With average year-round temperatures of 31.3 degrees Fahrenheit, and with lows of minus 40 during winter, Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia is the coldest capital city in the world.
It’s a place where urbanisation and traditional ways of life sit side by side. It’s synonymous with fabulous cashmere, mind-bending contortionists and eye-catching suburbs of traditional housing.
So what’s life like in the coldest capital on earth?
60% of the city’s growing population lives in the same kind of fabric-walled homes as their ancestors did. This type of house is called a Ger. But these residents are a hardy lot.
“Mongolians have been nomads for thousands of years; everything we eat and wear is designed to overcome the four seasons. That’s why Mongolians get through winter without any trouble.”
Some even enjoy the cold...
“In the winter, cold is good. It’s very good to go out and walk in the wintertime. “
Surviving the bitter winters in Ulaanbaatar, especially for those in Gers, means that locals rely heavily on wood and coal... Mining is a major industry in the region. But the long-term effects of coal reliance are taking their toll on the area.
"At the end of 2016, air pollution was 80 times the recommended safety level set by the world health organisation.”
But there is hope; a new project is underway to clean up the air of Ulaanbaatar, and it’s made substantial progress so far;
Installing wind farms and replacing traditional stoves with low emission alternatives to help curb the use of fossil fuels, has already started to improve air quality. It’s hoped that measures like these will preserve the beauty of this awe-inspiring place for future generations.