Norilsk swimming pool was first world Arctic one
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Norilsk swimming pool was first world Arctic one

May 18, 2022

Norilsk has always been assigned the role of the front line, from where the development of the Arctic took place.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. It was an attempt to provide citizens in the Arctic with the same level of comfort as in the mainland. And one of the signs of such an oasis among the snows was to be the first pool in the world’s Arctic.

15 years of prehistory led to the realization of this dream. Back in the mid-1940s, the Norilsk combine and the Norillag camp head Alexander Panyukov boasted to Moscow guests: “We’ve decided to build the northernmost indoor swimming pool in the world”. In 1944, a competition was announced for the best project for a ‘wooden indoor swimming pool building on the shore of a natural reservoir using the warm waters of a thermal power plant’.

According to the Norilsk construction first stage planning, the pool was assigned a place in the very center of the city, where the drama theater now stands. But the soils at that place are not easy, and the pool is a heavy building, and most importantly – with a large heat transfer. It was necessary to find a rocky place. So in 1957, construction began on the mountain, in the park named after the 30th anniversary of the Komsomol.

Two years later, in 1959, the work was completed. The pool became a gift to all Norilsk residents for the 42nd anniversary of the October Revolution. The eyewitnesses remembered the opening day as a sports holiday.

From the Norilsk basin first head Iskander Faizullin’s book Swimmers of the Arctic:

“Hundreds of Norilsk residents on that festive evening stretched to the snow-covered hill in the city center, to the brightly lit building and, having settled in the pool stands, they immediately seemed to have found themselves in the far south. Everything here was unusual. The air, as warm as in the subtropics, greenish-transparent water beat in small waves against the tiled shores. The bright light of spotlights from high balconies flooded the ten-meter tower and the pool bath, which contained a million liters of water.

From Anatoly Lvov’s book Sports climate in Norilsk:

“I don’t remember what kind of weather was on that day, but it seems it was sunny, rays were beating through the glass. The pool was full and seemed to be huge, the water sparkled in the beams of the spotlights. Blue water called to itself, illuminated, shining, warm. Dmitry Muravyov, the head of the Gorstroy and an athlete, is dressed, I notice, not according to the situation. Everyone around is smart, solemn, with ties – like at a theatrical premiere, but he is in beach trousers, without a jacket, in a white shirt, but with an unbuttoned collar, in sneakers. Will there be the first swims? He is a judge of the all-Union category, this is known, but not in swimming, is he? Suddenly, several guys lift Muravyov in their arms, carry him to the side, he does not resist. All is clear now! Someone whispered to him in advance: it won’t do without a font. You can come in a tailcoat, but we will definitely throw you into the water – as a construction manager and as an athlete who will not drown… A loud splash, a fountain of splashes, sympathetic laughter from the podium. The swimmer gets out and, feeling solid ground under his feet, thanks for the right of the first bath. 128 swimmers and divers took part in the competitions in honor of the pool opening”.

The first swimming pool in Norilsk was very popular and worked 17 hours a day.

In the History Spot photo project previous publication, we told that 40 years ago, the workers’ settlements of Kayerkan and Talnah became cities.

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May 18, 2022

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