With much of the country blanketed in icy air, you may feel like you live in the coldest place on earth. However, don’t fret just yet because your hometown is probably balmy compared to Yakutsk, Russia, the coldest city in the world.
Amos Chapple an explorer, started his journey in Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha region of Northeastern Russia. It is generally regarded as…wait for it… the chilliest place on earth.
The city has a population of around 300,000 and during winter, temperatures average drops at around −30 °F. Now tell me, can you even withstand that?
the residents of the city were wonderful, friendly, worldly locals and magnificently dressed,” according to Chapple.
Locals deal with the extreme cold through sipping Russki Chai, which is basically, Russian tea.
Chapple stayed in a small guesthouse in Yakutsk before befriending locals and being invited in their home.
I tried to cook meals for them as thanks but it’s pretty hard to put together a plate of nachos in deep Siberia,” Chapple says.
On the other hand, a strong DIAMOND TRADE has provided a “diverse and healthy economy” in Yakutsk, Chapple says.
The effects of the Cold War are felt less in these areas, as ethnic Yakuts are “far more outward looking than Russians, and don’t carry the sense of wounded pride in the collapse of empire,” Chapple says.
Yakutsk is the gateway to Oymyakon, widely regarded as the coldest inhabited town on the planet. It takes two days to get there, traveling down a barren and isolated stretch of road. Chapple first had to hitch a ride to a halfway point on the road, where he was stranded for two days.
Because cars are driving in such low temperatures which must be kept running at all times, gas stations along the route stay open 24 hours a day.
Workers in the isolated petrol stations of the region work two-weeks on, two weeks off,” Chapple says.
Chapple was stranded for two days in a tiny, isolated guest house known as “Cafe Cuba”, located in the frozen wasteland along the road. He survived on reindeer soup and hot tea while waiting for another car to pick him up and finish the journey.
Whoah! What an appetite.
As Chapple shared,
The guys I ended up getting a lift with wavered between hospitable and weirdly threatening. I ate frozen horse blood and macaroni with their family before being dropped off in Oymyakon. The communist-era monument near the entrance of the town marks the record-breaking temperature of -96.16 °F recorded in the village in 1924. The reads “Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold.”
Today, the town averages -58 °F in the winter months. In the Even language spoken in Siberia, Oymyakon means “unfrozen water,” believe it or not. It is thought to reference the thermal springs in town that reindeer herders used to visit.
In the town, Chapple was taken aback by the immediate and extreme effects of the cold temperatures.
I remember feeling like the cold was physically gripping my legs. The other surprise was that occasionally my saliva would freeze into needles that would prick my lips. Chapple says a full day in this environment was “exhausting.”
Using a camera was equally difficult, says Chapple.
Breath-mist was as thick as cigar smoke and so I had to hold my breath when taking a picture. Focusing the camera lens became laborious as well, as the cold began to take grip on its mechanics.
The completely frozen ground in the area makes it impossible to run water pipes into the village’s houses. Instead, outhouses must be used. The run from the house to the bathroom outside is a torturous one.
Really, A TORTUROUS ONE.
Burying the dead also becomes difficult in Oymyakon due to the frozen ground. Prior to burials, large fires must be lit to warm the soil.
Chapple says he expected the villagers to be excited to meet newcomers. Instead, he found it hard to meet people.
The only people outside were either dashing between houses with their mitts clasped to their faces, or were drunk and looking for trouble.
Don’t even think of building your own backyard filled with crops because the ground is too cold to grow vegetables. As Oymyakon folks rely on animal husbandry or municipal work, such as at the heating plants in town seen below, for income.
These things also inform their eating habits. Much of what they eat is frozen raw fish, like salmon, whitefish, and even horse liver. Mostly, though, they survive on meat soup.
The residents of the town identify strongly with their surroundings and history as ethnic Yakutians. Chapple says that,
Life rolls on much like anywhere else, but with an eye constantly on the thermometer. Below -58 F° and things start to shut down.”
Believe it or not, when summer does eventually roll around in the area, temperatures can be fairly moderate. The record high in the area is actually 96° F. However, the summer months are short lived, and the brutal winter months drag on for what seems like an eternity.
credits to business insider