Tiksi-3: a military town above the Arctic Circle

In this post we’ll take a tour of the military settlement of Tiksi-3, go inside derelict apartments and buildings and take a look at the interiors.

For reference:

The town of Tiksi was founded as one of the stops along the Northern sea route in 1933. The town is located above the Arctic Circle. The climate is harsh, typical of the Arctic region. The lowest temperature ever recorded in Tiksi was -50.5 degrees Celcius (approx. -60 degrees Fahrenheit).

We’ll get to the place pictured in the title photo only towards the end of the post. At first we found ourselves in this street.

The first thing to catch our attention was this unfinished construction site of an apartment building. Apparently, it has been stalled and will probably never be resumed.

These houses, however, were once inhabited, but it appears that they have been abandoned for quite a while.

And here are the remains of a burnt down wooden barrack. That’s what the first buildings in town probably looked like.

A trait very characteristic of settlements built on permafrost — communications are laid inside ducts above the ground. There are steps to get across them.

A shop. Take a look at this creatively designed flower bed made of a truck tire.

Then we decide to look inside one of the abandoned buildings.

Entering the staircase.

All the doors are torn down.

Looking inside the apartments…

Remains of an unsophisticated lifestyle.

The windows here look out on a relatively lively part of the settlement and a space that used to be built-up with wooden barracks.

Another window — just the tundra and the sea.

We leave these houses and head towards the newer part of the settlement.

I think it’s clear whose profile used to be pictured on this stele. It was erected in honor of the centenary of Lenin’s birth.

But it was the pilots who were treated as real heroes here.

The part of the settlement with bearing-wall apartment blocks looks inhabited.

And yes, it is actually possible to see some people here. At first we were afraid that our presence will make someone ask questions, but it turned out that nobody really cared.

At that time the long-range air force base had been disbanded and only three or four residential buildings were inhabited in the whole town.

There is a post with signs showing distance and direction to various cities in the square in front of the buildings.

Meanwhile, we are approaching the air force base headquarters.

This is the northernmost long-range air force airfield. This monument is located next to the headquarters building.

We decided not to flash our cameras near the apparently still functioning headquarters and headed to a group of residential buildings.

We entered one of the staircases and were absolutely amazed.

These buildings were abandoned as well!

And, what is more, people left them not a very long time ago. We came across a few glass jars full of water, still intact.

Which means that last winter somebody was still living here and the building was abandoned only this summer (otherwise the glass would have cracked in the freezing cold).

The rooms have that smell characteristic of inhabited spaces.

Some of the rooms were obviously recently renovated. People tried to maintain comfort in their homes until the last moment.

The residents left a lot of things behind when they when moving. Furniture, books and bulky items are too expensive to bring to the mainland, and they are not all that essential.

Little by little the contents of the apartments are looted – the radiators and the wires are being cut off…
But in some places you can still see electric cookers.

This apartment was the one we lingered in.
Despite the mess and the rubbish you could feel that an educated and tidy person used to live here.
There are neat stacks of Science and Life magazines on the desk and in the bookcase.

Look at this minimalist but in some way beautiful wooden bookshelf.

There are books scattered on the floor.

One of the rooms really surprised us.
The walls were covered in bright wallpaper and there was a beautiful niche carved in one of them.

A mural with a great view above the bed.

Who was it that lived here?

Diplomas left on the desk make that clear. The woman’s name was Natalia Leonidovna Grinberg, she was a primary school teacher.

Natalia Leonidovna started working at the local school in 2008.

We walked into her derelict apartment in fall 2013.

Among the abandoned buildings near the empty playground the gilded dome of a brand new church is glittering.

On a side of one of the buildings the year of construction is written.

Close to this place there are some storage facilities and an industrial area, where there are still signs of life.
We decided not to go there with the cameras – this is still a military object.

Finally, we reached the edge of the town.
Only these buildings are still inhabited in this neighborhood.

The last glance at Tiksi-3.

In the winter of the same year the heating ‘all of a sudden’ went off in the buildings that were still inhabited and there were reports of a ‘manmade disaster in the polar region’ on the TV news.

But it is worth mentioning that about a year ago the decision was made to revive the air force base in Tiksi. So, there is a chance that life will return to these places.

Images by Buzzer

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