Norilsk (Russian: Нори́льск nah-REEL'SK) is a large city in Taymyria. Because of its strategic importance, Norilsk is a closed city and special permission is needed for travel (which will likely be denied unless you have a really good reason). Norilsk is the second largest city above the Arctic Circle, Murmansk is the first.

Get in

The only reasonable way of reaching Norilsk is by plane as there are no all-weather roads connecting the city with the rest of Russia. Alykel Airport (IATA: NSK) is situated 35 kilometers west of town. Direct flights are available from Krasnoyarsk, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Yekaterinburg amongst others.

Opportunities to arrive in Norilsk by other means then a plane are few. There are buses from the nearby port-city of Dudinka and from Talnakh. However, the passenger train linking all three cities is gone, nowadays the world's northernmost railroad only serves freight trains.

Get around

Norilsk operates a pretty decent network of bus communication owing to climatic reasons (most time of the year it is very cold and all the infrastructure including transport was designed so that everything is within easy reach). Also you can hail a taxi which is really cheap, even cheaper than buses if you are a group of people, and you can be sure that every car that you call on the telephone or hail on the street is legal with no unexpected prices.


First house in Norilsk, now part of the local history museum.

The city centre hosts several grand buildings in Stalinist style, often mimicking ones found in Saint Petersburg. Otherwise Norilsk mostly consists of drab commieblocks. Surrounding the city are vast areas of decaying industrial sites which are both depressing and fascinating at the same time.






Stay safe

Barren landscape near Norilsk

If you do get permission to go to Norilsk, be aware that it is considered one of the 10 most-polluted cities on Earth, and that a substantial stay could jeopardize your health.

Go next

See the Get in section. Norilsk being a closed city, you may not be able to move around in the surroundings as you please.

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