RUSSIA (CBS/RTV) -- A small town in the midst of Yakutia - a region in the vast stretch of Russian Siberia some 5,600 miles east of capital Moscow - may not be on the world's map of the prime tourist destinations but it is certainly worth at least a brief visit for the most adventurous, for the town of Oymyakon is officially known as one of the world's coldest places.
A sign on the road to the town Centre reads: "Oymyakon, the Pole of Cold", is referring to the world's coldest inhabited place. The lowest temperature ever registered there is 90 degrees below zero.
The coldest place on Earth is Antarctica, where the temperature drops well into the 110s below zero in winter months. People cannot survive such temperatures, which is why human life in Antarctica dies in the Southern Hemisphere winter.
In Oymyakon, more than 500 people live throughout the year, carrying out their daily routine seemingly undisturbed by the extreme climate.
Winters in that part of the world are long, on average lasting up to eight months, and keeping houses warm is not just a matter of comfort in Oymyakon.
For centuries the Yakuts, the indigenous people of Yakutia, depended on their forests for survival. The one and only source of heating is burning wood - and lots of it.
Logging wood is one of the best businesses to be in, and for local lumberjack Alexei Yegorov, trips to the local forest happen daily. With 49 Fahrenheit below zero outside, orders for firewood are guaranteed and keep him going until May when the short Yakutian summer arrives.
Yegorov said winters have been much warmer recently, around minus 40-58 degrees Celsius, but record temperatures still hit the area each year.
"When I was still at school, I remember, every year we had minus 60-61 degrees (minus 76 Fahrenheit). It's every year like this, at least 10 days in a row," Yegorov said.
Summer in Yakutia is short. Snow usually melts by May but may settle back as early as September.
Reliable meteorological data for the area only became available in the early 20th century.
"The record lowest temperature was registered in 1933 which was 67.7 (Celsius) below zero (minus 90 Fahrenheit )," said local ethnographer Tamara Vasilyeva.
The Oymyakon Valley climate is perhaps the harshest on Earth, but 600 miles north of Oymyakon lies another Yakutian town, Verkhoyansk, which also claims the right to be called the world's coldest inhabited place.
"A misprint appeared in some document saying that in 1885 in Verkhoyansk the temperature of minus 67.8 (Celsius) (minus 90 Fahrenheit) had been registered. That started the dispute," Vasilyeva said.
She vehemently denies Verkhoyansk's claim to the title. "But there was never such a temperature (in Verkhoyansk) in the first place, and the year of 1885 is not recognized by science anyway. Why? I'll explain. In those days the thermometers had different gradations - wider or finer - so they showed different temperatures," Vasilyeva said.
Oymyakon does not accept Verkhoyansk's claims and the obelisk with a "Pole of Cold" sign has been installed in the village as a confirmation of its record-holding.
But low temperatures are far from being the only record held by Yakutia. The Yakutian horse may well be called one of the wonders of the region.
The relatively small, pony-type of Yakutian horse is extremely hardy. It lives outside year-round surviving extreme temperatures.
"Horses would survive any frost. Sometimes we have 60 degrees below zero (minus 76 Fahrenheit) here but they can withstand it. Those are the animals we have here. They are thought to be the most hardy animals in the world," said Nikolai Vinokurov, the head of a local horse breeding farm.
His farm has around 300 horses. To keep themselves warm horses keep moving throughout the whole winter and never lie down through the whole winter.
In the region where roads are few and distances are long, horses are still being widely used for moving around in the deep snow. But they are also a major source of fresh meat as cattle is hard to breed under such extreme temperatures.
"Yakutian horses are the most unique in the world. They are very hardy, very beautiful. And their meat is very tasty. Everything is beautiful about them," Vinokurov said proudly.
The permafrost land of Yakutia holds many secrets and riches. Apart from its natural beauty, it holds 99 percent of all Russian diamonds, accounting for 23 percent of world's diamond production. It's cold soil is rich in gold and silver, oil, coal and gas, and it territory is larger than the territories of France, Austria, Germany, Italy, Sweden, UK, Finland, and Greece combined.