There are several legends about the “Taimyr” toponym.
One of the Dolgan versions – tuoi muora – means to praise the tundra, the other – tymyr – is artery, blood vessel.
The Nenets lead the toponymy from the words tai – taimen, and myry – water with snow. Tai also means forehead, bald head, hence another meaning is naked tundra with islets of forest.
The name of the peninsula is translated from the Nganasan language as the country of reindeer tracks – tai mire. From a bird’s eye view, it looks like it is decorated with ornamental patterns of reindeer trails.
The ancestors of the Tungus called this land tamura – valuable. Indeed, the Taimyr treasure peninsula, in addition to unique deposits, flora and fauna, can surprise with the indigenous peoples living here, which have preserved their original culture.
The Nganasans, the descendants of the Neolithic wild reindeer hunters, has been living in Taimyr since the 15th century BC. There are about just 750 of them left on earth. The Enets are the descendants of the ancient Samodian ethnos, who once lived in the south of Siberia and was engaged in hunting and fishing. Today there are 227of them in the world. Taimyr is the only place where the Nganasans and Enets live.
The Nenets is a larger nation. There are 4 007 of them on the territory of the Taimyr Dolgan-Nenets municipal district of the Krasnoyarsk region.
The Evenks, the Golden Empire Tungus state inhabitants descendants, live in Russia, China and Mongolia. There are about 300 Evenks in Taimyr.
The Dolgans, like the Nenets, is one of the titular and large nationalities of the peninsula. About 5 000 of them live here. This is the youngest ethnic group: it was formed during the 18th – 19th centuries.
Some urban dwellers are sure that the aborigines of Taimyr still go by reindeer sleds, live in tents, and instead of doctors ask shamans for help. Meanwhile, many indigenous people have become great doctors, engineers, teachers, like representatives of many other nationalities.
To get to know about other popular Taimyr legends read our Truths and myths section.
Text: Tatiana Ermolaeva, Photo: open sources