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Home > Environmental, Explained, Russia, World's Most > The Coldest Inhabited Place on Earth: Oymyakon, Russia

The Coldest Inhabited Place on Earth: Oymyakon, Russia

Oymyakon, a small village of about 500 people in the Sakha region of Russia, holds the claim to fame as being the coldest continually inhabited place on Earth. Located approximately 20 miles northwest of Tomtor on the Kolyma Highway in Siberia, it is not easily accessible.

Situated in an area known as Stalin’s Death Ring, Oymyakon set the record for the lowest temperature ever recorded by a permanently-inhabited settlement in 1924 when a Russian scientist endured a frigid -96° Fahrenheit (-71 C).

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The ground surrounding Oymyakon is permanently frozen. Average temperatures range from -50°F in December to +50°F in August, with an annual mean of zero degrees. Daylight in winter can last just 3 hours while in summer it can extend to 21 hours.

There are no hotels in Oymyakon, but several families are said to be willing to host guests for the night.

Oymyakon loves visitors; the mayor will give any guest a certificate celebrating a visit to the “Pole of the Cold.”  The town is very remote; the nearest city is in Yakutsk, a 3-day drive away.

(Click thumbnails to enlarge)

For the most part the landscape is white year-round. Just about everything is covered with snow and ice. The principle industry is still very traditional, with fur trading and ice fishing stalwarts of the local economy.

Despite the endless snow, the views are fantastic. The arctic location of Oymyakon yields some of the most beautiful sunsets in the world, and they are very popular with photographers.

Progress in Oymyakon is slow; in 2008 the town’s school received its first indoor toilet. Mobile phone service is not available, and even if it was phones wouldn’t be able to function in those temperatures. No farming takes place and there is only a single shop to provide all of the town’s food and material supplies. Residents cannot wear glasses outside as they will instantly freeze to one’s face.

The name Oymyakon means “non-freezing water.”  It was named for a nearby hot spring.

Map it!  click here

 

At least the sunsets are beautiful!

laundry day photo courtesy of AskYakutia.com

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  1. V.Kirillin
    August 5, 2011 at 15:56

    hi, quiet nice article. Have you been there?

  2. ashish
    January 2, 2012 at 07:21

    But how do people earn the living there….

  3. rastlinka*
    February 24, 2012 at 04:55

    I can´t find the right words to describe how beautiful country it is! waw. thank you for posting such a nice pics! I´m fascinated by Russia and one of my greatest dreams is to visit this country and traveled it. some day:)

    • Hans de Haas
      July 4, 2014 at 05:15

      And…… did you do it ? Two years have gone since you posted your reaction….. I have travelled the Trans Siberian Railway a few wks ago and found an article about these cold places. I will go there for dure.

  4. Krazyk
    July 4, 2012 at 09:16

    Heres what I dont understand. Why would ayone want to settle this hell hole in the first place and live there? Are these people retards or fools? What the hell is the point of living if you cant go outside and enjoy warmth, sunshine, and swimming? Did some stupid Russian explorer find this dump and say “Hey, the weather is below freezing year round and it will be a living hell, so lets set up a town here. What a bunch of n00bs. We should all enjoy 90+ weather and swimming. These guys are idiots.

    • Solnze
      July 9, 2012 at 13:42

      Well if you’re THAT narrow minded, no one cares, you can spend your whole life in Moscow or wherever you like, but don’t blame others for their choices and don’t leave such feedback on such great informative article. No one cares for your narrow minded opinion.

    • Artemis Levesque
      March 16, 2013 at 05:56

      you dont understand. it has its goods. if u think that it is some kind of hellhole u r sooo narrowminded. people who live there r used to the cold. how would they cope in australia or africa? Think, you dimwit.

  5. November 17, 2012 at 20:02

    I was there with a scientific team three years ago to make a research about the ability of middle east man to stand and face the reduction of temperatures that reach to minus 50 C ° in the Siberian winter while he faces the opposite circumstances “over 50 C° degree in the summer” We discovered a very important and significant scientific observation which said that
    ”man can live in the temperature of minus while he couldn’t in above”. whereas Living in Degree (50 C° -or more) is truly impossible for others who can’t used to live there for a long time.
    My name is Zaid from US , originally from Iraq which is the hottest area in the world particularly in August .where the temperature reaches there to 60 C° under the shade.

  6. Robert
    November 30, 2012 at 16:00

    I’ve been reading your site content all day and have very much enjoyed doing so. Your posts are well written and your subject matter is intriguing. Keep up the great work, I certainly appreciate your efforts. Thank You.

  7. justin
    January 16, 2013 at 09:01

    how cold is it all year around in oymyakon

  8. Gerson
    January 23, 2013 at 07:57

    Que frio…………

  9. January 24, 2013 at 04:02

    God bless these people who live, and experience the bitter cold, you have to respect them for who they are and the everyday challenges that they face that all of us in North America take for granted. I live close to Death Valley but I favor heat over cold being I’ve lived on the desert for most of my life. if they ever wanted to come to America, I would open my door and my heart to them to show them a world they never knew existed.

  10. Jess
    February 20, 2013 at 11:41

    what are the heating systems and plumbing like out there to keep warm inside? if everything is inderground, but the ground is solid as well, how do they access reliable sources for some kind of warmth? Itis wild how societies manage in different states, but why stay in “Stalin’s death ring” when there are so many other places to convene? I guess i am just flabbergasted at the thought of how we complain here in america, as usual, and dont go to places like this to learn what it means to survive (and how) when set with the mininmum and faced with a environmentally challenged lifestyle to sustain on.

  11. Thelisha Thomas
    September 1, 2013 at 20:01

    I think the people that live in these climates are survivors. I’ve been in cold weather, but never this cold.

  12. September 15, 2013 at 05:08

    Real coldest place in the world – Verkhoyansk, Russia
    Oymyakon – fake place

    http://zoxexivo.com/en/entry/trip-to-verkhoyansk

  13. Dean
    December 12, 2013 at 11:22

    I would so love to visit here

    • nekdo
      September 27, 2014 at 04:30

      Can you buy a land here?

  14. Jura
    September 21, 2014 at 11:54

    My parents lived there at some point, I don’t think I will ever go there although I really want to.

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