January 30, 2019 – Norilsk, Russia

In case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of deep freeze right now! But, like when we had the big snow storm a few weeks ago, I’d like to offer some perspective. It could be a lot worse…we could be living in the world’s coldest city – Norilsk, Russia. It’s the second largest city inside the Arctic Circle with a population of 175,000 people. The average yearly temperature is just 14°F, with a record low temperature of -64°F. That’s the air temperature – not even factoring in the windchill! It’s covered with snow 250-270 days a year, with snow storms for about 110-130 days. They also are plunged into darkness during Polar Night, from November 30 through mid January every year. It’s an incredibly isolated, only accessible by boat or plane. It’s so cut off that residents are known to refer to the rest of Russia as “the mainland”. And yet, Norilsk is one of Russia’s richest cities – it sits on some of the largest nickel deposits on Earth, and copper, cobalt, platinum and paladium are also mined there. But the smelting of these minerals has also resulted in severe pollution – it’s the most polluted city in Russia. By some estimates, 1% of global sulfur dioxide emission comes from Norilsk’s nickel mines. Pollution is so bad, that it recently turned a nearby river blood red. The city is a buzzing place though – with bars, restaurants, art galleries, sports and entertainment complexes and even a zoo! But if you plan on visiting, be aware that all foreigners are barred from visiting without a permit from Russia’s Federal Security Service.

Learn more here.