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Yakutsk (Russian: Яку́тск; Sakha: Дьокуускай, D'okuuskaj pronounced [ɟokuːskaj]) is a city in the Russian Far East, located about 4° (450 kilometres) south of the Arctic Circle. It is the capital of the Sakha (Yakutia) Republic (formerly the Yakut Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic), Russia and a major port on the Lena River. It is served by Yakutsk Airport as well as the smaller Magan Airport. The city has a population of 210,642 (2002 Census);[1] 186,626 (1989 Census).[4]



Yakutsk was founded as an ostrog (fort) by Pyotr Beketov in 1632. In 1639 it became the center of a Voyevodstvo. The Voyevoda of Yakutsk quickly became the most important Russian official in eastern Siberia and directed expansion to the east and south. Yakutsk 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 industrialization under Stalin. The rapid growth of forced labor camps in Siberia was also a major factor encouraging Yakutsk's development.


With a subarctic climate (Köppen climate classification Dfd), Yakutsk is the coldest city, though not the coldest inhabited place, on Earth. Average monthly temperatures range from 19 °C (66 °F) in July to -40° in January. The coldest temperatures ever recorded on the planet outside Antarctica occurred in the basin of the Yana River to the northeast of Yakutsk. Although winters are long and extremely cold, summers are warm (though rather short), with daily maximum temperatures occasionally exceeding 32 °C (90 °F), making the seasonal temperature differences for the region among the greatest in the world. As the biggest city built on continuous permafrost, most houses in Yakutsk are built on concrete piles. The climate is quite dry, with maximum precipitation occurring in the summer months.

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