Located 5,000 km east of Moscow, the Siberian city of Yakutsk is known as the coldest on Earth. It was abnormally chilly this week as the mining city saw temperatures plummeting to as low as minus 50 degrees Celsius, though it often sees mercury dropping much below minus 40 degrees, Reuters reported.
“You can’t fight it. You either adjust and dress accordingly or you suffer,” Anastasia Gruzdeva, a resident of Yakutsk, told the news agency.
Sparsely populated Yakutsk, which remains shrouded by icy mist, is home to nearly 3.5 lakh people. Like Anastasia, who was seen wearing two scarves, two pairs of gloves and several hats and hoods, as described in the Reuters report, all residents have to dress in multiple layers.
A company, Alrosa, runs a diamond mine in the city, and most of the residents work for it.
Why Yakutsk Is Always Cold
Yakutsk, the regional capital of Sakha province, is located on the permafrost of the Russian Far East. Permafrost is a frozen layer — consisting of soil, gravel, sand etc and usually bound together by ice — on or under Earth’s surface, and it remains so permanently.
According to a BBC report, Yakutsk has seen temperatures dipping as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
However, it’s not that there is no summer in this Russian city. While Yakutsk holds record as the world’s coldest city, according to National Geographic, it is also the one with the greatest variation in temperature.
In fact, the BBC report mentioned above said, temperatures can rise to over 40 degrees in the summer, but since the top layer of the frozen ground warms and defrosts then, the topsoil takes a long time to drive away the chill. As a result, the summer is very brief but not without sunny days and a solstice festival that draws tourists in large numbers.
‘Dress Like A Cabbage’
So, how do people cope with the cold?
No special secrets, the Reuters report quoted another resident as saying. “Just dress warmly. In layers, like a cabbage,” said Nurgusun Starostina, who sells frozen fish at a market, and does not need a fridge or freezer.
“You don’t really feel the cold in the city. Or maybe it’s just the brain prepares you for it, and tells you everything is normal,” said Anastasia.