Street lights appeared in Norilsk in 1953
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Street lights appeared in Norilsk in 1953

September 26, 2022

Norilsk residents, living for several winter months without sunlight, like no one else appreciate the brightly lit streets during the polar night.

#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. In the 1940s, ordinary light bulbs were artificial suns for Norilsk. They were hung on wires stretched across the streets. Such devices illuminated the first streets of the city: Pionerskaya (now Bogdan Hmelnitsky) and Sevastopolskaya, they are clearly visible in the oldest photographs. It is easy to imagine how those lanterns swayed and rushed about during a blizzard, how the wires were torn by the wind…

In 1953, the first real lanterns appeared on the city streets: with massive supports and matte balls. Usually they were two-lamp ones, and in the most ceremonial and crowded places – on Octyabrskaya, Gvardeyskaya and Komsomolskaya squares, in front of the old theater building – they were graceful four-lamp poles. Lampposts were placed directly on the sidewalks. But the secondary streets, as well as the arches and stadiums’ fields, were still illuminated by wires with hanging lanterns.

In the late 1960s, Norilsk was gradually changing its outdoor lighting. This milestone is especially clearly visible in the photographs: at that time, new double-console lamps with mercury fluorescent lamps appeared on the streets’ dividing lawns. On Leninsky prospekt, the lanterns were moved from the sidewalks to the central lawns in the summer of 1968. They became a modern element of urban design, they shone much brighter, but at the same time the city lost its old-fashioned coziness.

In the History Spot’s previous publication, we told that the Norilsk drama theater first worked in a forced labor camp canteen.

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Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive

September 26, 2022

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