May 31, 2023

Icy streets and cold noodles: North Korea’s brutal winters — in photos

Heavy snow transforms the country into a scenic winter wonderland, but freezing temperatures also bring new hardships

Winters in North Korea are long and bitterly cold. Average temperatures range from -13 C to -3 C (9 to 27 F) during the chilliest months, and snow often blankets the ground. State media reported that temperatures on Christmas morning would drop to as low as -18 C in Pyongyang, -26 C in Rason and -40 C on Mount Paektu.

Covered in soft white snow, the villages, towns and mountainous landscapes of the country are indeed postcard picturesque, but such conditions can also be unsympathetically inhospitable. Daily life is often brutally harsh, as many have to do laundry in frozen rivers and suffer from shortages of electricity and gasoline. Despite this, the cold also brings opportunities for people to get together for winter activities like skiing and ice skating.