The coldest homes on Earth
- 22nd January 2015
- Crazy but True Stories
We take a look at some of the coldest regions that people across the world call home
January has brought a dip in temperature and forecasts for snow across the UK. Many homes will be turning up the central heating and checking insulation. Before we complain, however, we should perhaps spare a thought for those who have set up residence in some of the world’s coldest locations.
Homes have been built in regions where temperatures regularly plummet to -40 °C. Some of the coldest inhabited cities can be found across Russia, Alaska, Norway and Canada.
Leading the way are the Russian city of Yakutsk and nearby village Oymyakon, which are widely thought to be the coldest inhabited places on earth. Nestled deep in Siberia, Yakutsk has a population of approximately 300,000 and an average temperature of -40 °C during January. The area has a thriving diamond-mining industry and reserves of oil and gas. The climate makes it near impossible to grow anything, meaning locals survive on a diet consisting primarily of meat and fish.
Homes in this region have been adapted to weather the harsh conditions. Most have been constructed on stilts to prevent the year-round permafrost causing collapse and the majority have outdoor toilets, with the frozen ground meaning pipe maintenance is near-impossible. Heated garages are considered an essential, with engines freezing up if vehicles are left outside for too long.
The region made the news in 2008 when burst pipes meant two villages on the outskirts of the city lost heating for several days. Temperatures had hit -50 °C and inhabitants were forced to huddle together around wood-fired stoves to survive.
The city was originally founded as long ago as the 1600s as a fort and has also functioned as a location for political exiles.
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