Inside world’s coldest city where locals face bone-chilling temperatures of -50C

Meet the people who live in a city where the average daily temperature is colder than the recommended figure for a UK freezer – five months of the year.

The UK Food Standards Agency recommends frozen food is stored at -18C or colder, but in Yakutsk in Siberia, Russia, residents experience an average of -30C from November to March.

In January this year the settlement of more than 330,000 people endured a bone-chilling -50C, a similar temperature to the frozen wastes of Antarctica.

President Putin faced fury around the same time as pipe ruptures and power cuts left many without heating and at risk of freezing to death.

But despite the record-breaking readings for a global city, Yakutsk can also enjoy a relatively warm summer with the dial swinging 90 degrees in the opposite direction to a sweltering 40C on some days.

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Reasons for living in the extreme environment more than 3,100 miles from Moscow include the relatively high wages which are paid by the mining sector in the area.

Market traders in the city must also save on food storage costs as fresh fish they sell remains frozen solid on their stalls.

Extreme behaviour is also prevalent among the people of Yakutsk, who have been filmed taking a dip in the frigid waters of the city’s Lena River as a means of enjoyment.

On January 19 this year, religious worshippers were filmed dunking themselves in the icy river as part of the observance of Orthodox Epiphany.

Some believe the extreme event gives them medical protection for the rest of the year, with the Mirror reporting a Mr Vasilii Kotenko said he had travelled to Yakutsk from Crimea for the experience.

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Mr Kotenko said after you took the dip it was “like you were born again” and claimed: “What’s interesting is that for the rest of the year you don’t catch any flu, nothing.”

Irina Korsakova, a pensioner, said she was “doing the bathing for the 11th time”.

The harsh cold means exposed skin in winter can quickly turn numb leading to the risk of frostbite and many locals have to wrap up warm in thick furs.

These furs are like those sported by the high number of remarkably well preserved pre-historic mammoth remains that have been dug up from the permafrost surrounding the city.

Despite the seemingly ice age temperatures the settlement has to endure, the urban area is still served by amenities including supermarkets, hotels, coffee shops and a public transport system.

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