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Coordinates: 56°27′30″N 138°10′05″E / 56.45833°N 138.16806°E / 56.45833; 138.16806

The port of Ayan in the early 20th century

Ayan (Russian: Аян) is a rural locality (a selo) and the administrative center of Ayano-Maysky District of Khabarovsk Krai, Russia, located on the shore of a well-protected bay of the Sea of Okhotsk, 1,447 kilometers (899 mi) from Khabarovsk and 631 kilometers (392 mi) by sea from Nikolayevsk-on-Amur. Population: 1,325 (2002 Census);[1] 2,039 (1989 Census).[2]

The village is served by Munuk Airport.

About 1840 it was decided to move the main Russian naval center from Okhotsk 270 miles down the coast to Ayan. The port of Okhotsk is on a river mouth protected by a sand bar. It is subject to flooding and tends to silt up. Ayan is on a circular bay on the south side of a penninsula and is said to be the finest harbor on the sea of Okhotsk. A survey of Ayan was done in 1840 and work started in 1843 under Vasily Zavoyko of the Russian-America Company. In 1845 an overland route was established to Yakutsk. Several expeditions went south from Ayan to explore the Amur area. In 1849 the naval center was again shifted to Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky and Zavoyko became governor there.

During the Crimean War Ayan was still an important harbour. It was used by the US-American whaling fleet to a larger extend as well. [3]The harbour was taken by the English fleet on July 9, 1855. Yet harbour and the little village had been vacated prior to that by the inhabitants. The coast batteries had been destroyed by the Russians, the guns were buried. Ayan was not destroyed. The objective of the English fleet was, to destroy all Russian ships they could find. Apart from a small steam tug there were none. The tug had been pulled on shore and was about to be buried at the time of the occupation. The English troops destroyed the tug through an explosion.[4]

With the Amur Annexation in 1860, forces were shifted south to Nikolayevsk-on-Amur and Vladivostok. The Alaska purchase in 1867 and the end of the Russian-America company further reduced Ayan's importance. Many leading experts of diverse professions joined the exodus of merchants that had discontinued commercial traffic resulting from the trade in the region.

In the last decades of the 19th century and in the beginning of the 20th century, assistance amounted to a few steamships a year dispatched from Vladivostok that brought flour, sugar, and household supplies. The remoteness of Ayan resulted in its steady depopulation.

In 1922, Ayan was one of the centers of the Yakut Revolt against Lenin's government. The Red Army besieged Anatoly Pepelyayev's forces in Ayan in June 1923. The fall of Ayan on June 16 marked the end of the Russian Civil War. The village served as the center of the Okhotsk-Evenk National Okrug until 1934.


  • Regel, Dr. E und Tiling, Dr. H. 1858. Florula Ajanensis, Aufzaehlung der in der Umgegend von Ajan wachsenden Phanerogamen und hoeheren Cryptogamen nebst Beschreibung einiger neuer Arten und Beleuchtung verwandter Pflanzen. Universitaets-Buchdruckerei. (Moskau)
  • no author (i. e.: Heinrich Sylvester Theodor Tiling) 1854 : Eine Reise um die Welt von Westen nach Osten durch das stille und atlantische Meer. Verlag von C. Krebs, Aschaffenburg


  1. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2008-07-25.  
  2. ^ "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров. (All Union Population Census of 1989. Present population of union and autonomous republics, autonomous oblasts and okrugs, krais, oblasts, districts, urban settlements, and villages serving as district administrative centers.)" (in Russian). Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года (All-Union Population Census of 1989). Demoscope Weekly (website of the Institute of Demographics of the State University—Higher School of Economics. 1989. Retrieved 2007-12-13.  
  3. ^ Late News from Siberia and Kamschatka, The New York Times, October 28, 1854.
  4. ^ Important from the Russian Possesions - Operations of the Allied Fleet in the North Pacific. The New York Times, November 12, 1855.

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