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Title: Yenisei  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Midas, Old Turkic alphabet, Turkic peoples, Lake Baikal, Angara River, Altai Mountains, Trans-Siberian Railway, Krasnoyarsk, Omsk Oblast, Stoat
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Yenisei River (Енисей)
Countries Mongolia, Russia
Regions Tyva, Krasnoyarsk Krai, Khakassia, Irkutsk Oblast, Buryatia, Zabaykalsky Krai
 - right Angara, Lower Tunguska, Stony Tunguska River
Cities Kyzyl, Shagonar, Sayanogorsk, Abakan, Divnogorsk, Krasnoyarsk, Yeniseysk, Lesosibirsk, Igarka, Dudinka
Source Mungaragiyn-Gol
 - location ridge Dod-Taygasyn-Noor, Mongolia
 - elevation 3,351 m (10,994 ft)
 - length 748 km (465 mi)
 - coordinates 43|46|N|98|39|49|E|type:river_region:MN name=


Mouth Yenisei Gulf
 - location Cuomo Sea, Arctic ocean, Russia
Length 5,539 km (3,442 mi)
Basin 2,580,000 km2 (996,144 sq mi)
Discharge for Igarka[1]
 - average 19,600 m3/s (692,167 cu ft/s)
 - max 112,000 m3/s (3,955,243 cu ft/s)
 - min 3,120 m3/s (110,182 cu ft/s)
The Yenisei basin, including Lake Baikal

Yenisei (Russian: Енисе́й), also written as Yenisey,[2] is the largest river system flowing to the Arctic Ocean. It is the central of the three great Siberian rivers that flow into the Arctic Ocean (the other two being the Ob River and the Lena River). Rising in Mongolia, it follows a northerly course to the Yenisei Gulf in the Kara Sea, draining a large part of central Siberia, the longest stream following the Yenisei-Angara-Selenga-Ider river system.

The upper reaches, subject to rapids and flooding, pass through sparsely populated areas. The middle section is controlled by a series of massive hydroelectric dams fuelling significant Russian primary industry. Partly built by gulag labor in Soviet times, industrial contamination remains a serious problem in an area hard to police. Moving on through sparsely-populated taiga, the Yenisei swells with numerous tributaries and finally reaches the Kara Sea in desolate tundra where it is icebound for more than half the year.

The maximum depth of the Yenisei River is 80 feet (24 m) and the average depth is 45 feet (14 m). The depth of river outflow is 106 feet (32 m) and inflow is 101 feet (31 m).


The river flows through Khakassia.[3]

Lake Baikal

Main article: Lake Baikal

The 320 km (200 mi) partly navigable Upper Angara River feeds into the northern end of Lake Baikal from the Buryat Republic but the largest inflow is from the Selenga which forms a delta on the south-eastern side.

Lower Yenisei

The Great Kaz joins the Yenisei 300 kilometres (190 mi) downstream from Strelka. It is noteworthy for its connection to the Ob via the Ob-Yenisei canal and the Ket River. The river starts to widen, its bed being littered with islands as numerous rivers augment its flow, in particular the 1,800 kilometres (1,100 mi) Stony (Podkamennaya) Tunguska at Bor, and the 3,000 kilometres (1,900 mi) Lower (Nizhnyaya) Tunguska at Turukhansk draining the desolate central Siberian Plateau from the east. The remote Tunguska (Тунгуска) region is most famous for the 1908 meteorite impact, but is now being explored for oil. Beyond Turukhansk, the river enters tundra territory.


The Yenisei River valley is habitat for numerous flora and fauna, with Siberian pine and Siberian larch being notable tree species. In prehistoric times Scots pine, Pinus sylvestris, was abundant in the Yenisei River valley circa 6000 BC.[4] There are also numerous bird species present in the watershed, including, for example the Hooded crow, Corvus cornix.[5]


The first team to navigate the Yenisey's entire length, including its violent upper tributary in Mongolia, was an Australian-Canadian effort completed in September 2001. Ben Kozel, Tim Cope, Colin Angus and Remy Quinter were on this team. Both Kozel and Angus wrote books detailing this expedition,[6] and a documentary was produced for National Geographic Television.

A canal inclined plane was built on the river in 1985 at the Krasnoyarsk Dam.[7]


Ancient nomadic tribes such as the Ket people and the Yugh people lived along its banks. The Ket, numbering about 1000, are the only survivors today of those who originally lived throughout central southern Siberia near the river banks. Their extinct relatives included the Kotts, Assans, Arins, Baikots, and Pumpokols who lived further upriver to the south. The modern Ket lived in the eastern middle areas of the river before being assimilated politically into Russia during the 17th through 19th centuries.[8]

Russians first reached the upper Yenisei in 1605, travelling from the Ob River, up the Ket River, portaging and then down the Yenisei as far as the Sym River.[9]

During World War II, Nazi Germany and the Japanese Empire agreed to divide Asia along a line that followed the Yenisei River to the border of China, and then along the border of China and the Soviet Union.[10]


See also


Coordinates: 71°50′0″N 82°40′0″E / 71.83333°N 82.66667°E / 71.83333; 82.66667

External links

  • Photos of river around Krasnoyarsk area at
  • Geographic data related to OpenStreetMap
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