Imagine having to dig out of your front door each and every morning. This might sound familiar to people living in heavy snow regions like Northern Canada or Alaska, but not many people have to dig through sand.
How familiar are you with little villages in northern Russia? If you’re anything like us then not at all, but you’re about to learn more! The quaint little village of Shoyna is located along the coast of the White Sea in northern Russia, and so small that it’s not usually marked on maps.
Shoyna used to be a fishing village, but that trade has completely dried up. Nowadays, the approximately 300 residents mainly rely on pensions, hunting geese, and unemployment to put food on the table.
The land of Shoyna is covered in so much sand that the village has a dedicated bulldozer for digging out homes, something that happens quite regularly. Not only do they deal with the sand, but the locals also have to battle through frigid temperatures through much of the year.
If the description of Shoyna hasn’t scared you away, then you’ll have to visit it by ship or aircraft since there are no roads or railways connecting to the village. Also, don’t expect an especially comfortable stay as there are no hotels, but the locals are quite hospitable!
Check out the village with the photo’s listed below!
This is Shoyna! You can get a good sense of how small the village is by this picture, as well as its location along the White Coast.
The region was initially built upon due to its ample supply of fish and sea life in general. The town was on it’s way to being a beautiful fishing port with a peak amount of 1,500 citizens. Then things went downhill.
In this northern desert, the sand dunes go on for miles and homes can be swallowed by sand in a single night. Many citizens leave their door opens through the night because if they didn’t, they might not be able to get out in the morning.
When Shoyna was thriving the area was overfished, and eventually, the supply dried up. With that, people started to leave and the 1,500 residents dwindled down to the paltry 300 that live there now.
Geese hunting is one of the main professions left to those living in Shoyna, but it’s also home to a variety of bears and rare birds. This attracts ornithologists to the town for the purpose of studying the birds.
Perhaps you’re wondering why the village is overrun with sand. There’s no hard answer at this point, but researchers believe that the benthic vegetation was destroyed when the waters were overfished. This fact paired with the wind bringing in more sand caused the city to be covered in it.
Despite its remote location and minimal appearance, the villagers of Shoyna appear to be happily going about their lives. It goes to show that although an environment can appear desolate and barren to outsiders, those who live there call it home.