In 1949, engineer-hydrogeologist Vladimir Derpgolts submitted a memorandum with a fantastic title to the leaders of the force labor camp and the combine: “On the resort potential of the Norilsk region”. According to the idea, the combine could not waste money and time on taking people to the mainland, but to improve the health of workers right on Taimyr.
He proposed to build a health resort network on Taimyr and scientifically substantiated this: the circumpolar regions, and the Norilsk region, too, have unique climatic, hydro-mineral and mud healing natural factors. In summer in the North, solar radiation is higher than in the southern regions. If sanatoriums are built away from the industrial zone, then from spring to autumn, vacationers will be able to enjoy the almost non-setting sun, fresh arctic air, views of mountains and lakes. Plus health improvement – hydrogen sulphide and peat baths, water from mineral springs, hiking and skiing, boating.
Among the suitable sites, Derpgolts named the areas of the Ergalah River, Zub-mountain, Lama and Hantayskoye lakes. “The only obstacle in the development of the medicinal resources of the Soviet Arctic is our inertia”, he wrote.
The first rest house was built on the Lama by prisoners. Opened in 1944, it could simultaneously accommodate 40 families on a 20-day vacation. Then the Valek night dispensary, the Zarya sanatorium and the Gornyak night dispensary were opened.
Read other materials of our photo project in the History spot section.
Text: Svetlana Samokhina, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive