Norilsk, Siberia

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Inside the northernmost city on Earth whose residents endure - 55C temperatures and two months of total darkness every yearIn Norilsk, Siberia, which is situated 250 miles north of the Arctic Circle, the average annual temperature is -10C.

The cold period extends for about 280 days per year, with more than 130 days featuring snowstorms.

The extreme weather conditions result in anxiety, nervousness, drowsiness and depression for many residents.

Due to its location, Norilsk might appear even more isolated than other arctic cities, without ground connections with the rest of the world.

Locals (pictured) enjoy a rare day of sunshine but have few beauty spots to sunbathe in.

The cold period in the city extends for about 280 days per year, with more than 130 days with snowstorms and the average annual temperature is -10C, reaching lows of -55C in winter.

For two months of the year, the city is plunged into polar night, where 24 hours a day are in darkness and in the summer they have 24 hours of light.

The polar days and nights cycle has a strong influence on the physical and psychological conditions of the human body.

The Norilsks citizens suffer the polar night syndrome, resulting in anxiety, nervousness, drowsiness or insomnia, depending of the seasons, while the psychological discomfort generates many cases of depression.

The work conditions for miners are hard. The compensation for the risks is represented by the long duration of official holidays, 90 days, and the early retirement at 45 years old.

In the winter, children are allowed for a walk outside only under certain conditions. Sometimes children have to spend several months indoors. Many buildings have been gradually abandoned (left).

People domesticate industrial zones for their leisure and recreation. A man soaks up some rare rays of sunshine (above).

During snowstorms the public transport is organized in processions. The column of 15-20 buses transport workers between the city and places of work. If one bus breaks down, the passengers can be evacuated to another bus.

The fall of the USSR disrupted the flow of funds to the city and construction of several buildings were frozen. These buildings have remained unfinished.

A coat of snow covers the city during eight to nine months a year andsnowdrifts can reach three meters in height.

The rise of Norilsk started at the beginning of the 20th century, when rich deposits of nickel, copper and cobalt were found.

One of the Norilsk particularities is the lack of green spaces in the city where one can escape.

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Norilsk became the main centre of the company Norilsk Nickel, the world leader in production of nickel and palladium, with 17% and 41% of the world production respectively.

The pollution caused by the mining and factories brings Norilsk in the top-10 list of the world most polluted cities.

Every year, more than 2 million tons of gas (mainly dioxide sulfur, but also nitrogen oxides, carbon and phenols) are expelled into the atmosphere.

This huge pollution has a strong influence on the peoples health. Life expectancy is 10 years less than in other regions of Russia, the risk of cancer is two time higher and respiratory diseases are widespread.

The city-factory has only one reason to exist: maintaining the biggest metallurgical and mines complex in the world.

The factories and the mines work 24 /7. The working days follow the pattern: three days of work and one day of rest.

The isolation of Norilsk makes the city fold in on itself: the social and cultural activities are reduced and are often lead by personal initiative.

Some older buildings are constructed in the style of Stalin architecture.

Some large closed spaces are designed for the children, so that they can enjoy outdoor activities like cycling, running... even during the winter.

Life expectancy is ten years lesser than the average in Russia, while life expectancy in Russia is already low enough, about 60 years.

Some studies show that the air quality is responsible for 37 per cent of deaths of child deaths and 21.6 per cent of adult deaths.

Due to the adverse weather conditions, people spend most of their time in enclosed spaces at their work, individual apartments or local sport, cultural and shopping centers.

Norilsk is facing, despite its prosperity, big problem of maintenance of its buildings.

Mentally, it is hard to manage the winter condition. It is even more difficult to break the daily rhythm of home-work-home.