However, the hotel quickly turned into a kind of engineers’ hostel: the guests stayed in Norilsk for a long time, and they had nowhere to move out. It is known that, for example, Nikolay and Elizaveta Urvantsevs lived in the hotel.
In 1947, when all the rooms in the first building were occupied, another one was built across the road – its mirror image. Both corner three-story buildings were rare examples of classical architecture in those days.
The hotels had large halls with parquet floors, soft armchairs and sofas, coffee and chess tables. The rooms were small, but with everything for life, such as a washbasin. True, amenities – toilets and showers – were located in the corridor, but not outside, as many Norilsk residents had in those years.
On the ground floor there was a kitchen, where a large stove was heated all day long to cook with. On the first floors of the hotels there were canteens or buffets, and according to the recollections of some old-timers, even the first evening restaurant that was better than the famous Taimyr.
The first guest houses had no official names, only people’s memory informs that the very first hotel was called Zapolyarnaya. In the new part of the city, on Gvardeiskaya square, the hotel was opened only in 1960.
In the History, we told that the first premiere shown in the new building of the Polar Drama Theatre: the play Special Appointment provided a month of full houses and resonance throughout the city.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive