Living place of roughly 500 people, Oymyakon, is the secluded village in Russia at -58 degrees Fahrenheit. It is the coldest place on earth. The recent spike of the drop in this region hit -80° Fahrenheit, 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, have 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 this secluded village, it’s second nature to brace this arctic cold and endure it year on year. Yakutia, 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.
Most of the Yakutians who belong to the place use outhouses for their daily works 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. 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.
A tall concrete statue of a huge bull in the center 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.
Pipes freeze, leading to outhouses. The cold sometimes gets so unbearable that your Eyelashes will freeze into painful little needles on your face as you walk down the street. This happens only very rarely and is not of concern if you are not wandering the town for long hours. Even vodka or any alcohol for that matter will freeze if a bottle is left outside.
When it is the shortest day 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. It invites the whole world into its frigid domain every year in March for reindeer races, dog sledding, ice fishing, and other merry activities that all locals 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!