Although Russians had known about the Vorkuta river since the second half of the 18th century, settlements on its banks were not built until the 1930s.

Первые дома в поселке Рудник.jpgThe emergence of settlements was connected with the exploration of the Pechora Coal Field, whose boundaries and reserves had been surveyed by 1932. The same year witnessed the construction of the first pilot mine on the right bank of the river. Two years later, coal production started, mainly using the labor of prisoners. The community of "miners" was named Rudnik.

Первое здание комбината Воркутауголь 1943 г.jpgSince the town of Vorkuta lives on coal production, its layout consists of a center surrounded by a ring of mining communities connected by a 60-km highway (something like Moscow's Outer Ring Road). Tourists are usually more interested in the center, where the Stalin imperial style and typical standard buildings of the "stagnation period" are mixed in one ensemble.In 1937, a new group of prisoners began to build a second community (later to become the town of Vorkuta) on the left bank of the Vorkuta. Simultaneously, they were building a mine which was later named Kapitalnaya. In 1940, this area was given the status of a workers' community. Early 1941 saw the beginning of construction of the town's first real streets: Komsomolskaya, Shakhtnaya and Gornyakov. The same year witnessed the beginning of operation of the Northern Pechora Railway, which linked Vorkuta with the Russian "mainland". The town of Vorkuta was chartered on November 26, 1943, on the basis of several existing communities. The further history of the town is associated with the development of the coal industry: the opening of new mines and concentrating mills, and the construction of plants for wood-processing, brick, ferro-concrete items, machinery, lime, etc.

Сверхплановый эшелон угля городу фронту Ленинграду от горняков заполярной Воркуты.jpg

Komsomolskaya Street and Square are the center of the old town. They were built up with wooden buildings, whose sections were transported from Ust-Usa in the 1940s. The unique architecture is reminiscent of the architecture of stone buildings on the mainland. The town's oldest streets - Pushkin, Shakhtnaya, Gornyakov, Pobeda and Teatralny - adjoin Komsomolskaya Square and Street. Parallel to Shakhtnaya Street is Pobeda Bulvar (Victory Boulevard), which was named in honor of the WW II victory over the fascists. The project was developed by local architects under the direction of V.N. Lunev. The boulevard had an outdoor dance area, bandstand, children's playground, a cafe and a small reading room. Zapolyarnaya Street was renamed Pushkin Street in honor of the Poet's 150th birthday in 1949. The first school for 25 students was opened there in 1938. Gornyakov Street is interesting in that its buildings are made of local bricks. One of them was restored for the needs of the local Orthodox community.

Kirov Square (formerly Moskovskaya Square) and Moskovskaya Street were pilot projects in terms of architecture and layout. The square appeared on the site of a huge ravine. The following buildings are of interest: the former offices of the Vorkutaugol Plant (architect G. P. Rubina, 1956), a children's hospital (architect V.N. Lunev, 1950), and the Rodina cinema (1953). The first hall for wide-screen films was opened in the cinema in 1958-1959. Later it housed a puppet theater. Lenlngradskaya Street begins at Kirov Square. A parallel street is Parkovaya, located in the area of a park named in honor of the 40th anniversary of Komi Komsomol. The designer of the park project was the architect B. A. Ershov. The park includes a natural tundra lake.

Lenin Street - the first street in Vorkuta - begins at Metallistov Square and was built gradually. The first section is from Metallistov Square to Mira Square (1942-1953). Two-storied wooden buildings were placed there. Two large buildings with unique architecture (attached columns, modeling, and bay windows, 1950) adjoin Mira Square. The second section - to Yubileinaya Square - is a commercial and community center. The buildings are characterized by monumentality, with lower floors occupied by shops. Also here are the regional museum and a municipal swimming pool. The third section - to the Timan micro-district - is built up with tall buildings. The building of the Youth Palace (architects A.D. Vushinsky, O.E. Balkhonov and M.Y. Fokin) attracts special attention. The facade is decorated with a terrazlte coating. The interior features paintings, painted wood panels, bas-reliefs, and stained-glass windows made by the masters of the Center of Art and Design, part of the USSR Moscow Art Foundation.

Старый Рудник 1960-е гг.jpg

Old Rudnik. 1960

Mira Square is Vorkuta's pride and joy. Its architectural ensemble was designed by the architects L.E. Raikln, N.V. Savchin and G.V. Gontskevich under the direction of V.N. Lunev. The Palace of Culture for Miners and Builders (1959) is its centerpiece. The palace is decorated with the sculptures "Motherland", "Miner" and "Geologist" (by the sculptor I. D. Persrudchev).
Mira Street, adjoining Mira Square, flows Into Sportivnaya Square, whose center has a stele in honor of the 25th anniversary of Vorkuta (the architect A. D, Kolonder, the artists G.V. Beailko and V. Yatsenko, 1970). The municipal stadium is located below this area. Yubileinaya Square was named in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic - is a scientific complex. It is surrounded by the buildings of Vorkuta Mining College (1956), a branch of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute (1959), the Pechora Research Project Institute, and the Political Education Center (which has housed a drama theater since 1990). The central square was conceived as the town's administrative and social center. The headquarters of the Vorkutaugol Company and the PShS Plant, the Vorkuta Hotel, the town exhibition center, the Polyarnouralgeologia Production Association and the musical college are all located here In multi-storied buildings. In 1990, the Olymp was opened. It is the republic's only universal sports complex. The central square is adjoined by streets named in honor of famous people: V.K. Yanovsky (geocryologist, Doctor of Geological and Mineralogical Sciences), V.l. Donchuk (polar pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union), A.A. Chernov (geologist, and one of the discoverers of the Pechora Coal Field).

Шахта Капитальная 1960-е гг.jpg

Mine "Kapitalnaja". 1960.

Among Vorkuta monuments one should note the Lenin Monument (sculptor M. Maniser), the monument to A. Chernov (sculptor I. Pylaev), the obelisk immortalizing the opening of the Vorkuta Coal Field, the monument to S. Kirov (sculptor M. Menizer) - a gift from Leningrad to the workers of polar Vorkuta. The gift is also Interesting due to its historical relevance: during World War II, when the Don Coal Field was an occupied territory, the entire industrial and heating energy for the northwest of the USSR and the blockaded Leningrad were provided with coal from the mines of Vorkuta.


Жеребцов И. Л. Где ты живешь : населенные пункты Республики Коми : ист.-демограф. справочник. – Сыктывкар, 1994. – С. 48-49.

Терр. Орган Фед. Службы гос. статистики по Республике Коми Демографический ежегодник Республики Коми: стат. сборник 2010. - Сыктывкар, 2010. - С.12.