Siberia: Cold shouldered on the tundra

Toilet of the tundra. Two slats of wood above a spire of frozen poo. Photo / Amos Chapple
Toilet of the tundra. Two slats of wood above a spire of frozen poo. Photo / Amos Chapple

The Russian village of Oymyakon is generally known as the world's coldest permanently inhabited place. The average temperature there for January is -46C and the coldest temperature ever recorded there was -71.2C. That's just a few degrees warmer than dry ice.

The town has a population of around 500 people, established thanks to a nearby stream as a watering point for reindeer herders in the early 20th century.

Oymyakon translates as "place where fish spend winter". It became a permanent settlement during Soviet attempts to settle nomadic populations.

Life is brutally hard and alcoholism is a major problem in the town. As one Kiwi learned after a two-day drive through the Siberian tundra, the locals have little time for visitors.

CHECKLIST

Getting there: Emirates connects from Auckland to Moscow via their hub in Dubai. Local carriers fly from there to Siberia.

Check out these beautiful photos of the Oymyakon tundra by Amos Chapple

- NZ Herald

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