Different parts of the world experience different weather conditions due to the distance of the sun to these regions. While some parts of the world are cold, other parts are hot but there are also other parts of the world where the weather is characterized as extremely. When it comes to the extremely cold, there’s no better place to experience this freezing extremity than the world’s coldest city.
To get a closer peek, here’s what it’s like in this extreme part of the earth.
About Yakutsk: The Coldest Place On Earth
- Population: Approximately 300,000 people
- Average annual temperature: -8°C (18°F)
Yakutsk is a part of Siberia rich in diamond, gold, uranium, and other mineral resources. The city is the coldest in the world with winter temperatures reaching as low as -40°C or more. Surprisingly, summers in this extreme region are warm and sometimes considered hot with July recording an average temperature of 24°C. This makes the city the only place in the world with such a high seasonal difference.
Life In Yakutsk
It's fascinating how much humans can adapt to anything life throws at them. One would think the coldest city in the world was a freezing hell where people go around wearing sad faces but it is completely the opposite in Yakutsk. Here, the people are happy as there are roads, markets, public transportation, supermarkets, hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, and other basic infrastructure normal cities have.
After the freezing hustle and bustle of the day, many people in the city head to the bars and nightclubs where music and beer keep their souls merry.
Dressing In Yakutsk
People usually need to stack up layers of clothing to stay warm but on some extremely freezing days, even the clothes don’t help - only staying indoors can guarantee warmth and safety. Nevertheless, one can always expect to see people appear more than their actual size due to the layers of clothing and the thick jackets they have on. Generally, it takes people in Yakutsk up to 15 minutes just to wear the right amount of clothes required to stay safe outside.
The People Are Used To The Extremity
Yakutsk experiences an average winter temperature of -30°C (-22°F) and the people here may regard that as warm because the temperature can go as low as -40°C or even more. The Sakha people who mostly inhabit this region are descendants of Turkic Nomads.
Their small physique makes them highly adaptable to the cold weather here. The reduced height works to their advantage as they are less likely to lose body heat compared to individuals with increased body size who are more vulnerable to the freezing atmosphere. Needless to say, they have adapted to the extreme weather.
Drinking-Water And Food Preservation
Drinking water is from the river except that the water there is not liquid, but ice. Those in need of drinking water simply go there to cut some ice cubes then bring them home, place them into a container and then shatter the ice to pieces so it melts into drinkable water.
No one needs a freezer here. The atmosphere is pretty much suited for that task and the people use it to their advantage. Here, it’s common to see food items such as fruits and meats hanging out from windows of buildings as the atmosphere is even more effective than high-tech freezers.
Things Freeze So Easily
From the Trees standing on the streets to every single fish in the markets, most of the things in this city are frozen so hard; they could be used to drive nails into wood. Even the most fragile items such as bananas freeze and become as hard as a rock. Many things that generally stay out in the open for more than 10 minutes without warm protective covers are likely to get frozen.
Nothing is safe from the jaws of the freezing atmosphere. Even boiling water thrown into the air does not return to the ground as a liquid. In most cases, it just transforms immediately into ice crystals and then disappears in the atmosphere.
Challenges In Yakutsk
As expected, people in Yakutsk face some challenges due to the extreme weather but there’s always a solution to these challenges.
Dangers Of Body Exposure
People can only expose parts of their faces to be able to see but this can also lead to frozen eyelids and noses. Hand gloves are very essential and taking them off for as little as 5 minutes can lead to severe frostbite that can be as painful as getting pierced by hot needles.
It is dangerous to touch metal here as the skin can stick to the metal and then result in serious difficulty when trying to break the skin contact with the metal. For this reason, people do not wear glasses as the metal frame of the glass can stick so hard that it might rip off parts of the skin before getting off.
Cars are essential to get around in Yakutsk but maintaining the cars in this freezing city is difficult. Those who have their cars sitting outside for a long time are usually met with frozen engine oil and ice-covered vehicles making it difficult to start the engine.
Many car owners keep their cars in heated garages to protect their vehicles from the extreme atmosphere. Those who do not possess this infrastructure simply abandon their cars outside until summer when the weather makes it conducive to get their vehicles started again.
The City’s Architecture
The architecture in the city also differs from many parts of the world. Large buildings are situated on pillars to deal with ice shifts that might disfigure the building. Even the buildings constructed this way still end up leaning towards one side after many years.
Pipes are built above the ground
Pipes transporting water and natural gas are built above the ground as it is almost impossible to dig the ice on the ground and lay pipes there. One would expect that from a city that sits on permafrost which measures up to 140 m deep.
Outdoor Activities In Yakutsk
Due to the long winter period in Yakutsk, the snow rarely leaves the ground throughout the year, so the people here enjoy lots of winter activities for up to 6 months.