The “Nenets Mecca” or “The Easter Island of the Arctic” as it is sometimes referred to is located off Russia’s North coast, just below Novaya Zemlya, and is part of the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. It was always the most sacred place of the indigenous Nenets people, nomadic reindeer herders who to this day migrate over thousands of kilometres through the Arctic tundra with their vast herds, dressing in reindeer furs, living in reindeer-hide teepees and traveling by reindeer-drawn sledge. Up until the 20th Century, every Nenets had to make a pilgrimage to Vaygach Island once in his life, and people came from all over the vast Nenets territory that stretches from the Kanin Peninsula in the West to the Taimyr Peninsula in the East. Although the Communist government put an end to that tradition, the Nenets have still preserved their traditional religious beliefs remarkably well. The island is covered in idols and sacrificial sites which the local Nenets reindeer herders still consider to be sacred.

Nenets man next to idol on Vaygach Island, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Arctic Russia

Nenets man next to idol on Vaygach Island, Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Arctic Russia

For prices and itineraries of a trip to Vaygach Island, please see our Nenets Autonomous Okrug page.