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Freeze… What Freeze?

Freeze... What Freeze?..................(Oymyakon2.jpg)

So you think it's cold in Western Europe? Think again. Freezing pipes in Florida? Get over it. Move to Oymyakon, and cowboy up. A village in the Russian Republic of Sakha with an average winter temperature of -45C, Oymyakon is said to be the coldest inhabited place on Earth.

Freeze... What Freeze?..................(Oymyakon3.jpg)

The region is fondly nicknamed 'Stalin's Death Ring', for all the political exiles who ended up there, but these days there are only a few hundred residents, all there by choice. As far as we know. Their choice being temperatures that hit a record low of -71C, buildings that have only recently been blessed with inside toilets, and no mobile phones (god forbid).

Freeze... What Freeze?..................(Oymyakon7.jpg)

It's so cold that edible vegetation is very thin on the ground, and most residents end up reindeer-hunting and ice-fishing to survive. They leave their cars running all day so the engines don't freeze, and it's said no-one wears glasses outside in case they freeze to the wearer's face.

Freeze... What Freeze?..................(Oymyakon6.jpg)

It's three days by car from the next big city, Yakutsk, which boasts a population of 210,000 and an average winter temperature of -40C. The Lena River often freezes over, allowing cars to drive straight across it.

But, believe it or not, it could be worse. A place called Ridge A in Antarctica has been officially branded the coldest place in the world, with temperatures regularly hitting -70C every single winter. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. RM

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