Yamalia (Russian: Яма́ло-Нене́цкий автоно́мный о́круг yuh-MAH-luh nee-NYEHT-skee uhf-tah-NOHM-nee OH-krook) is the northernmost region in Russia's Urals Region and is home to Russia's most important natural gas deposits as well as large West Siberian oilfields. Located in the middle of Russia's Arctic Ocean coast, Yamalia is about as remote a destination as one could possibly choose and is rarely visited by anyone except those on oil and gas business.
The region borders the Arctic Ocean in the northwest and north (this part of Yamalia is split into two by the Gulf of Ob), Taymyria to the northeast, the Krasnoyarsk region to the east, Khantia-Mansia to the south, and Komi Republic and Nenetsia to the west.
- 1 Salekhard — the administrative center and the only town in the world located directly on the Polar circle
- 2 Gubkinsky
- 3 Kharp
- 4 Labytnangi
- 5 Muravlenko
- 6 Nadym
- 7 Novy Urengoy — the largest town in the region and the last stop on the Tyumen-Novy Urengoy railway
- 8 Noyabrsk — few good reasons to visit this oilfield city (which is the second largest in the region), unless you are there on oil business
- 9 Tarko-Sale — for those looking to vacation in the exact middle of nowhere, this small town boasts a modest museum of local lore
- 1 Gydan Nature Reserve — you will be confronted with neither long lines nor touts at this wilderness preserve located in the Arctic tundra of Yamalia's northeastern most bay on the Kara Sea. The nearest inhabited place is Gyda.
- 2 Upper-Taz Nature Reserve (also Verkhne-Tazovskii Nature Reserve)
Despite looking much like an ahistorical barren land of interest only for its natural gas and oil reserves, Yamalia was the site of some of the most interesting conflicts of Russia's Siberian expansion. Prior to conquest by Yermak Timofeyich (who was killed in the process), Yamalia was known as the Khanate of Sibir, led by the energetic Tatar Khan Kumuch, who mounted fierce resistance to Russian expansion and attempted to convert (and thereby unify against the Cossacks) his diverse people of Siberian Tatars, Khanti, Mansi, Nenets, Yamals, and Selkups to Islam. In the wake of the region's conquest, colonists established the first Russian settlement of the region, Salekhard, in 1595.
Salekhard, Novy Urengoy, and Nadym each have airports, which service flights to/from Moscow, Tyumen, and Yamburg, Nenetsia. while Novy Urengoy's airport has flights to/from Moscow, Tyumen, and Ufa. Noyabrsk's airport has some flights to/from Moscow.
The bigger gas and oil towns have significant drug-related crime and visitors should be wary.