Catch a visit to the Khanty

Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region

Russia Beyond
Russia Beyond
The frost swirls behind the ‘Buran’ snowmobile have dissipated, we can see frequent antlers and a neat snow-covered log cabin in the back: we have come to visit the Khanty!

Dozens of reindeer faces are watching the guests with interest. The children in colorful robes are happily racing to the sled, while the host invites them into the house.

The hostess pours the aromatic tea with herbs into the mug and brings just baked bread, with a slice of which she wants to get into the saucers with lingonberry and cloudberry jam. Venison chatter is boiling on the stove and the host begins a long story about the culture and life of his people.

The sun is sinking below the horizon. It is quiet outside, occasionally the voice of the wind breaks through and one can hear the rustling of hooves in the snow. The logs in the stove crackle in the house and the children's laughter rings out. Perhaps we can go back to town tomorrow…

How to catch a visit to the Khanty?

🚗 Khanty settlements are scattered all over KhMAO (Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Region), but the most convenient to visit are in the area of Russkinskaya village, located 130 kilometers from Surgut.

🤝 To find a suitable place, you can use the services of mediators, who take organized tours to the Khanty, or look for the hosts themselves. Tourists usually spend a few hours visiting, but some families offer the opportunity to stay longer: nights away from the bustling city in the middle of the wilderness are especially good!

💨 You may have to swap your wheeled vehicle for a snowmobile on the way to the campground. Be prepared to ride through the snow drifts in the wind and be properly insulated, covering your hands and face from the oncoming wind and snow! Make sure your bags are tightly closed and well secured and your clothing pockets are securely buttoned.

🏡 Khanty houses are not plagues or yurts, but spacious wooden dwellings divided into zones. An obligatory rule of good manners is to shake off the snow properly so as not to carry extra moisture. Be sure to clarify if there are sacred areas in the house: it is best to approach them only with the permission of the owners.

🎁  And don’t forget about gifts: the Khanty people are rather modest people, but they are always glad to get presents!

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