#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. The holiday was celebrated by the first eight winterers headed by Nikolay Urvantsev. Whether they decorated the tree is unknown, because in Soviet Russia the persecution of the Christmas tree began as a ‘priest’s relic’.
In 1935, when the order was issued to build a nickel plant, the New Year’s symbol in the Soviet Union was just rehabilitated.
The first public street tree, according to the recollections of the Norilsk residents, was set on December 30, 1939 in front of the building of the first school. That place was located not far from the Zero Point, which in those years was the public center of Norilsk.
Komsomol members of the village met the new 1942th at the rink. It was made on one of the lakes in the Old City. The skating rink was decorated with illuminated Christmas trees, and an amateur brass band played.
In subsequent years, the skating rink, and with it the main holiday tree, moved to the first Norilsk stadium, Dynamo. Snow sites in the current sense were not built at that time. Figures of Santa Claus and Snow Maiden, deer and squirrels were placed under the spruce.
In the early 1950s, the public center of Norilsk moved from the Old City to the new, modern one, and there Gvardeyskaya square became the main ‘Christmas tree’ square. The New Year’s town grew up on the site of the central flowerbed.
In the 1960s, the New Year’s site moved further along Leninsky prospect. In those years, the city Christmas tree was erected in front of the Palace of Culture, on the site ‘near the four kindergartens’ – where there is the Boulevard of the Lovers now, and on Dzerzhinsky square – now Teatralnaya one. All three of these city points hosted the Christmas tree, and often at the same time.
Since the early 1970s, the Metallurgists square was the most ‘New Year’ square. In addition to the main New Year’s symbol – a 15-20-meter Christmas tree – there was enough space for snow figures, slides, and labyrinths.
Several generations of Norilsk residents, remembering the New Year, talk about the Christmas tree on the Metallurgists square. This is not surprising, since shite stayed there for the longest period in the Norilsk history – over 30 years.
For other issues of our photo project about the history of the city and the combine, go to the History spot section.
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Text: Svetlana Samohina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Division archive