Yttygran Island – Whale Bone Alley in Siberia

Located on the Eastern tip of Russia lies Yttygran Island. A cold and not terribly hospitable place, this island has a yearly high of only 4.9C (40.8F). What it lacks in warmth though, it makes up for in curious sights. Yttygran Island is traditionally a whale hunting area for a number of ethnic groups. Consequently, scattered along the northern coast lies the carefully arranged ‘Whale Bone Alley’ bordered by large number of whale skulls, whale bones and boulders. The exact origins of Whale Bone Alley remain a mystery. However it is believed that a collective group of local tribes used the area to meet, trade and exchange goods.

Whale Bone Alley is an impressive 583 meters long and runs along a whale migratory path. Upright whale ribs bones line the alley, with the skulls placed dramatically in the middle. Dotted at regular intervals along Whale Bone Alley are meat storage pits which, when discovered still contained whale meat. The local Yupik tribes people refer to Yttygran island as Sikliuk, derived from the local word Siklyugak, meaning ‘meat pit’.

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