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Photo credit: Slava Stepanov

There are plenty of regions in Russia that can claim to be very remote and very cold, but none as extreme as Yakutia. It’s an enormous region in north-eastern Russia with an area roughly the size of India but with a population smaller than that of the US state of Rhode Island. Yakutia is well known for its extreme and severe climate, boasting some of the lowest temperatures ever recorded in the Northern Hemisphere. Two of the coldest inhabited places in the world—Verkhoyansk and Oymyakon—lie in Yakutia.

Oymyakon is a 500-people settlement, while Verkhoyansk is a former camp for political prisoners. None of them is a fully functioning city. Yakutia’s capital—Yakutsk—on the other hand, is home to over 280,000 people making it the coldest major city in the world. The average winter temperature here is minus 40 degree Celsius. The soil is permanently frozen, so most buildings are built on raised stilts.

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