If you live in a place where the winter is a time to wear fancy jackets and designer boots, think of the coldest places on earth where the winter is not freezing, but way beyond. These cities are located near the Arctic Circle which makes the winters ruthless. The people have to cope with winters which face sub-zero temperatures in double digits. We can only admire the resilience and grit of the residents of these places. If you are a fan of extreme adventure, make a plan to visit these 10 cities which have the harshest winters in the world.
10 Cities which have the harshest winters
1. Oymyakon, Russia
The people of the village like the title of being the coldest city in Northern Hemisphere, as it once had the lowest temperature of -67.8 degrees Celsius. The city has a population of 500-800 people and experiences harshest winters with average temperature of -50 degrees Celsius. If people go out, they keep the car running. In fact, their garages are centrally heated too, to prevent the engine from freezing. Incredibly, schools remain open even in -46 degrees Celsius!
Farming is out of the question, so the diet is fish, reindeer and horse blood ice cubes with macaroni to stay warm. The city’s tourism department projects the city as the perfect destination for people wanting to experience ruthless cold.
2. Verkhoyansk, Russia
This village too is located in the Siberian Tundra and is definitely one of the coldest places on Earth. The bone chilling winter keeps the people inside their homes, heated up by wood fires as well as central heating. You can reach Verkhoyansk by driving on the frozen river in winter, and in summer, by helicopter.
When it was part of the Soviet Union, Verkhoyansk was the place where political exiles were sent as punishment! Now, their descendants as well as Yakut hunters are the residents who make up the population of 1300 people.
3. Yellowknife, Canada
Yellowknife is located in Canada’s Northwest part, on the shore of the Great Slave Lake and at a distance of 320 miles from the Arctic Circle. It experiences sub zero temperatures of -32 C to -21 C, and the coldest recorded temperature was -51 C on the first of February, 1947. The city received the title of being the ‘Coldest Canadian City’ in the year 2014, and is definitely one of the coldest cities in the world.
Due to its proximity to the Arctic circle, it has clear nights on which magnificent displays of the Aurora Borealis can be seen, from the middle of November to April.
4. Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
In 2015, this capital city of Mongolia had one of the harshest winters, recording -41 degree Celsius. With a population of 1.3 million people, the city suffers not only from extreme winters but also the worst weather due to air pollution. It’s difficult to breathe the air polluted by the smog. The residents stay in huts called ‘Yurts’ heated by the burning coal which add to the pollution problem. The government of Mongolia is now taking steps to move people out from the Yurts into modern homes heated by central heating.
5. Snag, Canada
Snag is a village situated by the side of the Alaskan highway, in the Yukon region of Canada. The
bone chilling weather keeps the residents inside in winter for most of the time. -63 degree Celsius is the lowest recorded temperature in Snag.
6. Vostok, Antarctica
Vostok is not a city, but it has got to on the list of places which have the harshest winters. It has a research station where a team of scientists work. The temperatures go down to an unbelievable -89 degrees Celsius, and might reach even -98 Celsius. It has hardly any water, and is perhaps the most inhospitable place on earth. There is no sun from May to August, and after that it receives 22.9 hours of sun every day!
7. Harbin, China
Harbin in the northeastern region of China is one of the coldest cities in the world. This city which has a population of 10 million people has harshest winters and is known as ‘ice city’. The people like to celebrate the numbing winter with the Hardin International Snow and Ice Festival. The coldest temperature recorded here was -44 degrees Celsius to -42 degrees Celsius, and the average is between -22 to -24 degrees Celsius.
8. Barrow, Alaska
This city in Alaska is situated so far north in Northern Alaska that it is not connected by roads. People staying here have to fly in and out of the city. The temperatures hover between -28 to -22 degrees Celsius. A permafrost layer which could be up to 1,300 ft thick is created by the extreme winter conditions. The people therefore build their homes on stilts, and not on the ground.
9. Yakutsk, Russia
Yakutsk in the Sakha Republic of Russia witnesses harshest winters, with average temperatures of -41 to -38 degrees Celsius in January. The 200,000 people experience the onset of winter before many other cities around the world. It is situated near the Arctic Circle which makes it one of the coldest places on earth. The residents have to go through the severe winters every year, making them some of the hardiest people on earth.
10. Dudinka, Russia
The city which is the home of 20,000 people is situated above the Arctic Circle, happens to be one among the northernmost cities on the planet. It faces worst weather conditions with more than severe winters. Average temperatures are between -33 to -24.5 C. Once, the frozen pipes burst leading to the streets flooding up. The cars on the streets were then buried underneath several feet of snow and ice!
Reading about all these cities might have made you thank your lucky stars that you were not born there! All the people living in the coldest places do so as it is their home, and try to make the best of it, but we have to applaud their mental and physical resilience which makes them survive and thrive there.