Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city

Yakutsk, worlds coldest city. Photo by Doris Heimann, RP.

A popular German newspaper RP published Doris Heimann’s article dedicated to Yakutsk under the title «Jakutsk – kälteste Stadt der Welt. Minus 45 Grad sind normal» (Yakutsk, the coldest city in the world. Minus 45C is regular temp.)

I remember Doris Heimann, Moscow-based RP reporter. She was in Yakutsk two years ago. A year ago she published her story. And only now I digged out her story.

The article is written in German, but thanks to the service translate.google.com it is possible to figure out what it says about:

(RP) The winter lasts from October to May. At the beginning of the temperature drops to minus 45 degrees. In the town in northeastern Siberia, about 240,000 people live in extreme conditions. In the permafrost soil never thaws out properly.

Ice cold in Yakutsk

Stiff frozen fish are like giant Baguette vertically into the baskets of the market traders. On the tables are in front of thick white glass. It is frozen milk that is sold here in portions. The biting cold is so strong that it triggers at each new arrival a coughing fit.

Nura Starostina makes nothing.»Minus 35 degrees — that’s not cold. We used to have here in the winter, minus 55 degrees. «The shopkeeper is based relaxed on their frozen fish. She wears a large fur hat of gray fox, his feet stuck in Filzgaloschen two Fellüberzügen. At the farmers market in Yakutsk, the whole day is traded in the open. No job for wimps: Yakutsk, located in northeastern Siberia is the coldest major city in the world.Approximately 240,000 people live in extreme conditions. The winter lasts from October to May, and in the coldest months of January and February, minus 45 degrees are the norm.

The region of Yakutia in northeastern Siberia, has an area of over three million square kilometers. The distance from the extreme west to the far east is 2500 kilometers. That’s enough for three time zones: Within Yakutia, there are six, seven and eight hours time difference with Moscow.Accordingly, it is sparsely populated: Yakutia has one million inhabitants. Approximately 640 kilometers northeast of Yakutsk is the place Ojmakon. He is considered the «cold pole» of all the populated areas on Earth: The lowest temperature was recorded here, was minus 71.2 degrees.

Six hours does the flight from Moscow, and after the ramshackle Tupolev airline «Jakutia» has landed on a Eisbuckelpiste, one enters a world with special rules.The car engines have to run all the time — in the cold, they do not usually jump on again. Slowly, as in a dream the traffic, sliding over the icy roads, wheels rotate through, slipping on their bus stops. Most Used cars are sedans with the steering wheel on the right side. Their owners have imported over the Pacific port of Vladivostok directly from Japan.You get better with the harsh climatic conditions than the Ladas and Volgas cope.

«Bone Road» connects with the outside world

The only road to Yakutsk with the rest of the world connects, takes 2032 kilometers to the port city of Magadan. Five days need a truck driver for the line — who are still on the road, which threatens to endanger life. There are conditions, like the one subject only to his worst enemy. The Russian czars exiled their opponents in this inhospitable corner. «Lived at the outbreak of the October Revolution in Yakutsk 500 political exiles,» says Vladimir Fyodorov, chief editor of the local newspaper «Jakutia.

Leading Bolsheviks and SRs here spent years of her life. Most of them worked as teachers or lecturers. The main objective was to keep them away from political life. «Compared to the Stalin era was the human,» says Fedorov. Stalin had built in the area around Yakutsk hundreds of prison camps. The Gulag prisoners built the path to Magadan, which is called because of the many victims as «road to the bone.»Furthermore, they toiled in the mines.

For Yakutia is fabulously rich in natural resources. The group «Alrosa» promotes the region diamonds. The precious stones from the ice make up 20 percent of worldwide shipments of rough diamonds from. There are also silver, gold and coal deposits. In a Yakut legend says: When the gods of Yakutia flew, so they got cold hands, that they dropped all their treasures. The Soviet Union was pumping billions into the development of the region. In the 90s, the crisis came, subsidies were completely eliminated. «At that time, many have migrated, where the conditions were too harsh,» said Fedorov. Those who remained, today work. «We do not live arm.»

The residents of Yakutsk do it even with murderous Frost, dress amazingly elegant. «About 3,000 to € 4,000 is needed for the equipment,» says Bolot Botschkarow, a blogger who writes on the Internet about his homeland. The basic equipment includes fur coat, hat and special gloves. «And of course the traditional Unty — the hottest boots of the world,» says Bolot. Inside thick wool felt, without reindeer, decorated with colorful fabric borders. The price for the well-rounded warm and pretty shoes: 300 to 400 euros.

Bolot Botschkarow is Yakut — here are a Turkic-based, its agents, almost half of the population. Mark Schat 60 steps leading down into the basement of the Permafrost Research Institute. Ice crystals forming on the ceiling symmetrical patterns. Just four meters below the surface of the ground is frozen the year around, hard as concrete. Taut it on, turns the whole into crumbly sand. «Permafrost covers 65 per cent of Russia and 98 percent of Yakutia,» says the researcher. In other countries trying to build is not even in this difficult surface. In Yakutsk, there is no choice: All the buildings are on stilts, for each has a hole in the rock-hard ground to be drilled.

Winters are «milder become»

Schat scientists confirmed the observation of market woman Nura: «The winter in Yakutsk have become milder.» With the global warming of the permafrost will be a thin year or two centimeters. In Alaska and Canada, we are not alarmed, in Russia. In Yakutia, the layer is 300 meters to 1500 meters thick. Measured by the loss was not dramatic, says Schat.

The wind drives the snow on the asphalt. The road passes through endless, snowy expanse — rarely meets a car. Twelve kilometers from Yakutsk lies the village Tulagino. Bauer Yuri Fedorov (68) and his wife Ekaterina, eleven cows. To keep warm the barn to lubricate the Yakut farmers manure on the roof and walls — which then freezes into a layer of insulation. Previously, the mansion belonged to a collective farm, the farmers are now self-employed in Tulagino. «Today, we are better,» says farmer’s wife Ekaterina confidently. «In Soviet times there was nothing to buy. If we now successfully operates at, you can afford for something. »

On the snow-covered pasture behind the house are 20 small shaggy horses. «But we do not keep the riding,» says Bauer Fedorov and invites into his house. Inside, a gas heater, log cabin bar exude coziness Bullert — there are fat horses.

P.S. Doris, many thanks for your story.

See more about extreme cold weather in Russia’s Siberian city of Yakutsk and Yakutia’s other areas in posts filed as Cold Weather. Enjoy Siberia!

4 Comments on “Yakutsk, the world’s coldest city

  1. please send more & more images on Yakutsk.

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