Truly one of the most unique rock formations in Russia is “Lena Pillars”. The pillars themselves are in one of the most unpopulated area in all of Russia which has made them very inaccessible to tourists. The are also the guardians to the river which bears the same name – the Lena river.The pillars and river are within the Sakha Republic. The republic size wise is comparable to India (3 million km sq), but India’s population of one billion plus Indians shadows over the whole republic of just one million souls.
After doing a bit of checking around it seems Lena comes from an old Even word – ‘Elyu-En’ – which means ‘big river’. It truly is a very big river, in fact it’s the 8th largest river in the world. Interestingly enough one can visit the pillars in the middle of winter if you are willing to brave the sub zero temperatures. If you make this decision there’s a group that will take you on a one day trip to the park during this time. It also seems that one can do a bit of fishing on the river from one of the blogs I found.
The pillars themselves consists of the alternating horizons of limestone, marlstones, dolomite and slate of the Lower/Middle Cambrian, that are weathered in such a way that it produces the rugged outcrops. They are considered a karst formation that created this beautiful landscape, all of which has been continuously eroding for thousands of years. There is also a wealth of geologic evidence in the surrounding area that in the past this area held many life forms like the wooly mammoth all of which can be found near the stone forest of Lena, along with other species that haven’t been seen since Cambrian times. Today 464 species of plants and wildlife have been cataloged that are in great abundance in the area.
In 2012 UNESCO, announced that the Lena Pillars, in Russia’s Far East, would be the last addition to its World Heritage List for the year. The addition of the Lena Pillars Nature Park brings Russia’s total of cultural and natural sites recognized on the World Heritage List to 25.