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Anadyr: the eastern outpost of Russia

The capital of Chukotka is an islet of civilisation surrounded by pristine Arctic nature

13 2020

The only way to get to the capital of Chukotka is by plane. But despite all the difficulties, many travellers dream of visiting this place. This is the starting point for tourist trails through Chukotka which boasts all the treasures of the Arctic nature. This land is still governed by whales, walruses and polar bears rather than humans. There are so few people in the area, that animals are still not afraid of them. And the few reindeer herders and sea hunters lead the lifestyle of their ancestors from hundreds of years ago.

The capital of Chukotka is built on permafrost, so all local buildings have "legs"—concrete piles. All communications are laid above the ground. Building facades are painted in bright colours. They feature huge paintings of whales, shamans, tambourines and joking warnings like 'Don't sleep, or you will freeze'. Entrances to residential buildings are not locked: when cold winds are knocking you down, you can enter any of them to warm up.

All city buildings are either new or renovated, which is why Anadyr does not look its age. It was founded in 1889 as the easternmost outpost of the Russian Empire.

The Camel Hill—the highest point in Anadyr—offers the best view of the city. A 10-metre high Orthodox cross is erected on top of the hill. The Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral proudly rises on the bank of the estuary, on the opposite side of the city. It is the world's largest active Orthodox church made of wood and built on permafrost. The church is large enough to fit a thousand people.


A huge bronze statue of Nicholas the Wonderworker stands in front of the cathedral on a high platform. This is the largest statue of Nicholas the Wonderworker in the world: you can see it dozens of kilometres away from Anadyr. The saint is facing East to be the first who greets a new day in Russia.

The Heritage of Chukotka Museum Centre is located nearby. It is the most well-known building in Anadyr with its high-tech style and shape that resembles a polar bear. The three floors of the museum have regular and temporary expositions on the history, nature and arts of the region. Here you can find a variety of photographs, documents, personal belongings, traditional household items, tools and works of visual and applied art. They also sell souvenirs.

A park across the road has a memorial to Chukotka's most famous writer, Yuri Rytkheu. He is lying down on a rock, with two Laika dogs by his side. Next to it is a post office which you can use to send a postcard to your friends since you are in the easternmost city of Russia.

Even in the 21st century, Chukotka remains a huge nature reserve which takes care of the environment and the core human values.


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