The coldest I have ever experienced in my life was – 5 degrees Celsius, with the gales blowing wild – and Europe is notorious for such extreme weather. Yesterday, my friend Vinay, a delightful spice merchant from Mumbai, forwarded to me a series of photos that allegedly transpired in Russia's Siberian Region – at a federal highway from Moscow to the city of Yakutsk, the capital of the Sakha Republic. The city is located 4 degrees below the Arctic Circle and is reputed to be one of the coldest cities on Earth, with January temperatures averaging -40.9 degrees Celsius. Yakutsk City is the biggest city built on continuous permafrost. This region is also reputed for its unimaginable wealth in diamonds and gold, oil and gas. In fact, Sakha is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of diamonds. Yakutsk sits on the basin of the Lena River. Having read all these, I figured I needed to share these here in Eye in the Sky.
Far away places like Yakutsk interest me, thus my friend’s email started an avalanche of readings that had me thirsting for more information about the city. I invariably came across the original site that featured the so-called paralyzed highway, and these series of photos date back 2 years ago (2006), so it would probably be safe to conclude that such highway may have already been rehabilitated as I write this. (Updates on the highway would be appreciated.) Nevertheless, the photos are an interesting bunch that I would like to share in this blogsite. They were taken by Pasik. Someone named “Alex from Russia” commented that “This is not a winter road. This is the only road to Yakutsk, intended for all seasons. There is no another way to come to Yakutsk excluding air strips and shipsyards.” (http://www.englishrussia.com/?p=315)
The Russian Federal Highway runs from Moscow to Yakutsk City in Siberia. Though it is a vital highway, the road doesn’t have an asphalt surface.
Everytime it rains, the road is paralyzed. These shots were taken approximately a few days before some 600 vehicles were stuck here. Hunger followed, and vehicles ran out of fuel. A woman even gave birth to a child while stuck on a public bus.
Construction teams were afraid to appear on site because people had been breaking the locks of their own vehicles in search of food and warm clothing.
So, the next time you whinge about the conditions in your own country, think of the Russians affected by this.
To complement this set, I am also posting some other photos of Yakutsk to highlight the beauty of this Russian City. Thanks to the wonderful photographers featured here.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
The Lena River in Yakutsk City. Photo courtesy of flickr's marsy1. The rest of the spectacular photos below are also courtesy of flicker's marsy1.