As the town currently known as the coldest inhabited place on Earth, Oymyakon in Russia is not exactly what you’d call a premier tourist destination. But for New Zealand photographer Amos Chapple, it’s an opportunity that simply can’t be missed.

For a place that’s 927 kms (576 miles) away from the nearest city, enjoys 21 hours of darkness during the winter with average temps of -50°C (-58°F) and boasts of a record -68°C (-90°F) cold snap (which earned them the coldest inhabited place on earth title in 1933), what kind of appeal does this town hold?


Oymyakon’s general store

Crossing the bridge in Yakutsk.

Crossing the bridge in Yakutsk.


A toilet on the road between Oymyakon and Yakutsk. It’s a 2-day drive between the two cities.


Chapple shot in both Oymyakon and its nearest major city, Yakutsk. It’s definitely not a photographer’s dream. Chapple had to use his body heat to keep his camera warm, and had to hold his breath while taking photos to prevent steam from his own breath from getting in the shot.


It’s definitely not the way of life, with the underlying problems of alcoholism plaguing the residents, and the constant search for warmth preventing them from sparing a few minutes of hospitality.

But for a person whose lifelong calling is to capture life as it is, the answer is simple – it’s the way humanity endures.


Aside from flying, the ‘road of bones’ is the only way to get to Yakutsk from Moscow


A man keeps his engine running as he pops into Oymyakon’s only store


Read more on Amos Chapple’s journey, or visit his website.