The Vaigach State Nature Reserve is a unique place in the European North, where one can discover not only the unforgettable landscapes, flora and fauna of the Arctic, but also the invaluable historical and cultural heritage. It is located on the eponymous island, which is quite mountainous. The terrain here is quite hard to cross, so many areas are hardly ever visited by people. Rivers in Vaigach have rocky riverbeds, and in some places they flow in deep rocky canyons with numerous waterfalls.
There are 230 objects of cultural heritage registered within the reserve. There are some Stone Age encampment sites. Vaigach is a unique «sacred island» of indigenous peoples of the North. Fr om time immemorial, people from Bolshezemelskaya Tundra, the Urals, Yamal and the Lower Ob region came to worship their gods and make ritual sacrifices here. Each clan made their small tribal idol here. Apart from skulls and bones, many coins and many items made in the Perm animal style were found near the ancient sanctuaries. Until the 1920s, people preferred not to settle here. The locals believed that only deities could stay here.
In Nenets, the name of the island is «Khebidya-ya», which means «holy land.» One of the two main idols, Khodak («old man») stood in the north of the island, and the other, Vesako («old woman»), stood in the south. Now the seven-faced female idol is hidden in Tzinkovy island off the west coast of Vaigach. The idol is made of soft wood, has a height of 128 cm from the ground and dates back to the nineteenth century. Unfortunately, although the «wild Nenets» guarded Vaigach against the invasion of strangers, and it was forbidden to hunt and even pick flowers next to the sanctuaries, hundreds of stone and wooden idols were destroyed by missionaries in the nineteenth century.
There is currently only one village in Vaigach, Varnek. The Nenets who live there are mainly reindeer herders. The village has a small shop wh ere you can buy Nenets souvenirs.
The Tourist Information Portal of Nenets Autonomous Okrug / visitnao.ru
|Address:||Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Vaigach Island|