The winter storm that is currently covering the entire East Coast of the United States is the indisputable ruler of all the headlines. And don’t get me wrong, this extreme weather is strange for North America, but it is far from being strange for some other parts of the world. That harsh weather has been, in fact, a common weather condition for the vast region of northern Europe and Asia.
Actually, one of the coldest Human settlements on Earth, where even saliva freezes on your face. is located in Russia (where else?). It is the town of Oymyakon where temperatures go extremely low during the winter. I averages somewhere around -58°F (-58°C). The record low temperature was recorded in 1924 and it was -98°F (-72°C). And why are people not talking about the citizens of that town? And how do they actually live there? Well, one Adventure photographer, Amos Chapple, decided to go there and to record how they live.
They Are a Hardworking Population
Those harsh climate conditions have made them one of the most resilient humans on the planet. They have to endure temperatures of -58°F every single day and to do their daily routines like the rest of us.
Yakutsk Is The Coldest Capital City in the World!
Near Oymiakon lies a city of Yakutsk, which is the largest city in that region. Chapple had to visit both, city and the village. He even spent five or six weeks in that freezing area documenting those harsh conditions and complicating daily routines of their residents.
Coldest Capital City in That Region
Yakutsk is the largest city and the capital of Sakha region in Northeastern Russia. It is also the largest capital city in the world where over 300,000 people live and work under average winter temperatures of -30°F.
What About Locals?
In spite of that harsh climate, locals are all well dressed and extremely friendly! They love to drink something that is called Russki Chai and that helps them with freezing temperatures. However, that isn’t tea – It’s Vodka!
Very Friendly Locals
Chapple made some friends there and he even stayed in some small guest house. As a way to say “Thank You” to all those new friends, Chapple came to an idea to cook for them. He invited them to a dinner and started preparing meals. He described the event as impossible. He found out that it is extremely difficult to cook in those freezing temperatures, “I really tried to cook a couple of meals for them as a way to say thanks, but it is pretty hard to put together a plate of nachos over there, deep in Siberia,” Chapple said.
What Drives the Economy of That Area?
This is a very rich region. Its residents are making money from diamond trade and that is the main source of their income. Ok, at least it is one of the main sources. They even managed to dodge all negative effects of the Cold War, and Chapple described them as a people that are not bothered with the long-lost communist state.
Barren Road to Oymyakon
That city is a gateway to Oymyakon, which is the coldest inhabited town on Earth. You have to travel for 2 whole days from Yakutsk to Oymyakon. The only way is a barren road where Chapple got stranded for those two days and had to hitch a ride in order to get to his destination.
The weather was that cold that you can’t just stop your car. You have to keep the engine running all the time, and gas stations only work 12h per day. Plus, gas station workers usually work for two weeks and that they get two weeks off. That is why Chapple had to stay in a guesthouse named “Café Cuba” where he only ate Reindeer soup and steaming tea until he finally found a ride to the small town (or a village).
Oymyakon Means “Frozen Water”
People that offered Chapple a place to stay fed him with frozen horse blood and macaroni. And after he found out how friendly his saviors really are, they finally reached the village. The entrance read, “Oymyakon, The Pole of Cold.” Actually, the name of the village translates to, “Frozen Water.”
That freezing weather started taking its toll on Chapple’s body. That cold weather was gripping his legs, freezing his saliva on his face, and pricking his lips. The time he spent in that village was extremely exhausting, as Chapple described to the “Weather Channel”.
It was so cold that his camera started failing. The mechanism simply didn’t work because of the cold weather.
There Are No Toilets
This is a rural area so they still have those old “outhouses”. And it is really difficult to go outside and do your thing in an outhouse when it is that cold.
You Can’t Bury Your Dead That Easily
The land is all frozen due to those extremely low temperatures so it is hard as concrete. That is why people have to lit a huge fire before a burial to heat up the soil.
Residents Don’t Really Like To Go Out
In the huge city, people have to circulate all over it to go to work, buy stuff, etc. But in Oymykon, villagers try to stay in their homes as much is that possible. They are always dashing between their homes with gloves really close to their faces or just wandering around drunk.
No Vegetables Grow in Oymyakon
The ground in that village is so hard and cold that you can’t grow any vegetables. That is why its residents mainly depend on animal husbandry and some municipal work. That also dictates their eating habits which mainly consist of frozen raw fish, horse liver, reindeer meat, frozen horse blood and meat soup.
Glasses Can Stick To Your Face
Yeah, if you ever end up in some region where temperatures go that low, please don’t wear glasses. They stick to your faces like a glue.
Moderate Climate During Summer
Summer temperatures in this region are somewhere around 96°F (35°C). But that period is extremely short and wintertime seems like the eternity. According to Chapple, people over there never complain about the cold weather. They are, in fact, complaining about the warm weather.