The coldest inhabited place on Earth! Oymyakon! According to Russian school geography books the temperature in Oymyakon, Yakutia, once dropped to -71,2C, but it was never officially registered. Though the temperature of -67,7 was actually registered but in a neighboring village Tomtor where an airport is situated. Besides, Oymyakon has a competitior for the status of the coldest place in the North hemisphere – Verkhoyansk where allegedly in 1885 the temperatures dropped to -67,8C. But how accurate those data could be? Oymyakon as the capital of cold still has many suppoters.
Those figures are not so important, just believe it’s cold as hell even in spring. Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov has been there in March and his thermometer showed -53C.
Temperature contrast in Oymyakon is amazing – it can be -50 at night and -30 in daytime under the sun!
It is problematic to get to Oymyakon. Long and expensive. Some people drive their From Yakutsk (928 km) or from Magadan (1008 km). The closest airport is in Ust-Nara, 11 hours of driving from Oymyakon. It’s a luck to catch a chatered flight, though aircrafts of “Polar airlines” do fly from Magan airport there.
Czechoslovakian L-410 (made in Russia since 2018, by the way), 2 hours, 45000 rubles (about 700 dollars) for two-way ticket.
Only eight passengers aboard this time.
Bringing fruits and veggies to the cold land.
An-2 aircrafts in airport Tomtora, the nearest one to Oymyakon. Though they do not fly in winter.
Such biplanes may transport up to twelve passengers in warm time.
And now imagine, there are no any structures, services, buildings for passengers here, in Tomtor. No check-ups, no registration. If nobody meets you, be ready to get frozen to death.
Tomtor airport not far from Oymyakon appeared in 1942 when Russia and the USA made a contract. Americans sent fighters and bombers, transferred from Alaska, to the USSR, so an airport in Tomtor was quickly built to accept them.
After the war about 300 people lived there and worked for the airport that served to civilians then.
Weather station of Tomtor, that very place where they registered the temperature of -67,7C on February, 6th, 1933.
Oymyakon was slowly becoming a tourist place. Yearly it is visited by approximately 1,000 people, mainly in winter. It is not so interesting in summer, tourists come to feel real cold, see wonderful Yakutian nature and get to various incredible wild locations.
Cool ice gallery in Tomtor.
Rails of the old mine are still there.
It looks fantastic both in summer and winter.
Ice sculptures inside the gallery.
The monument to the cold pole.
That legendary temperature from school books.
There were 105 GULAG camps in Yakutia that generally occupied one third of the region’s territory. In the most severe conditions prisoners had to mine coal and gold, harvest timber and build a grand highway connecting goldbearing locations of Kolyma and the mainland. That highway was also called “the road of death”. Those who didn’t make the labor plan were shot dead.
Terrible figures go like this:
February, 4th 1938 – 56 prisoners punished by death;
February, 5th – 17 prisoners;
February, 24th – 204 prisoners;
March, 4th – 94 prisoners;
March, 7th – 70 prisoners;
March, 8th – 64 prisoners and so on…
There are no asphalted roads in Oymyakon.
Tomtor does not have hotels, but it has guest houses like this one. 500 bucks per day for one person. If more tourists come, they will probably build hotels.
Amazingly enduring Yakut horses – they can live under the open sky at -60C and seek food by themselves, digging frozen grass with hoofs from under the snow.
UAZ is the most popular vehicles there.
How do you like the wild print interior of this one?
Road to Oymyakon.
The war monument in Oymyakon.
“Oymyakon – the pole of cold”.
“Here the lowest temperature in the North Hemisphere equal to -71,2 degrees celsius was registered”.
Chyskhaan, Yakut Lord of the cold.
Guest house in Oymyakon.
They could attract much more tourists if they set the goal.
Locals burn wood for heat.
A big school is being built in Tomtor.
Some horses are used for food, not for riding. Their milk is used for making kumis.
Oymyakon as Yakutia in general is an absolutely underestimated region. Instead of 1000 yearly tourists they could attract at least 100 000. “The coldest place on Earth is worth it!”
Let’s hope one day they will build a nice international airport that would accept Boeing and Airbus aircrafts directly from Alaska, from Beinjing, Singapore, Tokyo… Tourists will ride Yakut horses, drink vodka from ice cups, eat raw liver of foals, slices of frozen fish and meat served exceptionally cold, enjoy hot Russian bath and immediately after – crazy Yakut cold!
Aren’t you fed up with beaches and endless crowded sights? Don’t you crave for some exotica? Well, Yakutia can give it to you. It just needs the man of power who will open this wonderful region to the world.