How would you manage living in a village with average January temperatures of -50C?
The valley of Oymyakon in northeast Russia is known as the 'Pole of Cold' and it is no wonder the village is the coldest permanently occupied settlement in the world. This is the lowest recorded temperature for any permanently inhabited location on Earth and the lowest temperature recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. This area truly experiences the 'Russian winter' as it is know around the world.
The village is located around 750 meters above sea level and the length of a day varies from 3 hours in December to 21 hours in the summer. And because its extreme cold temperatures in winters, in June, July and August temperatures over 30C are not uncommon. In August as the weather beings to change, the temperature can easily drop down to -15C or jump as high as 30C.
The Pole of Cold is located not far from Kolyma Highway (also known as the Road of Bones) which was made in the 1930's by Stalin's prisoners .. The road starts off from Yakutsk and heads off up to Magadan and surmounts three major mountain ranges, which in combination with other climatic factors create the unique climate of the area.
The village was, in the 1920s and 1930s, a stopover for reindeer herders who would water their flocks from the thermal spring. Ironically, Oymyakon actually means 'non-freezing water', but even alcohol freeze here.
Astoundingly, around 500 Siberian people make their homes in this seemingly uninhabitable environment, mainly engaged in traditional occupations such as reindeer herding, hunting and fishing. In the last few years, another small, specialized industry has emerged here, tourism.
Every year in March a traditional Russian festival is held in the Pole of Cold, the coldest place on earth. It unites experienced travelers and locals who can be regarded as true explorers of the World. Even Santa Claus, of Lapland, and Russian Ded Moroz, of Veliky Ustug, have visited and founded their residences here. These fabulous heroes meet their colleague Chyskhaan (the Lord of Frost) who is considered the Pole of Cold host.
During the festival, you visitors witness vivid celebrations showcasing the traditional costumes, music and dance of the indigenous Evens people as well as reindeer racing, ice fishing, dog sleding and native cuisine.
The place is worth visiting! It is something to do at least once in a life-time. Those people who have been to this place can be called "True subjugators of Earth". Visiting Oymyakon in winter is arguably one of the most Russian things to do in Russia.