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Oymyakon Mountains
Written by Jaihari on May 15, 2020 Share on

Life In Oymyakon, Russia, The Coldest Place on Earth and How People Are Adapting To It

The living place of roughly 500 people, Oymyakon, Russia is experiencing the most brutal winter right now. The secluded village in Russia at -58 degrees Fahrenheit is the coldest place on earth. The recent spike of the drop in this region hit -80° Fahrenheit recently, which was so cold that the village’s digital thermometer broke down. The village has been an object of curiosity as to its demand for this freezing cold and its tough and resilient residents who withstand it year after year, has grown.

It is situated about 750 meters above sea level and the lonely village has only one shop and one school that shut down in case the temperatures dip below -60 Fahrenheit. In the secluded village, it’s a second nature to brace this arctic cold and endure it year on year. Yakutians, also what the people living in Oymyakon are called locally, have managed to come up with a variety of spectacular tricks to survive in this harsh weather and they are given below,

Oymyakon Forest
Oymyakon Forest
Image Credits: Google Images

Most of the Yakutians who belong to the place use outhouses for their daily deeds as the indoor plumbing freezes during the time of harsh winter and there is absolutely no water supply available through traditional methods. Cars are kept in well-heated garages and have a layer of protection to them. And if they leave them outside for any reason to go and get things, they are left running all the time, sometimes even through the night so that the engine does not seize. It should not come as a surprise but Crops do not grow on this frozen land, so the Yakutians have a majorly carnivorous diet that they follow to keep themselves warm and energetic during this season to brace for the harsh chillness. The foods that are consumed are including but not limited to raw flesh, reindeer meat, long-sliced frozen fish freshly caught, frozen horse liver, and ice cubes of horse blood with macaroni.

While we now know Oymyakon is the coldest inhabited place on earth, it’s not as cold and freezing as the spot of land at the bottom of the world in Antarctica, where the temperatures dip as low as -133 degrees Fahrenheit on a regular day.

This remote village of Oymyakon in Russia is closer to the Arctic Circle than it is to the nearest city. Now that is an interesting phenomenon to be a part of. A monument in the town square memorializes and idolizes the day in 1924 when the temperature fell to a record-breaking 96 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Oymyakon is also situated north of the Sea of Okhotsk and is very remote to the civilization of much more inhabited places.

Oymyakon is cold, very cold.

The tall concrete statue of a huge bull in the centre of town marks the coldest temperature to be ever recorded in any inhabited place on earth. Ironically, the meaning of Oymyakon in Russian is “water that doesn’t freeze.” The settlement was established in the 1920s when the winter herders would water their reindeer at a thermal spring over there and thought it would be ideal for them to settle in.

Everything freezes in Oymyakon!

Oymyakon winter
Oymyakon Village
Image Credits: Google Images

Pipes freeze, leading to outhouses. The cold sometimes gets so unbearable that your eyelashes and saliva will freeze into painful little needles on your face as you walk down the street. This happens only very rarely and is not of a concern if you are not wandering about the town for long hours. Even vodka or any alcohol for that matter will freeze if a bottle is left outside.

All hail the Lord of Frost!

Oymyakon Travel
Oymyakon Landscape
Image Credits: Google Images

When it is the shortest days of the year, every nightfall is almost 21 hours long in Oymyakon. But then at the end of every dark winter completed, the town hosts the “Cold Pole Festival,” which is hosted by Chyskhaan which is a pagan spirit that the Yakutians celebrate. He invites the whole world into his frigid domain every year in March for reindeer races, dog sledging, ice fishing, and other merry activities that all local participate in. But since Oymyakon is a two-day long drive from Yakutsk, the nearest airport, the prospect of reaching the place can be tiresome for some but for the adventure hearted, it will be exciting and fun!

Siberia gets such a heatwave that ice even melts.

Oymyakon Snow
Oymyakon Village
Image Credits: Google Images

This past January, the overall temperatures in Oymyakon hit around 88 degrees below zero, close to its 1924 cold record which was the lowest ever. But just two weeks later, the Oymyakon region was blessed by a comparatively warm spell, with devices spiking to a balmy 17 degrees of warmth. Omolon, which is just to the east, hit 38.4 degrees, which in itself was 64 degrees warmer than its January average. These extreme temperature shifts in the Arctic region might become common on a self-warming planet that keeps getting warmer by the year —though the residents of Oymyakon might be joyous for the chance to thaw out their eyelashes and blink properly without hindrance for a few days every winter.

Some say its appeal may be mostly due to the gimmick of it being in such a bizarre climate region overall. But it has a relatively successful tourism market where people flock in every now and then to experience the extreme cold and life of the locals. Area and weather-specific activities such as reindeer hunts, ice fishing, and the immersion of enjoying the hot springs when the temperatures are below zero degrees are always available to those who would like to experience this as opposed to a tropical vacation spot that has become so regular nowadays.

So, here is a list of things that you will experience in Oymyakon, the coldest place on earth. If you are planning to visit this freezing tundra do pack in your jackets! We at Pickyourtrail can help you plan this and make it a memorable trip for you. So what are you waiting for? Let’s go on a chilly adventure already!

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