This Is How People Live In The Harshest and Coldest Inhabited Place On Earth


If you thought the cold temperatures in the USA are an indication of harsh weather conditions, then what would you say to the coldest place on earth where your saliva freezes on your face. Even so, life goes on and there are actually people living in a village termed the coldest village in the world. Who would want to go to the coldest place on earth? Of course, it exists in Russia where the town of Oymyakon sees extremely low temperatures averaging -58 degrees F every winter. The record so far was in 1924 when the temperature plummeted to -98 degrees F. Not much is known about the way of life in this freezing town which actually has a sizeable population.

However, Adventure photographer Amos Chapple decided to do a photoshoot on the incredible location and visited the village documenting through photography, how people lived in severe cold.

Oymyakon sees extremely low temperatures

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1Hardworking population

Nowhere in the world will you find humans more resilient than those in Oymyakon, Russia which is regarded as the cold inhabited place on earth. The population braves temperatures of – 58 degrees F and goes about their daily work in all normalcy.

Oymyakon, Russia

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2Yakutsk is the coldest capital in the world

The nearest city center is Yakutsk and Chapple visited both the village and the city. He spent five weeks in the area documenting the harsh conditions under which the local populace goes about their daily lives.

Yakutsk is the coldest capital in the world

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3Coldest capital city in the world

Yakutsk is the capital of the Sakha region in Northeastern Russia. It is also regarded as the coldest capital city in the world with a population of 300, 000 people. In Yakutsk, average winter temperatures are -30 degrees F.

Coldest capital city in the world

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4How he describes the locals

Locals in the region of the village and city are impeccably dressed, friendly and welcoming. Their local drink called Russki Chai is what helps them get by the cold. Incidentally, it isn’t tea if that’s what you’re thinking because it’s Vodka!

How he describes the locals

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5Friendly locals

Chapple befriended locals and even stayed in a small guest house in the city. He invited several of them for dinner but described the event as difficult because it is extremely hard to cook in the biting cold “I tried to cook meals for them as thanks, but it’s pretty hard to put together a plate of nachos in deep Siberia,” Chapple said.

cold russia amos chapple

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6What drives the economy?

The fact that the local population is well off is the bustling diamond trade that drives their economy. Even the effects of the cold war haven’t been felt in Yakutsk and Chapple described them as outward and outgoing Russians who don’t have a chip on the shoulder and some wounded pride about a long lost communist empire.

girl walking on the coldest place

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7Barren road to Oymyakon

The city is hailed as the gateway to Oymyakon, the coldest inhabited town on earth. It was a two-day journey from Yakutsk driving down a barren road on which Chapple was stranded for two whole days. Ultimately he had to hitch a ride.

Barren road to Oymyakon

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8Stranded for two days

Car driving in low temperatures have to remain running at all times where gas stations along the route are open for 12 hours a day. Gas station workers in such areas usually get two weeks work and two weeks off. Chapple holed up in a guesthouse named “Café Cuba” surviving on Reindeer soup and steaming tea until he got a ride into the village.

 guesthouse named “Café Cuba

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9The name of the village translates as: “Frozen water”

Chapple’s saviors were described as “weirdly threatening” who fed him frozen horse blood and macaroni. The entrance to the village read “Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold.”. The name of the village “oymyakon” in Russian means “frozen water”

Frozen water

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10The effect of the cold started setting in

The freezing cold soon started taking a toll on Chappelle’s body. He felt as if the cold gripped his legs physically. Even his saliva would freeze into needles and prick his lips. Spending a full day in the village is extremely exhausting Chappelle described to the weather channel.

His breath was so foggy and thick like cigar smoke that he had to hold it up when clicking a picture. Even focusing was tough because the cold affected the mechanism of the camera.

The freezing cold

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11Outhouses need to be used in place of toilets

The freezing weather and ground makes it impossible for piping inside houses. Outhouses have to be used and running form home to toilet becomes a pain.


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12You can’t even bury your dead easily

Burying the dead is a big task. Before a burial, a large fire has to be lit on the ground to heat up the soil making it soft for digging up. One can well imagine the tough conditions which people need to undergo to survive.

large fire

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13The people rarely came outdoors

Unlike the city, Oymyakon’s villagers though existing could hardly be seen. Chappelle found it difficult to meet people who always seemed to be dashing between homes with gloves kept close to their faces or those who were wandering drunk. The main reason was that people preferred staying within the warmth of their homes. A few warned Chappelle about rampant alcoholism problem during the holiday months.

people rarely came outdoors

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14You can’t grow vegetables in Oymyakon

The ground is too cold for growing vegetables. The people mostly depend on animal husbandry and municipal work like heating plants for earning money. The work also defines their eating habits which consist of frozen raw fish particularly arctic fish and salmon, horse liver, reindeer meat, frozen horse blood and meat soup. Once the temperature reaches -58 degrees F, life slowly begins to shut down.

vegetables in Oymyakon

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15Glasses can stick to your face

Life can be tough if you are wearing glasses which can end up freezing and sticking to your face. The tricks to living in such a place are life hacks like cars kept running or using heated garages.

Glasses can stick to your face

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16Summer temperatures are moderate

Summer temperatures in this area are surprisingly moderate and the record high was 96degrees F. However summers are extremely short but winter drags on making it seem forever. According to Chappelle, people actually complain about the warm weather.

Summer temperatures are moderate

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