19.10.2022// Norilsk is a centre of federal industry, a point of intensive development in the Krasnoyarsk Territory and Taymyr in particular, a city filled with stories of labour exploits... Few people think that this conglomerate of giant industries can be of interest to tourists, and in vain. Norilsk itself is an amazing piece of architecture, built in an environment where even 100 years ago no civilisation could have been conceived. There is more to see in the surrounding area—nature, monuments from the difficult path of exploration in the north and, of course, places for active recreation.
A 30-minute drive down the road from Norilsk to the airport, a look to the right reveals the structures of the abandoned settlement of Alykel, named after the nearby lake. Before the Perestroika, the settlement housed military pilots, and there was a base of military construction workers next to it. On top of residential buildings, it had an Officers' House, the headquarters with barracks and commandant's office, hangars for equipment, a clubhouse, a boiler house, a bathhouse, a school, warehouses, and a parade ground. Upon disbanding of the unit, the inhabitants left. In 2015, a tactical military exercise involving the Arctic brigade of the Northern Fleet, special forces units of the Airborne Troops, the Central Military District, and Special Operations Forces was held in the settlement, still owned by the Russian Ministry of Defence.
Before your visit to Norilsk, you should prepare and buy warm clothes. Norilsk has an extremely harsh subarctic climate, making it one of the coldest cities in the world. The average temperature in January is around –44°C. On top of the frosty weather, strong winds are frequent. Cold spells last for about 280 days a year, including over 130 days with snowstorms. Winter as a climatic season lasts here from the second decade of September into the first decade of May; summer, in turn, lasts from late June to late August, but even then, it is rather cool (+10.7°C) and often overcast. The average annual temperature in Norilsk is –16.4°C. The polar day in Norilsk lasts from 20 May to 24 July, while the polar night lasts from 30 November to 13 January.
Seven kilometres from Norilsk down the road to Talnakh, just past the Oganer district, at 24 Valkovskoye Highway, there is a ski base called Ol-Gul. The picturesque hilly terrain in the valley of Lake Ol-Gul is well-sheltered from the strong winds.
A capital building houses changing rooms, a cloakroom, a ski storage room, a gym, and a ski and ice-sledge rental service. The resort has pistes of varying lengths, suitable for beginners and advanced skiers alike.
Ol-Gul is an equally great place for winter and also for summer holidays; it boasts great hiking trails and a beach area, as well as rental services where one can get roller skates, skateboards, bicycles, as well as badminton and ping-pong equipment. The base hosts various sporting events, including the Lyzhnya Rossii nationwide event and corporate ski races for Norilsk Nickel employees.
A crossing at km 114 of the Dudinka-Talnakh railway is a signal that you will soon see the district of Talnakh. The Krasnye Kamni (Russian for Red Rocks) waterfall and gorge, a favourite place for local tourists and rock climbers, are within walking distance of Talnakh.
The waterfall is located on the Kharaelakh north-western spur of the Putorana plateau. The maximum height of the spur is 851.6 metres above sea level (Mount Yelovaya); the elevation is at 500-600 metres near the Krasnye Kamni waterfall. Redhued basalts seen here are common across the entire Putorana Plateau. They owe their colour to the considerable iron content; when oxidised, iron turns the mountains red. The waterfall tumbles down the mountains in several cascades, two of which are about 10 metres high, and ends up in a small, nine-metre-deep lake with crystal-clear, icy water. Connoisseurs and amateur lovers of palaeontology can find remains of ancient petrified trees in the outcrops by the lake shores in the form of anthraconite (black calcite), up to 40 cm in diameter and up to one metre in height.
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