Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

Going to Egvekinot: volcanic hills, northern lights and ocean

What is there to see at the edge of the world?

17.04.2022 // The settlement on the shore of Kresta Bay was established in 1946 to supply the Iultin mine developing one of the world's largest deposits of tin, tungsten, and molybdenum. By now, Egvekinot has transformed from an industrial hub into a tourist centre and continues to develop steadily, enjoying every factor needed for success.

By a cove in the Kresta Bay, surrounded by tall, majestic, and picturesque hills up to 600 metres high, sits the misty settlement of Egvekinot, one of the most beautiful places in Chukotka. The Arctic Circle is a stone's throw away, and an arch marking it has been erected at Km 24th of the Iultin Motorway.

Northern Lights can often be seen in the sky, mostly green in winter and rainbow-coloured in autumn. Over 3,000 people live in Egvekinot, which is a lot by local standards. It's a cosy and clean place with lots to do for visitors and locals alike: skiing, crabbing, fishing, and other leisure options including bars and cafes.

Egvekinot, just as any other large settlement in Chukotka, has an airport from which helicopters can reach other places: Cape Shmidta, Vankarem, Konergino, or Uelkal. The Kapitan Sotnikov motor ship also calls here on the Anadyr-Lavrentiya transit route.

Interestingly, the number of grocery shops per capita here is second only to Anadyr. The food supply here depends on navigation, and in early summer the residents look forward to boatloads of fresh provisions.

The boundary of the settlement runs along the shore of Egvekinot Bay, repeating its outline. The climate here is not the harshest in Chukotka, despite the permafrost. The proximity of the sea smoothes out the sharp fluctuations in sub-zero temperatures during the winter. In 2014, a Monument to the builders of the Iultin Motorway was unveiled on the shore of Kresta Bay. Four years before that, a memorial sign had been erected to mark the 60th anniversary of the road.

The Egvekinot – Iultin route is the main reference point here. Roads of similar quality in Chukotka are only seen in Anadyr. The Motorway has a couple of branches, such as the one towards the gold mines of Valunisty.

When the locals need to point out a certain place on the motorway, they simply name the matching kilometre. No one says, 'Let's go to the Arctic Circle'; people opt for 'Let's go to the 24th' instead.

On the north side of Izyskatelsky Creek stands a monument to the airmen of ALSIB who flew American aircraft from Alaska through Chukotka to Siberia under the Lend-Lease programme. The monument was erected on 9 May 1985 on the slope of the Pionerskaya Hill. The author of the obelisk is Konstantin Dobriyev. The Centre for Leisure and Folk Art has been operating in the settlement since the mid-1950s, occupying a bright blue Empirestyle building. It organises folk dance concerts, children's parties, discos, and art competitions.

The origin of the Orthodox parish in Egvekinot can be traced back to 1994 when Christians began gathering in an apartment building on Komsomolskaya Street. In 2001, a plot on the shore of Kresta Bay was allocated for the construction of a church. The temple erected on it was to be clearly visible from any point in the settlement.

In 2014, the construction of the Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross was completed, and in early 2017 the Rite of Great Consecration was performed. The beautiful white stone church with its golden domes has become not only a spiritual centre but also a new symbol of the township. It is the first masonry church in Chukotka.

The Egvekinot Museum of Local Lore

The Kresta Bay area has only recently become a target for archaeological research. Its study is being carried out by employees of the Egvekinot Museum of Local Lore, together with archaeologists from St. Petersburg and Magadan. Expedition teams have proved the Egvekinot Bay area to have been inhabited in the Neolithic period (up to 5,000 years ago). This place was presumably also inhabited in earlier, Mesolithic times (8–10 thousand years ago). This is evidenced by finds of stone tools of a very ancient appearance in the areas of Km 17th and the Old Airfield.

On the coast of Svobodny Bay, archaeologists also found ancient objects: miniature tanged arrowheads made of obsidian and chalcedony, as well as fixtures for tool grinding. All the artefacts found are stored in the local lore museum in the settlement. Its collection tallies over 14,000 exhibits, telling of the history of the area and its natural conditions.

Launched by a handful of historical preservation enthusiasts, over a short while it had become extremely popular with the people, amassing a huge number of exhibits.

According to tourists, the Egvekinot museum boasts a more exciting collection than its Anadyr counterpart.

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