Village Uelen is located in the eastern part of the Chukotka Peninsula not far from Cape Dezhnev. By land, a distance of 140 km separates the villages of Uelen and Lavrentii. You can get there by helicopter (schedule is on Chukotavia airlines website https://chukotavia.com/).
According to information gathered during archaeological excavations, Eskimos used to live on this territory, but at the end of the 17th century and the beginning of the 18th century, the Chukchi started to inhabit it. Uelen appeared on maps in 1792 during the expedition of Joseph Billings.
As for the name of the village, there are several versions. According to one of them, the name came from the Chukchi word ‘Uelen' which means 'black thaw hole'. Uelen is located at the bottom of a volcano, the side of which has black knolls. They are easily visible throughout the year, and they were used as a guide for travellers in the past.
According to another version, the name came from the name of an athlete Uvelelin ('greaseball' in Chukchi). The legend says that Uvelelin was an orphan and wore tatters which is why neighbours ridiculed him. He grew up and started taking revenge on those who had wronged him. Finally, the locals decided to kill him. To avoid such situations in the future, Chukchi started to help the poor and join together in raising the orphans.
Uelen is famous for its works of art carved from bones.
In the 1930s, bone carving workshops gathered around the Uelen guild, which became an impetus for the development of bone carving in Chukotka. Chukotka carvings are characterised by the circular composition of the picture, whereby the higher the object is located, the further it is from the viewer. Colour engraving is applied to the surface of the bone, after which finishing touches are applied with soft coloured pencils.
There is a museum with a collection of works of art made of walrus bone, leather, fur and a whalebone at the workshop now. They also sell souvenirs.
In honour of the memory of Russian pioneers, an Orthodox chapel of the Resurrection of Christ was built in the village in 2002.
Grey and bowhead whales live in the marine area. There are fish: salmon, polar cod, flounder, Far East navaga. You can find polar bears, wolves, polar foxes, wolverines, foxes and hares on the coast.
The Uelen hot springs are located on the northeastern coast of the Chukchi Peninsula near the village of Uelen. Their temperature ranges from +39 ˚С to + 69˚С. It's not recommended to spend more than 15 minutes in the water.
There are several archaeological sites near the village: Uelen burial ground, abandoned settlement Dezhnevo, ancient Eskimo burial Equen. The oldest and most historically most populous Eskimo settlement on the Chukchi coast is also relatively close to the abandoned village of Naukan.
The village of Inchon is 35 km from Uelen. There is a rock with a breaking stone near it. They say that this rock gave the name to the settlement. In Chukchi, 'inchuvin' means 'a chopped-off nose'. Here in the water area you can observe grey whales and beluga whales.
An ancient Eskimo settlement is situated on the western tip of Cape Uten, near the village of Inchon. Archaeologists named it Paypelgak after the name of a stream flowing nearby. Researchers show that the Eskimos lived in these places about 3 thousand years ago.
Now, there is one of the largest walrus rookeries in Chukotka.