The Sakha Republic (Yakutia) is located in northeastern Siberia, in deepest Russia. Millions of years ago, this land was covered by the warm waters of a tropical ocean and was filled with trilobites and plesiosaurs. Later, herds of mammoths and woolly rhinoceros came to beat trails across its vast plains. All we have left of those times today are the fossilized remains often found in the permafrost — the colossal layer of ice and soil beneath the surface of the ground which reaches, in some places, a depth of 5,000 feet.
This was the land where our people settled many centuries ago - the Sakha people, or the Yakuts (Russian). According to research, our ancestors came from one of the Turkic steppe groups who had settled on the east shore of Lake Baikal by the early Middle Ages. They were later forced to migrate north, mostly to escape hostile Mongolian tribes; their choice was to either head north or lose their lives and liberties. Why else would horse riders from the southern steppes move to a land where the winter lasts eight months and the temperatures drop below -60˚C (-80˚F)? Yakutia is the coldest inhabited place in the world. It isn't easy to survive in these conditions, but our ancestors handled it. Perhaps this harsh landscape gave rise to some of the distinguishing qualities of the Sakha people: ingenuity, perseverance, trading skills, and excellence in science and the visual arts.