Yakutsk, a remote city in Eastern Siberia along the Lena River, is the coldest city in the world. Located 1840 km away from Irkoustk and 5000 km away from Moscow, this city founded in 1632 by the Cossacks imposes upon its inhabitants an extreme way of life. Despite harsh conditions, Yakutsk boasts a population of 270,000, or a quarter of the entire population of Siberia. No other place on the planet experiences the temperature extreme found here. The temperatures regularly fall to -40° in winter (the coldest temperature recorded was -64°C) and often reaches temperatures above 30°C in summer.
Yakutsk is an important center for the extraction of diamonds, supplying a fifth of the world’s production of the precious mineral. The city is also home to an important food industry, to tanneries, to sawmills, to building-material factories. The Yakutsk Permafrost Institute, which investigates solutions to the serious and costly problems associated with the construction of buildings on frozen soil, is also famous. (The soil beneath Yakutsk is constantly frozen, making the construction of large buildings especially complex and hazardous).