Life in Oymyakon, the Coldest Village on Earth:
People Use Outside Toilets and Mobile Phones Don’t Work
Living in Oymyakon, the coldest village on earth, where people use outside toilets and where mobile phones don’t even work could be quite tricky (or dreadful even) for most people. However, the people of this far away Russian village, located deep in the Siberian woods, love living here, in this unique place they call home.
The village is located just a few hundred miles away from the Arctic Circle and temperatures here have hit the world record low of -96.16 degrees Fahrenheit (-71.2 degrees Celsius). It is officially the coldest continuously inhabited place on the planet.
During the winter, daylight here lasts only 3 hours, while in the summer people enjoy 21 hours of daylight every day. The ground is permanently frozen due to the subarctic climate, but the 500 villagers who call Oymyakon home are not ones to complain about harsh living conditions.
People can’t grow crops here so they live on a diet of reindeer and horse meat. They don’t have inside toilets because plumbing and a functional sewage system are basically impossible to have around this area. Most of the times, their mobile phones don’t even work, unless they were specially designed to function way below the freezing temperatures.
Schools in Oymyakon, Siberia, only get closed when temperatures fall below -61.6 degrees Fahrenheit (-52 degrees Celsius). Another interesting fact is that if you were to go outside naked, it will take roughly 1 minute for your body to freeze up completely.
It is so cold in Oymyakon that cars don’t even start and when some of them eventually start, the drivers will leave them running out of the fear that they will not start again once the engine has been stopped. Basically everything freezes here, starting from pen ink to mobile phones. Also, everybody wears furs here, because nothing else can withstand these extreme temperatures.
The entire area is called ‘Stalin’s Death Ring’ and one of the most common and serious problems people have in this area is burying their dead. Since the ground is frozen all year long, it can take several days to dig a grave. People have to set a portion of the ground on fire and push coals inside to warm up the digging area. The holes are always just big enough to fit a coffin.
After reading the hardships of living here, you may wonder why people still live here or how did the first settlers of the area decided this was a good place to make camp. During the 1920s and 1930s, this place was a stopover for reindeer herders who wanted to water their animals from the thermal spring present in the area.
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Since the Russian government of the time wanted to populate all of the countries areas, it was decided to help the reindeer herders in establishing a permanent settlement there by offering them land and houses. This is how the story of Oymyakon started, which in a very ironic twist means ‘non-freezing water’, due to a hot spring located nearby.