Winter In The World's Coldest City Is Bone-Chilling!

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Yakutsk, Russia, is the world's coldest city (Credit: VisitYakutia.com)

With a series of storms unleashing their fury across the United States this week — all the way from California to New York — many Americans are experiencing the full wrath of the winter season. Freezing as the temperatures may seem, they are balmy compared to those in Yakutsk, the capital of Yakutia, or the Sakha Republic, in Russia. The residents of this remote Siberian city have been enduring average temperatures of below -30°F (-34°C) since December 8, 2020, with the mercury dipping as low as -59° F (-50.6 °C) on January 19, 2021.

While for most, the below-freezing weather would guarantee a slew of "snow days," for kids that live in the "world's coldest city," anything over -40°F (-40°C) is considered "cold but not very cold." Most schools only close when temperatures get below -67°F (-55°C) unless they cater to kindergarteners, in which case the exception is made when the mercury falls to -58°F (-50°C). For adults, it is almost always business as usual. For many, this means spending the day selling frozen fish and other goods in outdoor markets.

Yakutsk's Mammoth Museum features some of the world's best-preserved Ice Age fossils (Credit: VisitYakutia.com)

One would think that weather like this would have residents pining for summer, when temperatures rise to a more reasonable 65°F (18.5°C). But as it turns out, the residents of Yakutsk prefer the cold weather. Instead of basking in the heat, the long summer days are spent repairing homes and businesses to ensure they can withstand another harsh winter and — even worse — fending off swarms of giant, bloodthirsty Siberian mosquitoes. Fortunately, the warm season lasts for just a few weeks!

Yakutsk is home to the world's only museum dedicated to permafrost (Credit: VisitYakutia.com)

Located about 280 miles (450 kilometers) south of the Arctic Circle, Yakutsk was founded in the 13th century by the Yakuts, a nomadic Turkish tribe fleeing from their oppressive Mongolian rulers. It was conquered by Russia in the 1630s and remained mostly insignificant until the 1880s, when large amounts of gold and high-quality diamonds were discovered in the surrounding region.

Today, the bustling city of 300,000 residents boasts several hotels, cinemas, an opera house, a university, and even a zoo. Yakutsk is also home to the NEFU Mammoth Museum, home to one of the world’s only complete woolly mammoth skeletons, as well as those of woolly rhinos, ancient bison, horses, and dogs, dating from as far back as the Ice Age. Also fascinating is the Permafrost Kingdom. The world's only museum dedicated to permafrost, it comprises two neon-lit tunnels burrowed into a permanently frozen hill filled with dozens of fabulous, never-melting ice sculptures of local pagan gods, as well as other recognizable characters such as a sitting Buddha, a pharaoh, and Ded Moroz (Russia’s Santa Claus).

Oymyakon is the world's coldest inhabited place (Credit: Theweathernetwork.com)

While Yakutsk is the world's coldest city, it is not Earth's coldest place with inhabitants. That honor belongs to the neighboring village of Oymyakon. Home to about 500 residents, "The Pole of Cold" holds the record for the coldest temperature ever documented in an inhabited place — a bone freezing -106.96°F (-77.2°C). Brrrr!

Resources: Nationalgeographic.com, independent.co.uk, yakutia.org

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254 Comments
  • ad712
    ad712Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 11:21 am
    Meanwhile Alaskans go out in the snow in boxers in this weather.
    • ad712
      ad712Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 9:17 am
      What’s a boxer
    • sweet_candy06
      sweet_candy06Wednesday, February 24, 2021 at 9:33 am
      I feel so bad for them because winter is my least favourite season. It’s way too cold for me and I hate the snow. Christmas is the only reason I tolerate winter. 👍
      • spellking
        spellkingTuesday, February 23, 2021 at 9:44 am
        Awe poor guys!
        • mercury_dust
          mercury_dustFriday, February 19, 2021 at 12:14 pm
          A couple of days ago, where I live got tons of snow, like we could barely walk outside and it barely ever snows where l live.
          • kitey-2021
            kitey-2021Friday, February 19, 2021 at 8:28 am
            i love the cold
            • bunnylover800
              bunnylover800Friday, February 19, 2021 at 12:52 pm
              same unless l am super cold and don't have the aproprite gear on lol
            • tigersword
              tigerswordThursday, February 18, 2021 at 12:08 pm
              This is the result of the polar vortex from the Arctic... Only one word to describe it, COLD!!!
              • ninja_ghoul
                ninja_ghoulWednesday, February 17, 2021 at 8:42 am
                We had electricity go out years ago it was negative something so we went to a friends house who pwned a fire place.
                • kittiesmama
                  kittiesmamaTuesday, February 16, 2021 at 8:24 am
                  Last night in my town we lost all electricity and internet at midnight and it was freezing like maybe 20 degrees tops and it was snowing so we had to like up on blankets!!! It was super cold this morning too and electricity and internet didn't come name on till 10:00am today!! We had to stay in bed all morning and put sweatpants and a sweatshirt and socks on! It was so cold! I hate winter!!!!😑😐😟👎👎👎
                  • jade1010
                    jade1010Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6:25 am
                    That is so "cool" :)
                    • breathofthewild
                      breathofthewildSunday, February 14, 2021 at 8:08 pm
                      I like the cold kinda but id rather be warm than -30!