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).
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.
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.
Because the growing season in Oymyakon is so short, people don’t often eat many fruits or vegetables. Their diets consist mainly of reindeer meat, horse meat, fish, and milk from their farm animals. Even though fruits and vegetables are rarely eaten, mal nourishment is not an issue here.
Oymyakon is home to many unique buildings. Originally used as a stopover for reindeer herders, it is now home to 500 people, with only 1 store to provide provisions to residents, and 1 petrol station nearby.