Norilsk city, Russia (Norylsk)

The city of Krasnoyarsk krai.

Norilsk city overview

Norilsk (also spelled Norylsk) is a city located above the Arctic Circle in the north of Krasnoyarsk krai, in the southern part of Taymyr peninsula, about 90 km to the east of the Yenisei River.

It is one of the most polluted cities in the world. Norilsk has one of the largest in the world both mining and metal-producing group of enterprises. In the world there is no other city like Norilsk and its industrial district “Norilsk”.

Since November 2001, the cities Norilsk and Dudinka can be visited by foreigners (except citizens of Byelorussia) on government permission. Before this date foreigners could visit the city for 10 years (from 1991).

Norilsk has the population of about 176,000 (2012).

The phone code is +7 3919; the postal codes - 663300-663341.

Norilsk city flag

Norilsk city flag

Norilsk city coat of arms

Norilsk city coat of arms

Norilsk city map, Russia


Norilsk city history

People knew about natural deposits around present Norilsk as early as in Bronze Age: primitive equipment for fusion and casting as well as raw was found close to lake Pyasino.

In the 16th-17th centuries, copper from Norilsk deposits was used by inhabitants of Mangazeya - a town located above the Arctic Circle on the river Taz. This settlement in extreme north became a town in 1603. Mangazeya was a trade and handicraft center.

Its decline in the second half of the 17th century was linked with Russian Tsar Alexey Mikhailovich’s government order to prohibit seaways to Mangazeya. This precaution was caused by fear for Siberian boundaries, as the Northern seaway attracted West European countries (England, Holland) as the possible way to India. Seaway to Mangazeya was closed.

Norilsk city views

Norilsk city view

Norilsk city view

Author: Alexander Ananiyev

Norilsk view

Norilsk view

Author: Lemesheff

Norylsk city view

Norylsk city view

Author: Ozerov Vadim


Further research of Norilsk area was linked with N.N.Urvantsev expeditions in 1919-1926s which proved rich deposits of coal and metallic ores. In 1921, during N.N.Urvantsev expedition the first wooden house was built which is considered to be the first house in Norilsk (the house is preserved and now it is a museum “first house of Norilsk”).

In 1935, Gulag prisoners began constructing Norilsk plant. In 1942, the first nickel was produced. Till 1951, the settlement of Norilsk and industrial base of Norilsk plant were located at the northern foot of the mountain Shmitikha where Urvantsev built the first house; at present this is so-called “old” city, there are no inhabited houses there.

At the end of 1940s, the designing and, in 1951, the construction of a “new” city on the eastern bank of the lake Dolgy began. It was fulfilled by Gulag prisoners too (Norillag). In 1953, it turned into the city. Memorials are erected in the city in memory of “prison” period in Norilsk history.

Norilsk city streets

Norilsk city street view

Norilsk city street view

Author: Alexander Ananiyev

Norilsk city street

Norilsk city street

Author: Viktor Biryuk

Norylsk street view

Norylsk street view

Author: Viktor Biryuk


Norilsk city features

Norilsk was named after the place of its location: the river Norilskaya (Norilka) flows not far from the city, the city itself is located at the foot of Norilsk mountains.

The climate of the area is of sub-arctic type with long and cold winters and short summers. July and August are the warmest months in the year. The average temperature within a year is 11 degrees Celsius below zero, average temperature in January is 36 degrees Celsius below zero, average temperature in July is 13,6 degrees Celsius above zero.

Representatives of indigenous peoples - Nenets, Ents, Nganasans and Dolgans do not live in the city. At present almost the whole population of Norilsk consists of people who moved to the city in the second half of the 20th century and their ancestors and also the ancestors of prisoners who were granted amnesty in 1953.

As the city is located on Taymyr peninsula the rest part of Russia is usually called the “continent”, the phrase “to move to the continent” is popular there. There are no land ways to other cities of the Russian Federation (except the city of Dudinka).

Transportation by air is carried out through airport “Alykel”.

Norilsk city sceneries

Norilsk city scenery

Norilsk city scenery

Author: Lemesheff

Norylsk street

Norylsk street

Author: Viktor Biryuk

Norylsk city scenery

Norylsk city scenery

Author: Alexander Ananiyev


Tourism in mountains, on rivers and in tundra is popular among citizens. Due to numerous mountains and long winters skiing and mountain skiing are popular as well as snowboarding.

Like in other cities which came into being due to metallurgic industry, local population widely celebrates Metallurgist Day. Indigenous northern peoples (Nenets, Dolgans) celebrate the holiday of Kheyro - return of the Sun after long polar night.

Architecture in Norilsk is influenced by 2 factors: first, specific construction of buildings on permafrost and second, by house planning on a much scale at that time. A lot of buildings remind the ones in Saint Petersburg in their stylistics. This fact is caused by a lot of architects who were exiled from Saint Petersburg to Norilsk.

Zapolyarny branch of metallurgical company “Norilsky nickel” is the main plant in the city and the large center of non-ferrous metallurgy. The list of metals mined there is as follows: copper, nickel, cobalt, palladium, platinum, gold, silver, iridium, rhodium and ruthenium. Along with these metals such products are produced: technical sulphur, metallic selenium and tellurium, sulphuric acid.

Norilsky group of enterprises produces 35% of all the palladium in the world, 25% of platinum, 20% of nickel, 20% of rhodium, 10% of cobalt. In Russia, Norilsky group of enterprises produces 96% of nickel, 95% of cobalt, 55% of copper.

Norilsk city of Russia photos

Norilsk city places

Norilsk airport view

Norilsk airport view

Author: Viktor Biryuk

Norilsk theater

Norilsk theater

Author: Lemesheff

Norilsk mosque

Norilsk mosque

Author: Vladimir Maltsev


Sponsored Links: