Russia – photographed by Frank Herfort


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Ever since I was a child Russia has fascinated me. The reason for this may have been all those old Russian fairytales or the simple fact that, when compared to other parts of the world, I hardly knew or, to be more exact, I do not know a lot about the real Russia.

As a child I imagined Russia as a snowy fairytale land, as a country where people cuddled up in warm furry blankets ride horse-drawn sleighs. As I grew older I kept reading a lot of Russian classics such as Anna Karenina or The Seagull. Of course, I had a very romantic and unrealistic image of Russia in mind, and the older I grew the more I started to realize that things actually weren’t this way in reality. But to be honest, up until today I don’t really know much about life in Russia and I still haven’t been there.

The other day I found this article about Frank Herfort, a German photographer who lives and works in Moscow and Germany.

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Oymyakon: the Coldest Village in the World


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Oymyakon lies in the Russian Far East. It is a village of 462 inhabitants, which would have stayed unknown to the rest of the world, were it not “accidentally” the coldest permanently inhabited location on Earth. It shares this title – or “Northern Pole of Cold”, the way it is official called – with the small Russian town of Verkhoyansk. In 1926 a temperature of −71.2 °C was supposedly recorded at this place, but it was never formally confirmed. −67.8 °C, recorded on February 6, 1933, is considered to be the official lowest temperature. Either way, we are talking about temperatures so low, that none of us living in central and eastern Europe can truly imagine them.

Such extreme climate presents many challenges for the people who live there. Reportedly you have to keep your car running through the night, should you not own a heated garage. Failing to do so could lead to a frozen engine and or an empty car battery. Supposedly there is nothing to eat other than meat. The warm season is too short to grow crops and the area too remote for large scale trading. It’s anything but the ideal place to live.

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© Amos Chapple

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