Lama Lake for Norilsk citizens began with the camp. In 1938, the first prisoners were brought there for logging. But the director of the combine, Avraamy Zavenyagin, quickly discerned the recreational potential of the lake and ordered to organize a recreation area at the lake.
They decided to make a full-fledged sanatorium with all the necessary infrastructure for the Norilsk people to rest. The project of the wooden building, which is still functioning, was carried out by a freelance architect Fyodor Usov. In 1944, vacationers were welcomed there for the first time: 40 families on a twenty-day vacation. At the same time, the necessary infrastructure was being built, up to the barn and greenhouses.
In the summer of 1940, the teacher of the first Norilsk school, Natalya Tsaryova, led a pioneer expedition to Lake Lama, consisting of 39 schoolchildren. They were given housing that had previously belonged to lumberjacks. The houses were without windows and doors, the cracks had to be covered with blankets, but this did not bother anyone. The children were delighted with the fresh wind and spaciousness. High school students went on hikes, fished, picked berries and mushrooms.
But the remoteness of the Lama still made the sanatorium difficult to access and therefore exclusive. It was replaced by other recreational areas, closer to Norilsk. Subsequently, the Valek night health center, the Gornyak health center at Ergalakh river and the Zarya night sanatorium at the building parts plant were constructed. All of them were designed with the expectation of developing the resort potential of the Norilsk region.
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Text: Svetlana Samokhina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive