Life in the coldest village on earth

Mallik Cheripally

24 June 2015

Oymyakon, Russia has been dubbed the coldest village on earth. Known as the "Pole of Cold", this northern Russian village averages -51°C in January, with an all-time record low temperature of -71°C in February of 2013.

Living in Oymyakon, as you can imagine, comes with some very interesting challenges. Eye glasses are known to freeze to faces, batteries lose power very quickly, cars have to remain running during the day if they are not parked in a heated garage, and even if there was mobile phone reception, the phone batteries would not survive the cold.

Modern conveniences are rare here. Many buildings use outdoor toilets.

Because the growing season in Oymyakon is so short, people don't often eat many fruits or vegetables. Their diets consist mainly of reindeer meat, horse meat, fish, and milk from their farm animals. Even though fruits and vegetables are rarely eaten, malnourishment is not an issue here.

Oymyakon is home to many unique buildings. Originally used as a stopover for reindeer herders, it is now home to 500 people, with only 1 store to provide provisions to residents, and 1 petrol station nearby.

Fur is one of the only ways to stay warm in Oymyakon and is used out of necessity, not fashion. Traditional reindeer boots are very popular in the region, but can cost upwards of 300 euros.

Although Oymyakon is most known for its bone-chilling winters, the surrounding region is a popular tourist destination during the summer. Many companies offer multi-day treks through the region so tourists can experience the breathtaking beauty.

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