Yakutsk (Russian: Якутск, IPA: [jɪˈkutsk]; Yakut: Дьокуускай, Cokuuskay, pronounced [ɟokuːskaj]) is the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, located about 450 kilometers (280 mi) south of the Arctic Circle.


City under republic jurisdiction[1]
Other transcription(s)
Central Yakutsk from the air
Coat of arms
Location of Yakutsk
Location of Yakutsk
Yakutsk (Sakha Republic)
Coordinates: 62°02′N 129°44′E
Federal subjectSakha Republic[2]
City status since1643
  BodyOkrug Council
  HeadEvgeny Grigoriev
  Total122 km2 (47 sq mi)
95 m (312 ft)
  Rank68th in 2010
Administrative status
  Subordinated tocity of republic significance of Yakutsk[1]
  Capital ofSakha Republic[2]
  Capital ofcity of republic significance of Yakutsk[1]
Municipal status
  Urban okrugYakutsk Urban Okrug[4]
  Capital ofYakutsk Urban Okrug[4]
Time zoneUTC+9 (MSK+6 [5])
Postal code(s)[6]
Dialing code(s)+7 4112[7]
OKTMO ID98701000001
City DaySecond Sunday of September

Yakutsk with an average temperature of −8.8 °C (16.2 °F), is the coldest large city in the world.[8] Yakutsk is also the largest city located in continuous permafrost. Yakutsk is located in the Central Yakutian Lowland and is a major port on the Lena River. It is served by the Yakutsk Airport as well as the smaller Magan Airport.


Kate Marsden leaving Yakutsk in 1891

The Yakuts, also known as the Sakha people, migrated to the area during the 13th and 14th centuries from other parts of Siberia. When they arrived they mixed with other indigenous Siberians in the area.[9] The Russian settlement of Yakutsk was founded in 1632 as an ostrog (fortress) by Pyotr Beketov. In 1639, it became the center of a voyevodstvo. The Voivode of Yakutsk soon became the most important Russian official in the region and directed expansion to the east and south.


With an extremely continental subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification: Dfd), Yakutsk has the coldest winter temperatures for any major city on Earth. Average monthly temperatures in Yakutsk range from +19.5 °C (67.1 °F) in July to −38.6 °C (−37.5 °F) in January. Yakutsk is the largest city built on continuous permafrost,[10] and many houses there are built on concrete piles.

The lowest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast of Yakutsk, making it the coldest major city in the world. Although winters are extremely cold and long - Yakutsk has never recorded a temperature above freezing between 10 November and 14 March inclusive – summers are warm, peak travel and occasionally hot (though short), with daily maximum temperatures sometimes exceeding +30 °C (86 °F), making the seasonal temperature differences for the region the greatest in the world at 102 °C (184 °F).[11] The lowest temperature recorded in Yakutsk was −64.4 °C (−83.9 °F) on 5 February 1891 and the highest temperatures +38.4 °C (101.1 °F) on 17 July 2011 and +38.3 °C (100.9 °F) on 15 July 1942. The hottest month in records going back to 1834 has been July 1894, with a mean of +23.2 °C (73.8 °F),[12] and the coldest, January 1900, which averaged −51.4 °C (−60.5 °F).[13] Yakutsk is possibly the largest city in the world with an average winter temperature of below −20 °C (−4 °F) degrees.

Yakutsk has a distinct inland location, being almost 1,000 kilometres (620 mi) from the Pacific Ocean, which coupled with the high latitude means exposure to severe winters and also lack of temperature moderation. July temperatures soar to an above-normal average for this latitude, with the average being several degrees hotter than such more southerly Far East cities as Vladivostok or Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. The July daytime temperatures are even hotter than some maritime subtropical areas. The warm summers ensure that Yakutsk, despite its freezing winters, is far south of the tree line. In winter, Yakutsk instead is between 35 °C (63 °F) and 40 °C (72 °F) colder than the mildest cities on similar latitudes in Scandinavia.

The climate is quite dry, with most of the annual precipitation occurring in the warmest months, due to the intense Siberian High forming around the very cold continental air during the winter. However, summer precipitation is not heavy since the moist southeasterly winds from the Pacific Ocean lose their moisture over the coastal mountains well before reaching the Lena valley.

With the Lena River navigable in the summer, there are various boat cruises offered, including upriver to the Lena Pillars, and downriver tours which visit spectacular scenery in the lower reaches and the Lena Delta.

Climate data for Yakutsk, 1981–2010 normals, extremes 1891–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) −11.5
Average high °C (°F) −35.7
Daily mean °C (°F) −38.6
Average low °C (°F) −41.5
Record low °C (°F) −63.0
Average precipitation mm (inches) 9
Average rainy days 0 0 0.1 3 14 16 15 15 16 4 0.1 0 83
Average snowy days 28 28 17 10 5 0.3 0.03 0 4 25 28 27 172
Average relative humidity (%) 76 76 70 60 54 57 62 67 72 78 78 76 69
Mean monthly sunshine hours 19 97 234 274 303 333 347 273 174 106 59 12 2,231
Source 1: Погода и Климат[14] March record:[15]
Source 2: NOAA (sun, 1961–1990)[16]


Yakutsk building of a Russo-Asian bank

Yakutia Airlines has its head office in the city.[17]


Yakutsk Orthodox cathedral of the Transfiguration of Jesus Christ

There are several theaters in Yakutsk: the State Russian Drama Theater, named after A. S. Pushkin; the Sakha Theater, named after P. A. Oiyunsky; the Suorun Omoloon Young Spectator's Theater; and the State Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, named after D. K. Sivtsev.

There are a number of museums as well: the National Fine Arts Museum of Sakha; the Museum of Local Lore and History, named after E. Yaroslavsky; and the only museums in the world dedicated to the khomus and permafrost.

The annual Ysyakh summer festival takes place the last weekend in June. The traditional Yakut summer solstice festivities include a celebration of the revival and renewal of the nature, fertility and beginning of a new year. It is accompanied by national Yakut rituals and ceremonies, folk dancing, horse racing, Yakut ethnic music and singing, national cuisine, and competitions in traditional Yakut sports.[18]

There is a local punk scene[19] in Yakutsk, with many bands.


Ethnic composition (2010):[20]

Administrative and municipal status

Yakutsk is the capital of the Sakha Republic.[2] As an inhabited locality, Yakutsk is classified as a city under republic jurisdiction.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with the settlement of Zhatay and eleven rural localities, incorporated as the city of republic significance of Yakutsk—an administrative unit with a status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, Yakutsk and the eleven rural localities are incorporated as Yakutsk Urban Okrug.[4] The settlement of Zhatay is not a part of Yakutsk Urban Okrug and is independently incorporated as Zhatay Urban Okrug.[4]

Municipal composition of Yakutsk Urban Okrug
Towns / Cities Population Male Female Inhabited localities in jurisdiction
City of Yakutsk
285,023 135,085 (47.4%) 149,938 (52.6%)
  • City of Yakutsk
  • selo of Magan
  • selo of Namtsyr
  • selo of Staraya Tabaga
  • selo of Tabaga
Urban settlements Population Male Female Inhabited localities in jurisdiction
Zhatay Urban Okrug
9,504 4,624 (48.7%) 4,880 (51.3%)
Rural settlements Population Male Female Rural localities in jurisdiction*
Tulagino-Kildemsky Nasleg
4,031 2,050 (50.9%) 1,981 (49.1%)
  • selo of Tulagino
  • selo of Kapitonovka
  • selo of Kildyamtsy
  • selo of Syrdakh
Khatassky Nasleg
6,610 3,238 (49.0%) 3,372 (51.0%)
  • selo of Khatassy
  • selo of Vladimirovka
  • selo of Prigorodny

Divisional source:[21]
Population source:[22]
*Administrative centers are shown in bold


Bus in Yakutsk

Yakutsk is a destination of the Lena Highway. The city's connection to that highway is only usable by ferry in the summer, or in the dead of winter, by driving directly over the frozen Lena River, since Yakutsk lies entirely on its western bank, and there is no bridge anywhere in the Sakha Republic that crosses the Lena. The river is impassable for long periods of the year when it contains loose ice, when the ice cover is not thick enough to support traffic, or when the water level is too high and the river is turbulent with spring flooding. The highway ends on the eastern bank of Lena in Nizhny Bestyakh (Нижний Бестях), an urban-type settlement of some four thousand people. Yakutsk is connected with Magadan by the Kolyma Highway.

A highway bridge over the Lena in the Okrug had been scheduled to be built by the year 2020.[23][24] However, as of 2018, no decision to actually build the bridge has been taken.[25] The bridge had originally been planned to be a dual-use railroad and highway bridge so the Amur Yakutsk Mainline, the North–South railroad being extended from the south, could connect the city with the East–West Baikal Amur Mainline. The railroad reached the settlement of Nizhny Bestyakh, on the opposite bank of the Lena from Yakutsk, in November 2011.[26]

The new river bridge would be over 3 kilometers (1.9 mi) long and would be constructed 40 kilometers (25 mi) upriver at Tabaga, where the river narrows and does not create a wide flooded area in spring. In the dead of winter, the frozen Lena River makes for a passable highway for ice truckers using its channel to deliver provisions to far-flung outposts. Yakutsk is also connected to other parts of Russia by Yakutsk Airport.

Construction of a road bridge over the River Lena to Yakutsk was approved by president Vladimir Putin on 9 November 2019. Cost of the 3.2 kilometres (2.0 mi) bridge and its 10.9 kilometres (6.8 mi) of approaches was estimated at 63.7 billion Rubles (83 billion rubles including VAT [НДС]), of which a grant of 54.2 billion Rubles was to be provided, with the remainder to be sourced from investors. The bridge was to be toll-free for cars, with a toll for trucks.[27]

The 2019 completion of a new rail line to the eastern bank of the Lena permitted the start of passenger rail services between Yakutsk and the rest of Russia.

Education and research

M.K.Ammosov North-Eastern Federal University is situated in the city. There is also a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, which contains, among other things, the Institute of Cosmophysical Research, which runs the Yakutsk Extensive Air Shower installation (one of the largest cosmic-ray detector arrays in the world), and the Melnikov Permafrost Institute, founded in 1960 with the aim of solving the serious and costly problems associated with construction of buildings on frozen soil. In 2020, with global heating thawing the ground, the Institute is measuring the rate at which the permafrost is thawing, which affects the city as well as the climate.[28]

At the primary and secondary levels, the city has a number of UNESCO Associated Schools, including the Sakha-Turkish College, Sakha-French School, Sakha-Korean School, and School #16.[29]

Twin towns – sister cities

Yakutsk is twinned with:[30][31]

See also

  • Yakutsk TV Tower


  1. Registry of the Administrative-Territorial Divisions of the Sakha Republic
  2. Constitution of the Sakha Republic
  3. http://sakha.gks.ru/wps/wcm/connect/rosstat_ts/sakha/resources/a69a3d00450e021f9af8bede4cdebdf4/d2_042017.xls.
  4. Law #174-Z #355-III
  5. "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). June 3, 2011. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  6. Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  7. Телефонные коды городов / Большая Телефонная книга (in Russian). Retrieved November 10, 2010.
  8. Jessa Gamble. "What's the world's coldest city?". the Guardian.
  9. "Download Limit Exceeded". citeseerx.ist.psu.edu.
  10. "Вечная мерзлота и современный климат (geo.web.ru)". geo.web.ru (in Russian). Retrieved December 9, 2018.
  11. "Greatest temperature range on Earth". Guinness World Records.
  12. Погода в Якутске. Температура воздуха и осадки. Июль 2001 г. (in Russian)
  13. "Погода в Якутске - климатический монитор за январь 2001 года". www.pogodaiklimat.ru.
  14. "Climate Jakutsk". Pogoda.ru.net. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  15. http://www.pogodaiklimat.ru/monitor.php?id=24959&month=3
  16. "JAKUTSK 1961–1990". NOAA. Retrieved May 16, 2019.
  17. "About Us Archived October 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." Yakutia Airlines. Retrieved on July 18, 2010. "JSC "Air Company Yakutia" Address: 9, Bykovsky st., Yakutsk, Russia, 677014." Russian address: "Contact Us Archived October 4, 2010, at the Wayback Machine." "ОАО «Авиакомпания «Якутия» Адрес: Республика Саха (Якутия), 677014, г. Якутск, ул. Быковского, 9"
  18. "Celebrate Ysyakh festival in Yakutsk…". Air Russia.
  19. Sanna, Jacopo (January 11, 2019). "The Punk Scene in Yakutsk, Russia Turns Isolation Into Inspiration". Bandcamp Daily. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
  20. "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010. Национальный состав населения по муниципальным районам и городским округам". Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  21. City of Republic Significance Yakutsk Official website of the Sakha Republic
  22. The population density of the Russian Federation by constituent entities of the Russian Federation as of January 1, 2010. Gks.ru. Accessed March 29, 2020.
  23. "Lena River Bridge to Provide Hope and Fruit" Link accessed March 15, 2014.
  24. Russia Basel's wins tender to build Yakutia railroad Reuters, Thu Nov 6, 2008
  25. Якутия не исполнила решение Совбеза РФ: мост через Лену повис в воздухе [Yakutia has not implemented the decision of the Security Council of the Russian Federation; the Lena bridge is hanging in the air] (in Russian). REGNUM News Agency. June 4, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2018.
  26. "Russian Berkakit-Tommot-Nizhny Bestyakh line completed".
  27. "По ленинским мостам - Инфраструктурный проект для Якутска одобрен президентом", Коммерсантъ (in Russian) (211), November 18, 2019
  28. Will Vernon (September 18, 2020). "Siberia's bizarre bumps (video)". BBC News.
  29. Nikolaev, Michael E. (January 7, 2007). "The Most Valuable Possession of a Society is Education". Yakutia Today. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  30. "Города-побратимы". moiyakutsk.ru (in Russian). Moi Yakutsk. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  31. "Осмата по големина страна в света – на гости във Велинград". velingrad-bg.com (in Bulgarian). Velingrad. May 1, 2018. Retrieved June 26, 2020.


  • Верховный Совет Республики Саха (Якутия). 4 апреля 1992 г. «Конституция (основной закон) Республики Саха (Якутия)», в ред. Конституционного закона №1077-З №1035-IV от 8 июня 2012 г. «О внесении изменений и дополнений в Конституцию (основной закон) Республики Саха (Якутия)». Опубликован: "Якутские ведомости", №7, 26 апреля 1992 г. (Supreme Council of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. April 4, 1992 Constitution (Basic Law) of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, as amended by the Constitutional Law #1077-Z No. 1035-IV of June 8, 2012 On Amending and Supplementing the Constitution (Basic Law) of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. ).
  • Государственное Собрание (Ил Тумэн) Республики Саха (Якутия). Закон №174-З №355-III от 30 ноября 2004 г. «Об установлении границ территорий и о наделении статусом городского округа муниципальных образований Республики Саха (Якутия)», в ред. Закона №641-З №177-IV от 29 декабря 2008 г «О внесении изменений в Закон Республики Саха (Якутия) "Об установлении границ территорий и о наделении статусом городского округа муниципальных образований Республики Саха (Якутия)"». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Якутия", №243, 29 декабря 2004 г. (State Assembly (Il Tumen) of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic. Law #174-Z No. 355-III of November 30, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of the Territories and on Granting the Urban Okrug Status to the Municipal Formations of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic, as amended by the Law #641-Z No. 177-IV of December 29, 2008 On Amending the Law of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic "On Establishing the Borders of the Territories and on Granting the Urban Okrug Status to the Municipal Formations of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic". Effective as of the day of the official publication.).

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