A man wheels a bag on a trolley out of a lift in a residential apartment block in Norilsk. Many entrance halls of these blocks are decorated with brightly coloured images of summer scenes and tropical vegetation since there is so little of this in evidence in the city, one of the world's coldest with a long winter and average winter temperatures around -30C.
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.