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As temperatures sink to -60C in Yakutia, heroic Chinese tourists take a swim!

By The Siberian Times reporter
15 January 2018

Amazing scenes as Russia’s iciest region of Yakutia plunges to near record lows, and even the thermometer in the world’s coldest village breaks down.

Chinese tourists decided to take a dip in temperatures believed to be below -60C.  Picture: YakutiaMedia

Never mind how cold it gets, life goes on as normal at the outdoor fish market in Yakutsk, but even locals in this vast territory were surprised when Chinese tourists decided to take a dip in temperatures believed to be below -60C.

In recent days the temperature almost as low as it gets in Siberia, with Oymyakon - the coldest village in the world - recording an official low of -59C.

Natural mascara


In the city of Yakutsk, temperatures in recent days nudged -50C  Picture and video: Anastasia Gruzdeva

A new electronic thermometer in the village - in Yakutia region, also known as Sasha Republic - showed it to be colder, at  -62C.

But then it broke - because it was too cold!

Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C at their properties, in touching distance of -67.7C, the coldest-ever officially recorded for a permanently inhabited settlement anywhere in the world, and the frostiest in the Northern hemisphere. 

Minus 62 in Oymyakon


Minus 65 in Oymyakon

A new electronic thermometer in Oymyakon showed it to be colder, at  -62C. Some residents recorded temperatures as low as -67C at their properties. Pictures: @sivtseva9452, Ykt.ru

This didn’t stop some visiting Chinese tourists stripping off and tourists taking swim, as this remarkable video shows.

These heroic cold warriors won admiration from locals. 

As Yakutian journalist journalist Elena Pototskaya said: 'Today at the Pole of Cold in  Oymyakon - in 65-degree frost - Chinese tourists swim in ice-free spring Yeyemu.

'Today at the Pole of Cold in  Oymyakon - in 65-degree frost - Chinese tourists swim in ice-free spring Yeyemu.'  Video: Elena Pototskaya

'This does not freeze even in severe frosts in Oymyakon. Horror! Us locals, are afraid to go out in such a cold. And here ... the tourists are swimming …!'

Officially, Oymyakon hit -67.7C (-89.9F) in February 1933, and another settlement in the region, Verkhoyansk, claims a reading of -68C in 1885. The latter is not officially recognised. 

In the city of Yakutsk, temperatures in recent days nudged -50C - but as this video shows, the fish market remained open and doing good business. 

Cold in Yakutsk


Cold in Yakutsk


Cold in Yakutsk


Cold days in Yakutsk. Pictures: @m_troeva, @volshebniy_misha, @alfi__ya, foto_by_oleg7

Resident Vladimir Danilov takes you on a tour of the market showing some of the excellent local fish you can buy.

'It's  minus 48 degrees outside maybe... I came to buy stroganina,' he said.

'This is our fish. Here is the treasure... the broad whitefish to make stroganina - for 850 roubles.' ($15)

Stroganina is a popular dish of the indigenous people of Siberia - raw, thein, long-sliced frozen fish.

'While filming the trading rows my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?' 

'Here is the 'tsarina' - nelma. No price, maybe they’re shy to show, as it is too expensive, about 1,000 roubles I think. ($17.70). Very expensive. From this side you can see fish, for every taste.' 

He admitted: 'The local time is 17.00. While filming the trading rows my hands froze to wild pain. And sellers stand here all day long. How do they warm themselves?' 

Elsewhere in Oymyakon cameraman Semyon Vinokurov commented while filming: 'Today we have the temperature -56C at 1 pm. In the morning it was -60C. 

Fish market


Fish market


Fish market

Fish market in Yakutsk. Pictures: Vera Salnitskaya

'Now we’re brushing the snow off our Yakut horses. For us this is normal. It's strange that journalists call and ask how you live here. I answer, you come and see for yourself that we live an ordinary life.' 

Elsewhere the was ballet on ice in minus 41C as a Siberian pirouettes in the cold winter. Photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina in Yakutsk to show her moves in true Snow White conditions. 

Semyon Vinokurov shows that even at minus 60 Oymyakon lives a normal life. 

'I really did take pictures of the ballerina outside in minus 41, it is not Photoshopped,' he said. 'It was my idea, actually it is my project, to photograph ballerinas on the city streets. 

'Previous pictures were taken in the warm season, and this one is so far my only winter image. I got much criticism with people are saying that the girl must be  cold or  will have some other issues with her health.'

But, he said, it didn't take long and he had a warm coat and valenki - felt boots - for her to put on immediately afterwards. 

Ballerina


Ballerina

Photographer Petr Chugunov persuaded a ballerina in Yakutsk to show her moves in true Snow White conditions. Picture: Petr Chugunov, CrimeYakutia

Yet as well as triumph over the cold, there was tragedy too. 

A horse breeder and four friends went to check his animals near the Kenkeme River. The car stalled and they set out on foot. 

They had to carry one man who had a bad back and could not walk. The group were not properly dressed for the harsh weather and two tragically froze to death before the others were rescued.

Russia’s iciest region of Yakutia plunges to near record lows. Pictures: Semen Sivtsev, @khakhsaat_djulus, @moonanemone, @ion_ionsky

Oymyakon


Semyon Sivtsev


Khakhsaat Djulus


Cold in Yakutia


Cold in Yakutia


Cold in Yakutia

Comments (52)

I am from Buffalo, NY. Originally. And i thought it got cold there. I cant even imagine. Beautiful pictures.
Roger S., Denver, Colorado
17/01/2018 18:44
3
0
supreme power ! what a wonderful universe and great human beings
AB, India
17/01/2018 18:32
6
0
Some human beings seem to like the bitter cold...pretty
Sybil, St Lucia
17/01/2018 18:24
1
0
The ballerina picture was really beautiful.
Karl Bergerson, USA / Japan
17/01/2018 15:55
11
0
I visited Iceland several years ago in the winter and the other tourists asked how I could stay 'warm' with the least amount of covering. I actually enjoyed it. But here, I could visit only to say I've been here. I suppose I would adjust to the cold at a certain temperature but to freeze into an icicle without knowing it I couldn't imagine.
Jean-Michel Menear, Paris, France
17/01/2018 15:51
1
0
It's so cold I had to chisel my dog off a fire hydrant.
Richard, Washington, DC, USA
17/01/2018 12:14
1
0
why don't they put the fish in the refrigerator? ( ;) )
tourist, Boston/Massachusetts/USA
17/01/2018 12:03
2
1
I can you some sun and warm from here (if you like....)
Motty, Israel
17/01/2018 11:42
0
0
One winter's morning in the 1950s, I looked at the outside thermometer and found it reading -38F (about the same in C) and told my mother that I was not going to school that day. After a few rounds of "Yes, you are. No, I'm not," I put on my parka with a fur-lined hood and chinstrap and head off down the road , about 8/10-ths of a mile ( 1.3 km) to catch the school bus. By the time I got there, my exhaling into the chinstrap put a rather thick layer of ice on my glasses and my eyelashes had ice on them. It was interesting to hear the snow crunch with each step but I sure do not want to do that again.

And, yes, the pictures were very nice (even if some brought back unwanted memories).
Cliff, New Hampshire, USA
17/01/2018 11:34
3
1
Beautiful pictures. Can't imagine biking in -48.
Chris, Minneapolis, USA
17/01/2018 10:50
1
0
Elza vamos passear. Rsrs
Denise , Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
17/01/2018 10:30
1
0
Beautiful pictures of a wonderful country and a hearty people/ Thank you for sharing!
Ed, Oakville, Canada
17/01/2018 08:32
4
0
Beautiful pictures of a wonderful country and a hearty people/ Thank you for sharing!
Ed, Oakville, Canada
17/01/2018 08:31
0
0
When working or performing any tasks in that type of weather, always be aware of the speed with which things can change drastically. After having worked near the Arctic Circle in Northern Canada for 5 years, these photos take me back. -55°c for weeks on end. When going south and experiencing -25°c weather, we could wear T-shirts- amazing!
Bill Sydor, Canada
17/01/2018 04:04
5
0
You people are amazing. It is colder then normal here in York at high 30F and I’m complaining. Shame on me!
It is beautiful there in your village but I could never handle the cold! Enjoy the pictures!
Sherie, York, South Carolina USA
17/01/2018 02:08
5
0

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