Look how Norilsk most recognizable street changed

Look how Norilsk most recognizable street changed

February 14, 2024

The History Spot section will tell and show what services the shops and cafes on the city’s main street offered Norilsk residents.


Grocery store No. 8

The name “Leninsky prospect” appeared on the city map only at the end of 1961. Before that, it was called Stalin avenue, and the section from Octyabrskaya to Gvardeyskaya square was Ordzhonikidze street. By 1961, the main Norilsk road ended right at this place, before the intersection with Leningradskaya street. Almost all houses had built-in shops on the ground floors. They say, this was done on purpose so that in the cold winter, Norilsk residents, entering from one side of the store and leaving from the other, could walk right through the entire Leninsky prospect and not freeze. But this is just a legend. In fact, the authorities got out of the situation in this way, because the money was allocated only for the construction of residential buildings. By the way, shops along Leninsky prospect often remained unfinished when the building was commissioned. The builders, being late to the deadline, left the first floors until better times, reporting on the number of housing units done. The store in this photo is one of the few, and the only one on Leninsky prospect that never had its own name. At birth he was grocery store No. 26 and later became grocery store No. 8. This, of course, did not make the store less visited. The section where they sold juices by the glass and ice cream in cups was especially popular. In those years, milk was also sold by the glass, and you had to go to the store with your own container – for example, an enamel can.

Krasnoyarsk Pillars restaurant

The unnamed canteen-culinary No. 19, later a cafe, and finally the Krasnoyarsk Pillars restaurant, was commissioned by the builders in the spring of 1964. And this was the first cultural and everyday object on Leninsky prospect, not built into a residential building, but located in a separate one. The city leaders had to report that a club building was being built for neighboring dormitories, and not a canteen for the city as money was allocated to Norilsk mainly for housing. Apart from Krasnoyarsk Pillars and small eateries such as Varenichnaya or Devilled Chicken, no other catering establishments were built on Leninsky prospect. The name corresponded to the Norilsk fashion for names taken from polar or Siberian toponymy. Krasnoyarsk Pillars are famous rocks, spurs of the Sayan mountains. The building where the canteen was located was standard; according to the same design, Metelitsa (eng.: Snowstorm), Zdorovye (eng.: Health), Kavkaz (eng.: Caucasus), Russkiye Uzory (eng.: Russian Patterns) and Bely Olen (eng.: White Deer) in Kayerkan were built in Big Norilsk. The form of service was also common. There you could have a snack – broth with a pie or a pie with a cocktail, and buy a ready-made dish or a semi-finished product to take home. This freed women from ‘kitchen slavery’ at the stove. After all, many Norilsk kitchens in those years were not conducive to culinary delights: they were either small-sized cells in Hrushchev-era buildings, or shared ones in Stalin-era communal apartments.

Book House

In Norilsk, books were in high demand. The city was famous for the high intellectual level of its residents. Therefore, the hunger for books was very noticeable here during the long polar nights. There was even a separate book trade in the Norilsk trade system, which was formed in 1951. There were two bookstores on Leninsky prospect: in building No. 7 there was a political book store Mysl (eng.: Thought), and on the other side of the avenue, in 1963, a specialized Books House with three halls and a used book department began operating. On the opening day, the store even organized a performance by local poets. Readers of those years remember that books were in great short supply at that time. And therefore, treasured volumes were often sold in sets: popular books were sold together with unpopular. So Soviet stores carried out the plan, getting rid of stale goods.

House of Household Goods

The construction of the Norilsk main avenue lasted more than 15 years. In 1963, the avenue, by that time already called Leninsky, stretched to its full length – two kilometers 250 meters, though it is not the longest city artery. And this path – from the Moscow shop to Vorkuta grocery, from one temperature panel to another – is walked by Norilsk residents both in winter and in summer. The Yaroslavna store, the Vorkuta grocery store and the House of Household Goods completed the long line of shops, restaurants and cafes located on the city’s ‘red line’. In total, more than 20 shops and a dozen restaurants, cafes and eateries were operating on Leninsky at the same time.

Atelier Beryozka

For quite a long time in Norilsk, it was customary not to buy ready-made clothes, but to sew them: with your own hands or order them from a studio. At the same time, good craftsmen had orders scheduled several months in advance. There were more than a dozen studios in the city, besides sewing and clothing repair shops. Only on Leninsky prospect there were three studios: Norilchanka – at the beginning of the avenue, Silhouette – in the center and Beryozka (eng.: Birch) – at the end of it. The atelier sewed suits and dresses, outerwear and hats, wedding dresses and knitwear. Although Norilsk is isolated from the mainland, they tried to keep the high level of life and service here. Norilsk women were taught to understand modern fashion trends. At the city university of culture (there was one in the city, at the House of Political Education), lectures were held on the topic how to dress beautifully. There were also demonstrations of clothing models, both women’s and men’s. The authors and performers of fashionable clothing for such shows were craftsmen and cutters from Norilsk ateliers.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we talked about how Norilsk stores changed over time.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

February 14, 2024

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