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The Coldest Winter in the World: Yakutsk, Russia

12. November 2009 by Michelle 0 Comments

Dreaming of a white winter wonderland? Pack your thermal underwear and head to Yakutsk in January, where extreme winter low temperatures can drop to -64°C (-84°F)! This remote capital city of the Sakha Republic is located in Far East Siberia, just below the Arctic Circle.


Yakutsk is a major port on the Lena River which is frozen 9 months out of the year. With such a freezing climate, one would think this remote city, 6 time zones away from Moscow, would be mostly barren. However, more than 200,000 thick skinned people call Yakutsk home and are used to the average winter temps of -45°C (-51°F). They continue about their daily lives, unless temps drop below -55°C (-67°F), then schools close and outside workers take the day off. You will see men, women, and children donning fur from head to toe, claiming it is the only clothing that keeps them warm.


Although known for the frigid winters, the summers in Yakutsk average a more tolerable and even delightful 25°C (77°F) and record highs have even heated up to 35°C (96°F)! Even if only for 2 to 3 months, these temperatures provide a more attractive time for seeing the sights and beautiful landscapes, such as Lena’s Pillars, Oyunsky Square, and The Old City. There are also many interesting museums like the Mammoth Museum (see a cryogenically preserved head of a wooly mammoth from the Ice Age), the Museum of Archaeology and Ethnography (history and mythology of the Yakutians) and The Underground Laboratory of the Institute of Cryogenics (the only museum in the world of natural cryogenics). There are also many theaters, and for the kids, even a circus and a zoo.