KEEP OUT! This means you. You find your way to this remote place called Dudinka in frozen northern Siberia but it’s “closed” today. In fact, it’s “closed” everyday. You can’t go there! Even if you’re Russian.
Why is Dudinka?
Why would anyone travel down the Yenisei from the Kara Sea to find this grim port? Mostly nickel. Maybe the biggest source in the world. Like the lure of gold to the Spaniard, nickel drew the Russian. How they got the nickel out of the ground is a sad story. More about that in the history of the Norilsk Mining Company if you have heart to read it.
Who Lives There?
Over 20,000 people keep this port going. This place was not even on the older maps of Russia. It did not officially exist. Now it has popped up on maps. It wasn’t a secret to those who lived there but it was to everyone else.
Not much is known even now and you probably won’t find out much more. It remains closed to outsiders. We do know a few things…
This information is harder to find than hens’ teeth. It was founded in 1667 as a winter settlement, and was granted town status in 1951. That’s it! Something must have happened in between but it isn’t written anywhere you can find. Basically, the stuff they mined in Norilsk was shipped from here.
Railroad of Death
An attempt was made to build a railroad south of here on the edge of the Arctic Circle that may have increased access by land. This was never completed and more information can be found on this link.
This church may be the best of Dudinka. As you can see, it is not an inviting city. It is more of a stay away city. The guys on the big ships probably don’t stay long. The inhabitants don’t travel much. The city is wrapped in mystery. From the face of this statue, we can guess that life here is rough at best. There isn’t even a statue of Lenin. He probably never even heard of it.
Near Dudinka, there is a tall radio mast over 1500 feet high which was formerly used for the CHAYKA radio navigation system. It is a grounded mast with a rhombic cage antenna. “Rhombic” means “shaped like a rhomb”. Pretty exciting stuff, huh?
Did Anyone Famous Come From There?
That depends on if you have heard of the poet, Olga Martynova. I haven’t. She was born there. She left and hasn’t been back. She got the Hubert-Burda-Preis für junge Lyrik award. Still doesn’t ring a bell, huh? The statue is not her. It is called “Nenets girl waiting for her Russian husband”.
Should I Go There?
The short answer is “NO”. But maybe you can. Not by air or ground travel, but you might be able to sneak in by boat. There is a ferry from Krasnoyarsk run by PassazhirRechTrans, a shipping company, that has a few trips each summer. Now, remember that the summer is short so there’s not a big time window. The journey along the mighty Yensei river takes three days (and nights). The scenery along the way is spectacular. This is good because you still might not get in to Dudinka, but at least you tried.
In 1969, the Messoyakha-Dudinka-Norilsk natural gas pipeline was laid. And sometimes it’s so cold there that spit freezes before it hits the ground. Now that’s cold.