed by the Laptev and eastern Siberian seas of the Arctic Ocean.
Chukotka -The most north-easterly region of Siberia is situated in the Russian Far East and washed by the waters of the Arctic Ocean, the Bering Strait and the Bering Sea from three sides correspondingly.
Republic of Buryatia – The Buryat Republic is located in the southern part of East Siberia, in the south and east of Baikal Lake. It has a favorable geographic location, with borders Irkutsk and Chita regions, the Republic of Tuva and Mongolia. It is a predominantly mountainous country with a small number of flat regions at altitudes of more than 500 m. The capital of Buryatia is Ulan-Ude.
Altai Krai – Altai Krai is located in the southeast of Western Siberia. The territory presents quite a variety of landscapes: flat grassland steppes, wooded steppe and forests and mountains.
Primorsky Krai – A region in the Russian Far East which borders China to the west, Khabarovsk Krai to the north, and North Korea to the extreme southwest.
Who travels with us to Siberia?
Not afraid of obstacles, extreme conditions and uncontrollable situations? Are you a real adventurer?