Norilsk is an incredible lively historical monument. Even just on its own. The city arose from a camp settlement in the late 30s of the last century. From there his style and character grew, the cultural layer was accumulated. Traces of the past are everywhere: on the houses, monuments, industrial facilities, unusual buildings with its inscriptions, architectural forms, historical myths and facts.
The city beyond the 69th parallel was once called the Polar Palmyra. And the point is in real similarity with Petersburg. In the 40s, Soviet architects actively approached the classics, which affected the appearance of Norilsk.
What first gets into the view of any person who comes to Norilsk land is the so-called gates of the city – the twin houses on Octyabrskaya Square. They mark a ceremonial entrance to Norilsk. With them begins the main street of the city – Leninsky Prospekt. There is a joke that “every seventh Norilsk resident lives on Leninsky prospect and the remaining six ones envy him”. Once it was called Ordzhonikidze Street and the prospect after Stalin. Octyabrskaya Square was Entrance Square.
The building ensembles of the first post-war years are unique. The apartments in them are spacious with high ceilings, enormous areas for shops and libraries are provided in the buildings. The fashionable five-star Polar Star hotel is located in one of the houses now.
The twin houses construction began in 1943. People built the towers with bare hands, without cranes and special equipment. Today it is an architectural monument of regional significance. Even in severe weather, their appearance is significantly invigorating, it makes everyone remember the city’s powerful history and its talented creators.
Old-timers say that once there were stucco “medallions” with the initials V.S.N.and L.V. M. on the facade of these buildings. So the authors of the projects like-minded architects, spouses Vitold Nepokoichitsky and Lidia Minenko perpetuated their names that way. This square is not the only creative mark that the couple left in the architecture of the twentieth century of Russia. By the way, they themselves lived in the house number 1 on Octyabrskaya Square for some time.
Vitold Stanislavovich got his upbringing and education in Leningrad, where architecture was classified as high art at that time. This his first building was made in the neoclassical style and strongly resembles a city on the Neva river. Having the support from the head of the Norilsk Combine of that time, Abraham Zavenyagin, Nepokoichitsky got the chance to create a city the appearance of which would become the hallmark of the Arctic forever.
“We worked with her on equal terms,” Nepokoichitsky wrote about his wife, “complementing each other successfully. She was always distinguished by a deep understanding of the essence of architecture, a delicate artistic taste and extraordinary perseverance”.
As a result of this community, not only the twin towers arose on Oktyabrskaya Square, but also such memorable ensembles as Gvardeiskaya and Komsomolskaya Squares, Southern Line and Sevastopolskaya Street, a number of residential houses and public buildings.
Text: Marina Horoshevskaya, Photo: Nikolay Shchipko