In the middle of Yakut taiga the real deserted dunes stretch on the shores of the northern Lena River. Looking at them any tourist thinks – Am I really on the North? Because many people think of Yakutia as a distant region of Russia out there somewhere in Siberia, where permafrost is accompanied by severe frosts. And sand dunes are in the wrong place.
A unique natural phenomenon of "desert in the middle of taiga" is called tukulan (literally translated from the Evenki language as arrays of sand dunes). The air temperature there during summer reaches +40 degrees Celsius and sometimes even higher, not yielding to such famous deserts as the Sahara (North Africa), Gobi (Mongolia, China), Atacama (Chile) or the Great Victoria Desert (Australia).
Tukulans prevail in the most arid regions of Yakutia, with a low amount of annual precipitation and more frequent in basins of Viluy and Lena rivers, three hundred kilometers north-west of Yakutsk near the Lena Pillars. Sands can be seen from space, as light yellow spots in the middle of the green sea of taiga. The largest sand massifs reach a length of several tens of kilometers. Scientists believe that these deserts of Yakutia have led to the emergence of permafrost: water got into the cracks, and the ice massif has grown in extremely cold temperatures.
View from Space
There are the remains of mammoths, bison and other extinct animals. The area around tukulans abounds with lakes rich in fish, Siberian dwarf-pine grows there, which is quite unusual for such places. This piece of real desert can rightly be considered exotic place of Yakut nature worth to visit.