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Dubai? The Sahara? No, this is a magical stretch of desert in the heart of the coldest region of Siberia!

By The Siberian Times reporter
18 June 2018

Model Amina Karat, 34, poses on the Saamys-Kumaga sands in Yakutia.

When Amina did her eye-catching shoot here, locals thought that she had flown to the scorching sun of the Middle East. Picture: Amina Karat/@black_karat8

Here winter temperatures can fall as low as -60C but you wouldn’t know it from these stunning pictures. 

Close to the Lena River in Yakutia - our diamond region officially known as the Sakha Repulic, an area almost the size of India - this pristine sand appears out of place.

Yet experts say that when the extinct woolly mammoths stomped across this territory some 25,000 years ago, there were even more such patches of desert.  

When Amina did her eye-catching shoot here, locals thought that she had flown to the scorching sun of the Middle East.

Oriental style


Oriental style

‘The image of an oriental woman in the sand caused quite a hype on the Yakutian internet.' Pictures: Amina Karat/@black_karat8

This was partly her purpose - to highlight the unappreciated beauty of (admittedly, we’re a little biased!) one of the world last and most stunning wildernesses. 

‘The image of an oriental woman in the sand caused quite a hype on the Yakutian internet,’ confessed Amina, 34, coach at the fitness club Yafit in regional capital Yakutsk.

‘Many were angry about the pictures. 

‘When I said that the photographs were from Yakutia, praising our land, and I told the story that the sands were washed in from both sides by the river, people calmed down.’

Amina in sands


Amina in sands


Amina in sands

‘The sand is incredibly hot, as the place is open to the sun.’ Pictures: Amina Karat/@black_karat8

Amina said: 'This was my idea to create an oriental images.

‘I searched for such a place which would look not like Yakutia, but, say, like Dubai - with barkhans (crescent-shaped dunes), and sand everywhere.’

In fact, there are disputes among experts about how Saamys-Kumaga - and similar far north cold climate deserts - were formed amid giant rivers and one million lakes in this territory, the biggest region in Russia.

They are known as tukulans - literally ‘sand’ in the native Evenki language.

Around the region there are some 60,000 square kilometres of these deserts - an area larger than Croatia, or Denmark or Estonia.

Amina Karat

Amina Karat sits on the ive of Lena River. Pictures: Amina Karat/@black_karat8

Dr Alexey Galanin, from the Institute of Permafrost of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences, is an expert on this phenomenon.

‘The tukulany in Yakutia formed at the end of the glacial era 27,000-to–12,000 years ago,’ he said. 

‘The climate was much more severe than today.

‘There was little precipitation, the rivers were shallow, and winters were extremely cold, almost without snow. 

‘The wind picked up sandy sediments from rivers and moved them in different directions. 

‘The area of dunes in central Yakutia at the time was up to one million square kilometres, but in some places there remained islets of the cold steppe and meadows, along which the herds of mammoths, bison and woolly rhinoceroses roamed.’

There are other theories too. 

One is that this desert sand was a gift from glaciers which once covered the region.

Or that they were washed by the rivers. 

Tukulany in winter


Tukulany in winter


Tukulany in winter

In winter tukulany are covered with snow. Pictures: @svetlana_g__

In the winter, of course, this desert is covered by snow. 

But now, in summer, Amina and her crew had to cope with the heat. 

The sand was too hot to walk on in bare feet. 

‘The sand is incredibly hot, as the place is open to the sun,’ she explained. 

‘So you need to make a hole to expose the deeper, cooler sand and just stay there.

‘We were there at the hottest time, in the middle of the day. 

‘It was rather hard for the photographer, but I think we did well.’
Tukulany


Tukulany


Tukulany


Tukulany


Tukulany

Around the region there are some 60,000 square kilometres of these deserts - an area larger than Croatia, or Denmark or Estonia. Pictures: Andrey Galanin, @dmitryvurgaft

And while Yakutia has extreme winter cold, this week around here the temperatures are between 20C and 30C.

The summer will see it get hotter still. 

 'The place became very popular,’ she said. 

‘People began to come here to make professional shoots. 

‘And local boatmen often agree with taxi-drivers, so that the driver brings tourists and pass them to a particular boater.' 

In case you’re passing through Yakutsk, known as the world’s coldest city, any time soon, the Saamys-Kumaga are around two hours drive south from the city.

Then you’ll need to cross the Lena - the world’s 11th longest river - and face a climb up the dunes. 

As the pictures show, it’s worth the trip.

Comments (6)

Gosto muito de conhecer novidades sobre a Sibéria . É um lugar maravilhoso. Parabéns pela reportagem e pelas fotos. Temos muito a aprender e a apreciar sobre as belezas que as paisagens siberianas nos oferecem.
Natercio Inacio da Silova, Guaratuba - Pr. Brazil
03/07/2018 05:05
0
0
Very beautiful - otjen krassiva!
William McLean, Copenhagen, Denmark
23/06/2018 18:43
3
2
Not too long ago, a young "full figured" lady was fired from her job as a teacher because she posed in her swim suit. This gal is much more provocative in her photos. It seems like a double standard... or is it because the other girl was a teacher or is it because she was a "full figured" woman as compared to a slim and shapely model type.
Doc, US
23/06/2018 17:35
3
4
I am impressed.

By the sand dunes, of course. :)
David B. Benson , United States of America
20/06/2018 14:27
5
2
Incredible place !... The photos are very nice and the model is beautiful !... I wish I could visit the country !...
Christophe, France
20/06/2018 04:54
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super article. excellent pictures. and of course a beautiful lady! my hat off to all of them.something NICE to read and see for a change. enough of murders, killings, rapings, accidents. life is to short. one should smell the flowers more often.
Benedikt MORAK, Moscow
19/06/2018 11:06
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2
1

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