The Pole Of Cold A photography project by Björn Steinz

Often, people talk about a coldest temperature of -71.2 °C, which was measured in Oymyakon – there are even monuments with that value. But this value is just theoretical, based on a real measured temperature of -44 °C degrees in 1924, and it was obtained by extrapolation method rather than measured directly. So – not real.

The coldest real measured temperature in Oymyakon was a temperature of -67.7 °C in 1933. This was actually cold enough, and finally not so important for us. We felt it on ourselves that temperature is not just measured with a thermometer. It is much easier to bear a temperature of -57 °C when you get out of a warm guesthouse in the morning, than to get out of a bus after driving 15 hours, into a temperature of just -34 °C and heavy wind.

The inhabitants of the villages Oymyakon and Tomtor basically just leave their houses in the winter only if it is really necessary, such as to go to work, shopping, hunting and fishing, or getting their children to school. Most of the people in this area make their living by farming, Yakut horse breeding, hunting, retailing, housing and communal services, public administration. Some can also work for the few tourists visiting that area in the winter. Otherwise, people spend most of the winter time at home. The Yakut people are very skilled hunters and mostly eat meat in the winter. They also breed the so called Yakut horse or pony which is noted for its adaptation to the extreme cold climate of Yakutia, including the ability to locate and graze on vegetation that is under deep snow cover.

Discover more of Björn’s work here: Björn Steinz

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color portrait of an elderly woman by Can Sever
© Can Sever

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