Yakutsk was founded in 1632 as a Cossack fort but did not grow into a city until the discovery of large reserves of gold and other minerals in the 1880s and 1890s. These reserves were developed extensively during the industrialisation under Stalin. The rapid growth of forced labour camps in Siberia also encouraged Yakutsk's development.
Yakutsk is a destination of Lena Highway. Actually, the city's connection to the Highway is only accessible by ferry in the summer, or in the dead of winter, directly over the frozen Lena River, as Yakutsk lies entirely on its western bank, and there is no bridge anywhere in the Sakha Republic that crosses the mighty Lena. The river is impassable for long periods of the year when it is full of loose ice, or when the ice cover is not sufficiently thick to support traffic, or when the water level is high and the river turbulent with spring flooding. So the Highway actually ends on the eastern bank of Lena in Nizhny Bestyakh (Нижний Бестях), an urban-type settlement of some 4 thousand people. Additionally, Yakutsk is connected with Magadan in the Russian Far East by the Kolyma Highway. A massive dual-use railroad and roadway bridge over Lena is scheduled to be built by 2013, when the Amur Yakutsk Mainline, the North-South railroad being extended from the South, will finally connect the city with the East-West Baikal Amur Mainline (the railway has reached a point some 260 km south of Yakutsk). The bridge will be over 3 kilometres long and constructed 40 km 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 makes for a passable highway for ice truckers using its channel to deliver provisions to far-flung outposts.
Yakutsk State University is situated in the city. There's 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 Permafrost Research Institute developed with the aim of solving the serious and costly problems associated with construction of buildings on frozen soil.
Yakutsk is also home of some theaters and museums among others, Sakha theater and the Museum of Mammoth.
The city has offices of many mining companies, including ALROSA, whose diamond mines in Yakutia account for about 20% of the world's rough diamond output.
Yakutsk is one of the coldest cities on earth, with January temperatures averaging . The coldest temperatures ever recorded outside Antarctica occur in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast. However, July temperatures can often exceed , making the region among the greatest in the world for seasonal temperature differences. Yakutsk is the biggest city built on continuous permafrost. Most houses are built on concrete piles.
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.
Yakutsk: permafrost capital of the world: did you forget to turn off the water? In Yakutsk, a city just below the Arctic Circle, a little drip from a pipe creates an enormous ice sculpture.
May 01, 2006; Located in East Siberia, Russia, yakutsk is the capital of the Russian republic of Sakha, or Yakutia. Located just below...
Yakutsk: Journey to the coldest city on earth ; Think our winter's been a bit grim? Try visiting Yakutsk - the Russian city where 'a bit nippy' means minus 50C, and a quick dash to the corner shop could end in frostbite. Shaun Walker enjoys a mini-break in deepest Siberia winter temperatures
Jan 21, 2008; At minus 35C, the air will cold enough to numb exposed skin quickly, making frostbite a constant hazard. And at minus 45C, even...
Russia: Floodwater Threatens to Devastate City on Stilts ; Yakutsk, a City of 200,000 People, Is a Marvel of Soviet Engineering. but It May Be Destroyed in Floods Caused by Melting Siberian Ice
May 21, 2001; SURGING FLOODWATERS on the Lena river in north-eastern Siberia are threatening to destroy a marvel of Soviet engineering -...