Norilsk winters are long and cold, with an average temperature of around -31°C in January. The result is many days of ice, coupled with violent winds. The cold period extends to around 280 days per year, with more than 130 days with snowstorms. It’s worth noting that actual temperatures are even colder when the effect of the wind is taken into account. For example, for a temperature lower than -40°C, a wind of 1 metre per second can make it feel like -42°C.
The lack of greenery during the 9 month winter, and green spaces during the summer, leads people to create green spaces in their apartments, constructing a natural microclimate which contradicts the severity of winter and offers a visual escape.
Norilsk is the world’s northernmost city, as well as its largest mining complex. A town of 175,000 people in the extreme North of Russia, situated above the Arctic Circle, it is a place of extreme conditions: with temperatures reaching -60 in a winter that lasts nine months, two months of which are spent entirely without sunlight, its inhabitants are living at the margins of survival. The city can only be accessed by plane – there are no roads leading towards or away from it. Elena Chernyshova travelled to this Arctic city, spending time photographing its inhabitants in order to discover the ways they have adapted to their circumstance’s harshness.