A waterway snakes its way through the frozen tundra below seen from an airplane. Norilsk, some 400 kms above the arctic circle, is not accessible by road or railway. It can only be accessed by waterways (when they're not frozen) and by air. People in Norilsk refer to the rest of the world as 'the continent'.
The city of Norilsk, in the far north of Russia's Krasnoyarsk region, was founded in the 1920s and today has a population of just over 175,000. In its early years it served as the centre of Norillag (or the Norilsk Corrective Labour Camp) but was given town status in 1953 as the Gulag system was slowly winding down. Today the city is largely dependent on MMC Norilsk Nickel, the world's leading producer of Nickel and palladium and Norilsk's main employer. In 2001, the city was closed to all non-Russians, except for citizens of Belarus.