"Pole of Cold" Festival

On Tuesday the first group of the participants in the Pole of Cold festival set out on a 1,000-kilometre auto run from Yakutsk to the Tomor settlement of the Oimyakon ulus (Sakha-Yakutia, a federal republic in the north of the Far East).

The lowest temperature in the world - 71 degrees below zero Celsius - was registered there in the 1970s.

According to the officials of the Ministry of Tourism of Yakutia, which initiated this festival, it will last six days.

Three well-known characters - Ded Moroz (Father Frost) from Veliky Ustyug in the north of European Russia, Santa Claus from Lapland (Finland) and their Yakut brother Ekhehe Dyyl were invited to the festival. They will present gifts to the guests, "sum up the results of winter" and discuss surprises for the next year.

Representatives of different Yakut uluses, guests from Moscow, and tourists from the USA and Finland are participating in the festival.

Chyskhaan - the keeper of cold according to the Yakut mythology - will meet the participants of the auto run in Tomor with severe frost and a snowstorm, natural or artificial.

The programme of the festival includes numerous national concerts and public merry-making. An exhibition-fair of national clothes, a festival of reindeer-breeders, of the Yakut national cuisine, and races of reindeer teams will be held. Competitions in jumping over sledges and target and distance throwing of a maut (the Yakut variety of a lasso), which are popular among the local inhabitants, will be staged too.