Shifting tectonic plates, mountains spitting fire, the air churning deadly hurricanes — our world as we know it is as much of a destroyer as it is a creator. It is part of the process of going forward in time. However, how much of these extremities have you witnessed? How far can you go to say that you have lived in one of the most challenging and forbidding conditions that Mother Nature had hurled at you? Let’s find out. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Verkhoyansk, Russia
Also known as ‘the Cold Pole’, Verkhoyansk is situated 300 miles east of Moscow, deep into Siberia. Verkhoyansk is the coldest city above the arctic circle and has seen temperatures plummet to minus 90 during the late 19th century! If you’re thinking that the cold doesn’t allow habitation, you’re mistaken. Approximately 1,500 people live in Verkhoyanks (presently), having braved the deadly cold for more than three centuries. Verkhoyansk also lays claim to being the oldest city in the world. We aren’t sure about that, but we know for a fact that living here is no easy feat.
2. Danakil Desert, Ethiopia
Frostbites to sunburn — people have seen it all under the differing and even polar opposite conditions that nature hurls at us. At Danakil Desert in Ethiopia, the extreme temperatures teamed with border conflicts, which comes with a risk of being kidnapped, makes it highly inhospitable, Danakil also has numerous active volcanoes and geysers that breathe out toxic gases but it hasn’t ruled out the possibility of entertaining the very occasional madcap adventurer.
3. Naples, Italy
What gives Naples its rich, fresh produce everyday could also end up being the reason for its complete destruction at any point of time. Naples is surrounded by active volcanoes on all sides, which could explode at any given moment, risking the lives of 97,000 who inhabit the place. The immediate area surrounding the volcano is also highly populated. It goes without saying that a sudden explosion will wreak havoc on this beautiful Italian haven.
4. Iha da Queimada Grande (Snake Island), Brazil
The question of hospitality doesn’t apply to the Snake Island in Brazil. The name gives away just why this place is widely considered as the most dangerous place on earth. There’s no estimation as to how many snakes inhabit this place but researchers say that there’s fives living in every square meter. After the death of the lighthouse guard, the Brazilian government has declared this island off-limits for visitors.
5. Valley of Death, Kamchatka, Russia
If animals and plants don’t live long, you can be sure of the place’s in-hospitality. The Valley of Death in Kamchatka emits a high concentration of toxic gases, which makes it difficult for any life form to survive. People who have braved every odd have confessed to feeling dizzy, feverish, sick, and unwell after a short while of being here.