Feature

Siberia, where some like it cold.

The week's news at a glance.

Russia

Walter Mayr
Der Spiegel (Germany)

Siberians want to turn their brutal climate to economic advantage, said Walter Mayr in Germany’s Der Spiegel. They plan to cash in on the latest tourist trend—“extreme tourism.” For rich Westerners who want to experience something really different, there’s Verkhoyansk, the coldest town in the world. Nighttime temperatures in winter are usually below minus 55 Fahrenheit and once, back in 1885, reached minus 90. Located above the Arctic Circle, hundreds of miles from the nearest city, Verkhoyansk was once suggested as the ideal exile spot for dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn because, as former Soviet Premier Alexey Kosygin said, “no foreign correspondent will ever go there.” Today’s Siberians are hoping that foreigners will come for the chance to bundle up in reindeer fur, hunt for fossilized mammoth bones, and marvel at the Northern Lights. These joys may not draw huge crowds, but for Verkhoyansk, even a few visitors would be a boon. Since the fall of the USSR, the town has averaged “just 0.9 tourists a year.”

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