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In the remote Yakutia region of Siberia, more than a hundred kilometers inside the Arctic Circle, lies the small town of Verkhoyansk. Winter temperature here regularly drops to minus fifty degree Celsius. It’s so cold that “no one can stay outside for more than 15 minutes”. The only way to protect oneself from the bitter cold is to wrap themselves up in skins and furs of animals, and keep moving.

Verkhoyansk was founded by the Cossacks back in 1638. Its location on the upper reaches of the Yana River is what gave the town its name —“Verkhoyansky” roughly translates from Russian to “the town on the Upper Yana”. During the Soviet era, Verkhoyansk served as a place where political prisoners were sent to exile. Today, their descendants, as well as a few Yakut hunters, make up of the town’s entire population of 1,300.

verkhoyansk-1

A concrete monument resembling a wooly mammoth head commemorates Verkhoyansk as the site of the Arctic Cold Pole. Photo credit: Becker0804/Wikimedia

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