#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Here, for example, is an article by Sergey Shcheglov (Norilsky) entitled Capital of the Yenisey North. It was published in the spring of 1957 in the literary magazine Siberian Lights, which was published in Novosibirsk.
“On a cloudless and windless morning, having climbed the mountains that enclose the Norilsk valley, you stop to take a breath, look down and admire it. Norilsk is all before you in full view in a vast valley covered with snow. It bristled with black pipes, stretched out into long streets, and lay down into rectangular blocks of residential buildings.
Scatterings of electric lights, so bright on a dark night, now flicker slightly, faded in front of the all-conquering daylight. From here, from above, houses and factories look like toys. And there, outside the city, behind the snow-white ribbon of the winter Norilka river, behind the tundra that ripples with bushes, there are mountains again. Powerful, impregnable, rugged with dark wrinkles of rocky ledges and crevices. It seems that the mountains are not far away, but they are more than fifty kilometers away. What a space!
May the reader forgive me for my enthusiasm. But Norilsk, like other cities, managed to give birth to its patriots. And they usually admire everything in their hometown: the sunrise over it is special, the streets are wider and more spacious than anywhere else, and the industry is the most powerful… And you have to believe them.
The cultural life of the young city is wide and varied. Two houses of culture, 20 clubs, several cinemas, a children’s music school, a music and drama theater with 550 seats, 12 libraries, two gyms, one of which is the largest in the Krasnoyarsk region, a stadium with two fields, over 160 red corners, 58 mobile cinema points at enterprises and in suburban workers’ settlements.
There are 18 schools in the city. More than nine thousand children study there, including about six thousand in four secondary schools. There are seven schools for working youth. They are attended by over 2700 young men and women working in production. One of the largest and most beautiful houses built over the past six years houses the largest mining and metallurgical technical school in the USSR. It trains about 1200 future miners, metallurgists, mechanics, builders – specialists in six professions.
Norilsk children have at their disposal 19 kindergartens, 14 nurseries, and a wonderful Palace of Pioneers. A puppet theater was born in the city (the first attempt to create it dates back to 1954). More than three thousand Norilsk pioneers and schoolchildren spend every summer in pioneer camps on the banks of the Yenisey, in the Taezhny and Kureika state farms. Excellent students spend the summer in Crimea, at Artek.
The city’s trading network is widely developed. 102 canteens and buffets, 70 shops and tents. The powerful Norilsnab (the Norilsk constructing organization. – editor) system provides nine-tenths of the trade turnover of the polar city. Norilsnab is supported by a bread factory, five bakeries, a brewery, a pasta factory, a sausage shop and the Norilsk state farm.
There are about a thousand cows on this state farm, and each cow produces an average of three and a half thousand liters of milk annually. Onions, cucumbers, and tomatoes are grown in greenhouses all year round. True, very few Norilsk residents still feast on tomatoes and cucumbers grown on the state farm. But vegetable growing in the North is developing every year.
In any darkness, Norilsk is flooded with light. External lighting alone has a length of 145 kilometers. The city is equipped with developed water supply, sewerage, and central heating. Each Norilsk resident consumes 170 liters of water daily – this is 112 liters more than the average daily water consumption of each resident of the RSFSR.
Every year a Norilsk resident consumes 718 kilowatt-hours of electricity (a Moscow resident consumes 164 kilowatt-hours per year). In terms of power and length of the heating network, Norilsk ranks third after Moscow and Leningrad. In terms of coverage of the population with hot water, Norilsk ranks first in the USSR.
Norilsk is the future of the Yenisey North. Already now it can rightfully be considered the capital of this region. It’s easy to imagine what the city on the Norilka river will be like in a few years, when construction of the second stage of the polymetallic plant begins…”
In the History Spot we talked about the guide brochure Norilsk and Norilsk residents, published in the late 1970s.