Nenets Region

Nenets Region

Nenets Autonomous Okrug (region) is located in the north of Russia, by the Arctic Ocean. The name of the region is originated with the local population - Nenets people.

Nenets Autonomous Okrug (region) is located in the north of Russia between the Kanin and the Yamal Peninsulas, by the Arctic Ocean. Most of the territory of the Region including the Islands of Kolguev and Vaygach lies above the Polar Circle. Administratively Nenets Autonomous Okrug is a part of Arkhangelsk Region.

Most of the territory is covered with arctic tundra, with many marshes, small lakes and rivers. The main river is Pechora. The significant part of the area is occupied by permafrost.

The wildlife of the Region is represented by 31 species of mammals including arctic hare, polar fox, wolf, wolverine, marten, otter, common weasel, wild reindeer, elk etc. Bird list has 160 species including different kinds of geese and ducks migrating in hundreds of thousands in May and September. The sea is inhabited with sea mammals such as beluga white whale, walrus, gray seal, bearded seal, narwhal.

Nenets region is very rich in mineral resources such as oil, natural gas and gold.

The name of the region is originated with the local population - Nenets people. Nenets are nomad people travelling with their reindeer herds in search for the better pastures in tundra. Nomadic way of life causes the lifestyle of Nentsy. They do not build regular houses but live in Chums - tents made of reindeer skin (authentic type) or thick fabric (modern type). When the supply of grass, reindeer moss and lichens around the camp runs low Nenets people assemble chums, put all their belongings on reindeer sledges and travel to another place. In the winter time they change the location once in about 7 days. Though there is much more food in summer they change location even more often to find a place with fewer mosquitoes.

Nenets live in clans which unite several families. Men who are the heads of the families are usually relatives while their wives are from other clans. Families usually have 3-5 children. Until 1920 the Nenets society had elements of polygamy when rich men with many reindeers had 2-3 wives.

Nenets children live with their parents until it is time to go to school. During school years children live at schools and are taken by parents only for holidays.

In spite of some civilization achievements such as snowmobiles, satellite TV's and electric generators nowadays the lifestyle of Nenets people is in many ways the same as it was centuries ago. They still travel with their reindeers, live in chums, wear a lot of fur clothes and eat traditional food including raw reindeer meat and blood. Although they were baptized by the Russians in the 18-19th Centuries traditional beliefs as animalism and shamanism are still widely spread. While travelling in the area one can meet a real shaman and observe shamanistic rituals.

The number of Nenets in the Region is about 6400 people while the total population is about 42700 people (Census 2010). About 21000 inhabitants live in the capital of region town of Naryan-Mar.

The town of Naryan-Mar was established in 1935 by the shore of the Pechora River in 110 km from the Barents Sea and 660 km from Arkhangelsk. The airport of Naryan-Mar (NNM) is an important gate to the Region as it has no regular road connection with the other areas of Russia. In the summer time the port of Naryan-Mar serve boats arriving via the Northern Sea Route. Naryan-Mar is a relatively modern and rich city as it hosts offices of several oil and geological companies which have big business in the Region. The town has several hotels with the average price of about 6000 RUB (122 EUR) for a double room. Prices at restaurants are relatively high and one can easily spend 1500 RUB (30 EUR) for a dinner.

Several interesting holidays and events take place in Naryan-Mar and the Region, such as "Syamanhat Mereta" reindeer race and Nenets sport competitions at the end of March or early April, "Buran Day" snowmobile race in mid March, "Reindeer Day" Nenets holiday in August.

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