What It’s Really Like Living In Siberia

What It's Really Like Living In Siberia



Siberia, a massive place, much like Canada, but not crowded

Siberia is a vast land in Russia, and it’s about as big as Canada. But, interestingly, it’s not packed with people. Only about 27 percent of Russia’s entire population lives here. Some live in big cities like Novosibirsk, while others, like Indigenous groups, stick to their ancient ways of life.


Siberia’s weather is a real challenge

Siberia is famous for being very cold, and we’re not just talking about regular cold. In a village called Oymyakon, where about 500 people live, winter temperatures can plunge to around -40 degrees Fahrenheit. And sometimes, it even gets as cold as -90 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than Mars! Why is it so cold? | Well, it’s all about weather patterns and the way the land is situated. Siberia is a super chilly place.


But it’s not always frigid in Siberia

In the summer, Siberia can be surprisingly hot. In 2020, it had record-high temperatures, with some places hitting 100 degrees Fahrenheit! That’s scorching hot. Summers bring ice beach sunbathing, but it’s not all fun. Mosquitoes can be a real bother. Even in the north, there are sunny days, but you need to keep warm clothes handy because the weather can change quickly.


Siberia is a land of light and dark

In the northern parts of Russia, there are times when the sun doesn’t shine for months. It’s called the polar night, and it can really affect people’s mood. They cope by using sun lamps, grow lights, and spending time in solariums – glass rooms that let in the most light. Plus, they enjoy music, art, and light therapy, and take vitamin D supplements.


Living in Siberia is a daily cold challenge

Dealing with extreme cold in Siberia is a way of life. When it’s super cold, people visit their neighbors, have a quick cup of tea, bundle up, and head out. This is because frostbite can happen quickly, and the cold fog makes the streets look the same. Locals feel the cold like anyone else, but they’re used to it.


Some rely on reindeer in Siberia

While there are cities in Siberia, there are also Indigenous groups who lead a traditional way of life. The Sayan people, for example, have been herding reindeer for about 2,000 years. They travel hundreds of miles each year with their herds, living in reindeer skin-covered huts. Some reindeer are even treated as pets and passed to other families when they’re too old to travel.


Yakutian horses are a lifeline in Siberia

In Yakutia, the local breed of horse, the Yakutian horse, plays a crucial role. They’ve adapted to the extreme cold, with thick coats and incredible hardiness. These horses are used for transportation, and they also provide milk, hides, and meat. They’re an important part of the local culture and economy.


Cars have a tough time in Siberia

Dealing with cars in Siberia is a real challenge due to the extreme cold. Underground heated parking garages are rare because the permafrost makes them impossible. People often remove their car’s battery, leave it parked until spring, and rely on public transportation. Bus stops are quite nice, with Wi-Fi, televisions, and recharging stations. Others use parking heaters to warm up their cars before driving, while some keep their cars running all winter.


Stilted houses and permafrost concerns

In Siberia, typical houses like those in the US are not practical because of the permafrost. Keeping the permafrost intact is crucial, as thawing it can release harmful gases. So, many houses are built on stilts, raising them between five and ten feet off the ground. Playgrounds are often on the roof because of construction material challenges. To prevent dust buildup, roads need to be paved, and trees cannot be cut down.


Digging graves in Siberia takes days

In Siberia, the ground is frozen solid in winter, so digging a grave is a long and challenging process that can take days. To do it, they melt the permafrost by lighting a fire and spreading coals over the grave’s footprint. They repeat this process until the grave is deep enough. Bears have been known to scavenge cemeteries, so deep graves are a must.


A unique fish market in Yakutsk

Yakutsk’s outdoor fish market is one-of-a-kind. It’s an outdoor frozen fish market. Yes, you heard that right. The fish stand up straight in buckets, frozen solid. Vendors brave the freezing temperatures, and it’s so cold that there’s no fishy smell. People buy this frozen fish to enjoy a local delicacy called stroganina, which is similar to sashimi, where the fish thaws in your mouth as you eat it.


Ice fishing is a favorite pastime

In Siberia, when the rivers freeze, people go ice fishing. It’s like golf in the US, but Siberians often bring vodka and soup with them. It’s incredibly cold, and people are passionate about it. However, it’s not without risks. In some years, people have died ice fishing, and ice floes have even broken loose, requiring rescues from circling polar bears.


Siberia’s coal industry

Coal mining is a massive industry in Siberia, especially in the Kuzbass region, where many people work in the mines. In some places, coal mining is a source of employment. But it’s a tough job, and in the past, miners have gone on strike due to low pay and poor conditions. Siberia’s coal mines play a significant role in Russia’s coal exports.


Dealing with black snow

Siberia’s coal mines have a dark side – literally. Residents often see black snow, which is a result of coal dust in the air. It’s so common that it’s harder to find white snow than black snow during winter. The pollution from the coal industry is affecting Indigenous people’s health and contributing to population decline. Despite the problems, Siberia continues to rely on its coal industry.