Temperatures there have dropped to as low as -62°C, according to one thermometer, cold enough to freeze people’s eyelashes.
The official weather station at the ‘pole of cold’ registered -59°C, but locals said their readings were as low as -67°C – less than 1°C off the lowest accepted temperature for a permanent settlement anywhere in the world, recorded in the same village in 1933.
None of this stopped a group of resilient Chinese visiting Oymyakon from peeling down to their underwear in the blistering conditions and taking a splash in a mysterious pool fed by a spring that never freezes in the village.
They won admiration from local journalist Elena Pototskaya who wrote: ‘Today at the Pole of Cold in Oymyakon – in a 65-degree frost – Chinese tourists swim in the ice-free spring Yeyemu.
‘This does not freeze even in severe frosts in Oymyakon. Horror – us locals are afraid to go out in such a cold. And here … the tourists are swimming …’
Elsewhere life went on as normal in the Siberian freezer.
In 1933, a temperature of minus 67.7°C was recorded in Oymyakon, accepted as the lowest ever in the northern hemisphere. Lower temperatures are recorded in Antarctica, but here there are no permanently inhabited settlements.