World's northernmost big city is a brutal mosaic of color and pollution

Welcome to Norilsk, Russia. With 175,365 citizens, it's the northernmost big city in the world. The architecture is brutal, it's highly polluted, and it's freezing cold all year round. Yet its geometric and colorful shapes make it an oddly pleasing sight—at least as captured from the air by photographer Slava Stepanov.

Norilsk has polar days and polar nights. During the days the sun goes in circles but doesn't touch the horizon for 8 weeks, while during the 6 week of nights it is constantly dark.

The city gets brutally cold with temperatures falling below -40 degrees Fahrenheit in winter. It is situated in permafrost and there was snow even in June when these photos were taken.

Norilsk was founded to support one of the world's largest mining and metal production plants. There is extensive smog and acid rain and it is sometimes referred to as the dirtiest city in Russia. It was also the centre of Russia's infamous GULAG system.

Even the holiday homes are bright and cheerful—which is probably just as well or you might never find them.

Slava Stepanov is a photographer based in the Novosibirsk region of Russia.
You can follow him on LiveJournal, Instagram and Facebook.

His book is also available for purchase here.

This is part of a series in which we are featuring futuristic, alien-looking or just plain awesome images of landscapes, cityscapes, and objects. If you are a photographer with such work, please drop me a line here.

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