Yakutia – the coldest inhabited place on earth
Before blogging about Yakutia, I never paid attention to the cold surrounded me from the very birth. I kept in mind only one thing… to have good warm clothes in the winter. How it was cold in my home town I could realize only, when I traveled to warmer places.
When I am in Yakutsk, everything around me seems ordinary. In December, January and February we consider minus 40 degrees Celsius as warmth spells. We say it is cold only, when it is below -50C. We don’t complain about the cold. We just regret that we are forced to use taxi more often, as it is not cheap. We regret that our little kids should stay indoor 24 hours a day. By the way, we allow our babies to play outdoor, when the temperature is around -30C.
School kids never do not care about the cold. They are even glad, when cold weather becomes extreme. When it’s -52C, pupils of all ages are allowed not to attend classes and stay at home. The funny thing is that they don’t stay at home; they prefer to go outside and spend the whole day playing street games. Ice hockey is favorite among boys, by the way. Can you imagine? When the fog is so thick that you cannot see the building standing at the distance of 10 meters, they run with sticks and hit the puck. The same with soccer.
The cold doesn’t put limits. It just requires more cash to spend for electricity, communal services and taxi. Oh, good Siberian fur clothes are not cheap as well. Reindeer skin boots cost from 300 EUR, a fur hat from 600 EUR, a fur coat… oh… good ones might from 2000 EUR. Expenses might be higher, if people, especially young and ladies, are eager to be stylish.
In the very deep of winter, every morning I have a habit to check weather in the city. If it is cold, according to our terms, I don’t think what to wear, because we think about such thing in summer and autumn, before the start of the winter. The first thing I think is what type of transport to use for getting to work place. When it is as high as -30C, I definitely go by walk. Yakutsk is not a big city; though around 250 000 people live in it. If it is between -40C and -50C, I use public transports.
I don’t have a car. Nevertheless, most of Yakutsk residents prefer to keep their private vehicles in garages till spring. Those, who have well-heated garages, can afford to use cars in the winter. If you are interested, I will say a heated garage in the city costs from 25 000 USD.
Bolot Bochkarev, a 35-years-old blogger, who was born and lives in Yakutsk, the administrative centre of the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia). Used to work as a journalist for many newspapers published. The last job was the observer of Yakutia Daily Newspaper. Graduated from Yakutsk State University, where he studied foreign languages. Participated in graduate study at University of Missouri in St Louis, USA. Had internship at the Voice of America Radio in Washington DC.
Back to Siberia started to work on making his long-wished dream true. He started a never-ending story about his homeland, Yakutia. He launched the website http://YakutiaToday.com and the blog http://eYakutia.com . As he loves the cold, he created the community site http://ColdUnited.com writing a lot about people’s live in cold weather, the Arctic and other climate issues. Now he is working on another online project dedicated to remarkable places of Siberia.
His motto is to share knowledge about the place where he lives. Yakutia is unique itself. Besides, it is the part of the Arctic and Siberia.
Married. Has two lovely little sons.
Thank you Bolot and Mikael.. I still say I look forward to returning to Yakutia to experience winter.. I will!! But with your writing, I feel like I am there already!!
Thank you Bolot, thank you Mike! What an incredible and a down-to-earth story! My favorite part is about children playing hockey in the frozen fog when the temperature plummets below 50. Something similar happens in Uummannaq too; kids play “hunting seals and walrus” street games with sticks (instead of real harpoons ) and nothing, literally nothing – darkness, cold or fog – can stop them from doing what they like to do most of all. These kids in the Far North – in Yakutia and in Northern Greenland – are our future Icemen, and I am very happy that our acting Icemen – such as Bolot and Mikael – are giving them a great example of how to live a great life in the Cold.
Sherri, as I said before, you are always welcome back. It seems Yakutia loves you :))
Galya, definitely we have many common things with Greenland. That’s the North! Many, many, many, Galya! 🙂
Nice story, thanks for sharing!
Loved the story and was amazed to read life still goes on in the cold!!!
Just for letting know. It’s not me in the above profile photo 🙂 It is an old Russian lady, who sells mittens on a street in Yakutsk… in winter.
It does look very much like you, Bolot…;-)
I just stumbled across your story, thank you, very interesting. Quite different from where I live in California, USA. Looking forward to reading more about your home.
debe ser una experiencia especial ir a esos lugares tan esplendidos.. gracias miakel y bolot …alguna vez tendre el placer de estar por esos lugares. ya estube en Moscu y la experiencia fue muy buena..
Hello. I live in a rather warm city. Now the temperature is 5 degree celsius above zero in the night It is a few years that we have not snow in here. I love snow so much because snow covers the whole surface with a very beautiful white cover. Snowman is a very interesting and lovely thig that making of it is possible only when it snowed.
I hope all people in your cold city enjoy the snow and cold weather. Please send me some snow !
Yakutia always have fascinated me and thank you for sharing impressions and opinions as someone who always lived there. To us that have not experienced the extremities of our planet, it gives vision and perspective.
Our Chicago news TV station had a Yakutsk weatherman on today 1-8-2014. We are at -19F with a -54 windchill which is a BIG DEAL here. Not so much in Yakutsk, I see.
So I looked up your beautiful part of the world and found your blog. Thank you, Mikael and Bolot, for some wonderful photos and great reading. I visited several areas of Russia in the 1980’s but alas, we did not go as far as Siberia. I love those real fur hats, boots and coats. Hopefully everyone can afford them where you live because it looks like you all need them.
Wishing you a great 2014….and STAY WARM!