Umair Jalali describes an
extremely cold place
The month of January is the coldest month of winter and people shiver and put on multiple layers of clothing to go outside and brave the cold. Most parts of the globe freezes with temperatures going down to deep levels and becoming difficult to bear. Amidst freezing temperatures the city of Yakutsk holds the record as the mercury here goes down to extreme degrees. Not surprisingly the city is located in the coldest region of the world, Siberia. Russia is the coldest city on Earth of Yakutsk is not only the most frigid city in the world but, quite obviously, the least populated city.
The inhabitants of Yakutsk are currently dealing with temperatures in the -50ºC range (-58ºF) as the region experiences a more frigid and longer-lasting than average cold snap. However, locals are well accustomed to this freezing weather and have previously experienced subzero temperatures well below -50ºC/-58ºF. And this is not the end as Yakutsk residents have experienced -60ºC/-76ºF and some local people claim that temperatures have dropped even further. Local residents claim it gets so cold the thermometers cannot register the temperature. However, they have no proof given that the thermometer only reads down as far as -63 ºC [minus 81.4 ºF].
Even though Yakutsk is a city one might still think hardly anyone lives there but that is not the case as the 2021 Russian census, 355,443 people call Yakutsk home. It is the capital city of the Sakha Republic and the devilishly cold temperatures the city experiences are not surprising when one considers it is located just 450 km south of the Arctic Circle. Scientists point out that the topography of the area is a substantial contributing factor to the freezing temperatures that the city endures. These places are in local valleys, surrounded by higher terrain with the consequence that so-called cold air lakes easily form under calm winter conditions.
Oddly despite being the least densely populated city in the world Yakutsk is now one of Russia’s most rapidly growing regional cities. This makes one wonder why people continue to live in such a harsh environment, or in the case of Yakutsk, why are more people moving there? Native Yakuts made up 40% of the population and they are proud of their heritage and do not wish to migrate out of it. In the case of the native Yakuts, living in such harsh conditions is all they have ever known and they are proud of the natural beauty of their home. It is mentioned that job opportunities attract people and the city has ample resources to accommodate growing number of people.
The area is full of gold, diamonds, and coal and is home to Alrosa making many residents to work in the mines in the area. In this context it is described that Alrosa owns Russia’s diamond monopoly, producing 20% of the world’s rough diamond supply. This attraction is said to making Russians willing to move six times zones away from Moscow and endure some of the harshest winters on the planet for the opportunity to land a well-paying gig. TW