DAYS & PLACES
Norilsk, Siberia’s most extreme city.
There is beauty in desolation, humanity in the artificial and warmth even in the frigid reaches of the North Pole. No roads or trains lead there. Built in 1935 as a Siberian labor camp, Norilsk, a factory-fringed industrial city of 175,000, inhabits the Russian krai of Krasnoyarsk, supports large-scale mining and metallurgy. A city of endless concrete compounds, boxy soviet apartment blocks and countless pluming smoke-stacks, Norilsk harbours flashes of colour and life in unexpected places. Despite the toxic output of the mines, responsible for cancer, lung disease and the poisoning of vegetation, workers remain for the favourable pay, holidays and early retirement age of 45. Despite the arctic temperatures – One of the coldest cities in the world, Norilsk has an average yearly temperature of -10 degrees Celsius– locals take dips in ice holes, warming up in saunas heated by factory steam.
Norilsk is considered one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, with an estimated number of 134.000 people affected by the consequences of nickel and metal mining. Within 48 km of the nickel smelter there's not a single living tree.