History of Yakutsk
It all started when ethnic group called Turkic Sakha, more commonly known as Yakuts, started relocating to this area from other parts of Syberia in the 13th century. As the Mongolian military power kept on increasing, people did not have a choice but to move – their safety was at risk. As there were indigenous Siberians in the area already, the new arrivals – Yakuts – quickly started integrating into the local culture and population which always eases the process of adaptation for any new comer. The coldest city on earth – Yakutsk – was official founded in 1632 and initially served a purpose of a fort (when Russians started conquering Siberia many protective forts were built in the area, commonly referred to as ostrogs. A lot of these ostrogs were later turned into big Siberian cities. Unfortunately, a few centuries later this word obtained a very negative association: due to Siberia being the most popular destination for criminals to serve their sentence in 18th, 19th and 20th century the meaning ostrog “changed” from fort to prison).
Yakutsk struggled to grow until 1880s. Then it all changed due to a discovery of massive mines of many precious minerals and most importantly – gold. The resources of these findings were so big that it started a rapid growth of the city, particularly under the ruling of Stalin.
The city is constantly growing and the main reason behind that is its continuous natural resources: diamonds, gold, oil, are just a few. Including the suburbs, Yakutsk now has almost 300,000 inhabitants, which is approximately one third of the Sakha Republic otherwise known as Yakutia.
The growth of the coldest city on earth has lead to many major developments: many new modern buildings were built in the recent decades including shopping centres, banks, universities, hospitals and many more. Because of Yakutsk’s climate, which I will cover in a minute, the main challenge it has is the limitations when it comes to getting there. As river transport can only be used very briefly during milder months of the year, roads and rail road tracks are constantly covered in thick layers of snow, the only reliable way to travel is air travel. Even though a new airport terminal has been opened recently, struggle remains, due to the cost of this mean of transportation.
Climate & temperatures
Yakutsk has been internationally recognised as the coldest city on earth for years – due to the extreme subarctic climate the average temperature according to Wikipedia in January is −38.6 °C (−37.5 °F). But this is not so bad compared to the lowest one ever recorded: −64.4 °C (−83.9 °F) (!) . If you would throw a bucket of boiling water from your balcony in this temperature it would not reach the ground – it would turn into steam in a second and evaporate.
Nonetheless, it is not always so unbelievably freezing – average temperature in July is +19.5 °C (67.1 °F) which is perfect for many agricultural and industrial activities that many residents in Yakutsk cannot undertake during winter.
If you would like to find out more about visiting Yakutsk here’s a link to the tourist information website. Also, do not forget to book a hotel in advance by clicking here. Special offers are available now starting at only €12 per night.
To see what the temperature in the coldest city on earth is at this particular moment click here.
Did you know that there is an underground city beneath Seattle? Have a look at our article – Seattle Underground City – World beneath the streets.