By Water and Land: the Expedition of the RGS "By Way of the Pioneers" is Finished

Фото: Филиппо Валоти-Алебарди

The Interregional Expedition "By Way of the Pioneers" of the 2020 season has finished in Salekhard. The participants followed the routes of the Russian explorers who, in the 14th-19th centuries, paved roads from the European to the Asian part of Russia: the head of the first Siberian campaign of Prince Fyodor Kurbsky, the explorer of Siberia and the Amur Region, Erofei Khabarov; gold miner, Alexander Sibiryakov; and many others. The expedition was organized by the Russian Geographical Society together with the government of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) and the specialists of the expedition center "Rus’ Iskonnaya" (eng. “Age-old Rus’”).

The expedition started on July 27, 2020 at the walls of the restored historical tower Astashovo in the Chukhlomsky district of Kostroma oblast and, having passed more than 3,000 kilometers of historical waterways, finished in the capital of the Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug - the city of Salekhard.

"The expedition is of a complex nature and involves the participation of scientists –historians, ecologists, ethnographers – which will make it possible to appreciate all the richness and continuity of cultural and historical ties of the peoples of Russia," said Artur Chilingarov, first vice-president of the RGS, famous traveler.


Фото: Филиппо Валоти-Алебарди

During the expedition, the researchers studied the features of river routes and portages between them, along which took place the historical movement of Russians across the Urals and, further, to Siberia and the Far East. Following the route, the members of the expedition passed the ancient Unzhensky portage, which once connected the Suzdal lands and Novgorod; as well as the Vymsky portage, along which the squad of Prince Kurbsky once passed on the way to the place of foundation of the legendary city of Pustozersk. Relying on ancient notches on centuries-old trees and the discovered remains of a cart road, the researchers, for the first time, accurately reconstructed the route of the Vymsky portage and put it on an electronic map.

Scientific research and observation of natural phenomena were carried out along the route. For example, on the Sukhona River in Vologda Oblast the expedition recorded a short-term and very beautiful phenomenon - the flight of mayflies.


Фото: Филиппо Валоти-Алебарди

The expedition of the 2020 season is timed to coincide with the 175th anniversary of the Russian Geographical Society. It should be the first one in a large expedition project, within which it is planned to go, study and document all the main routes along which went the development of the territories of our country - from the central regions to the most distant Russian islands. The project is designed to be implemented within 12 years. Next year, it is planned to travel about 1,700 kilometers by way of the pioneers - from Salekhard to the historic city of Mangazeya and, further, to Turukhansk on the Yenisei.