#ARCTIC. #SIBERIA. THIS IS TAIMYR. Often our city was a tourist attraction, which was visited and examined with interest by guests of varying degrees of fame. They described their impressions in books.
It can be very interesting to read excerpts in the form of such ‘snapshots’ of our city. Here, for example, is a quote from the book of aviation hero Mikhail Vodopyanov, The Polar Pilot, which was published in 1954 and then reprinted several times.
“…Next I flew to the big cities that grew up in the Soviet years beyond the Arctic Circle. I saw Vorkuta, Dikson, Tiksi, admired the new northern ports, at the sea berths of which the booms of cranes rise and ships fly anchor under the flags of many countries of the world.
The city of polar metallurgists, Norilsk, is particularly good. When you fly up to it, you first see a huge statue of Lenin, and behind it there are even rows of multi-story stone houses and further away a palisade of tall factory chimneys. There are wide avenues, excellent schools, large shops, cinemas, and all this is built, one might say, on ice, because there is permafrost in this area. But our builders have learned to erect tall buildings in permafrost areas. They stand on reinforced concrete pillars driven deep into the eternal ice. The house stands on three-meter pillars, and outside air circulates underneath it all the time, preventing the upper layers of ice from melting deeply.
It was cold in Norilsk, but they invited me… to swim. In Moscow I live almost next to a swimming pool and have never swum in it, but here…
“Come on, Mikhail Vasilyevich, you won’t regret it”, the Norilsk people called me, and I let them persuade me.
The swimming pool in Norilsk turned out to be wonderful – spacious, with water tracks for competitions and diving towers. I enjoyed swimming in the warm water. Children were frolicking around me. Many of them were so tanned, as if they had just returned from the Black sea shore.
– Have they visited the resort? – I asked.
“No”, they answered me, smiling. “They sunbathed here in Norilsk, under the rays of the electric sun. You can’t get tanned in the real sun here, and so we correct this ‘mistake’ of nature by creating an artificial sun. Maybe you want to sunbathe? You don’t have to go far. Here, in the pool, in a special room, powerful lamps are installed.
Many deposits of metal ores have been found in the Norilsk region. In the Arctic, which was once called the ‘frozen steppe’, coal and gold, oil and copper, salt and nickel are mined. And how much of all sorts of stuff remains to be found here, because the depths of these harsh regions, according to scientists, hide untold riches. Only a small part of the Arctic territory has been surveyed and studied. The Arctic still holds many secrets. There’s a lot to do here – on the mainland, on the islands, and on the drifting ice floes”.
In the History Spot’s previous project, we told you about Norilsk citizens’ favorite hobby – picking and cooking mushrooms.
Text: Svetlana Ferapontova, Photo: Nornickel Polar Branch archive