So you think you know what it means to live in a cold place? Well, I am sure you are going to rethink that once you finish reading this article.
Imagine a place where nothing grows, where you have to live off diet of reindeer meat and horse meat, where cars run all day for fear of them not starting again if turned off, where digging graves for a funeral can take up to three days as ground has to be thawed with hot coals, where mobile phones don’t work, and where you have to use outside toilets at….–67.7°C (-90°F).
I bet you are shivering right now.
That place does exist. It is the village of Oymyakon, Sakha Republic, Russia.
With the lowest temperature of -67.7°C (-90°F), recorded in 1933, and the average for January being -50°C (-60°F), this village is the coldest permanently inhabited place on this planet. New Zealand-based photographer Amos Chapple decided to go on a two-day journey from Yakutsk (which is around 900 kilometres from the village), the coldest major city on Earth, to capture what everyday life is like in Oymyakon. The photographer recalls that the hardest thing was not the cold itself, but that his camera’s focus and zoom rings would occasionally freeze in place.
Very few people linger outside, instead rushing inside for warmth and light, so the landscape outdoors often appears lonely and desolate.
The question is then, what are they actually doing there?
Photo credits Amos Chapple