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).

Oymyakon coldest place on earth*



Its continuous frigid temperatures and harsh climate are what crown Oymyakon as the coldest inhabited place on Earth. The ground surrounding the town 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.



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. Forget licking anything.

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

Map it! 


At least the sunsets are beautiful.

laundry day photo courtesy of



  1. 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:)

    • 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.

  2. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • During the days of Stalin people were sent there as punishment. Jehovah s Witnesses were sent there in an effort to get rid of them and stop their preaching work. It backfired. Those stalwart people were able to make the best of a very difficult life and continued their very important teaching activities looking at it as an opportunity they wouldn’t normally have, preaching to those in this remote area.

    • Everybody have the right to stay anywhere. This article fascinate me alot. I want to go there once aatleast. just to see how the local residents are managing there life. And to see the risun of the sun and sunset view. Definitely it will be a great moment of my life.

    • Krazyk keep your opinions to yourself if you can’t be open minded about things. I bet some would say where you live is a hell hole so don’t start saying things like that to others

    • The only knob is YOU! It’s interesting to learn more about planet earth. Anyone who does not want to learn anything new & puts others down for where they live is ignorant & needs a little more education! It takes a tough person to live in that climate! I live in Winnipeg & I don’t think I’d be able to tough it out there for too long!

  3. 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.

    • Hi Zaid .. I am planning to visit Oymyakon this year. Can you please advice on how to find an accommodation there? Not for more that 3 days.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

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

  9. Verkhoyansk if u please. That’s the coldest place. Ojmjakon comes 2nd. And pls, not that Ojmjakon is located 750 meters obove sea level!

  10. I would love to visit extreme places like this but with my advancing age and health it wouldn’t be wise which is why I love photo’s and stories like this. I’ve read stories where if your not careful and properly covered the moisture in your lungs and nose could freeze in no time.

    • Alan, I agree with you. My health would not allow a visit here, although I think it would be very interesting. By the way, I am from Minnesota and am not going to complain about the weather anymore.

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