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History of Apatity town

If you are going to make a trip to land behind the Polar Circle you will certainly find Apatity in the middle of peninsula between the famous Khibiny and clear as crystal Imandra lake. The town is located on the left side of the Belaya river and on the right side of Imandra lake. Before the town was assigned its official status by the resolution of the Presidium of Supreme Soviet of RSFSR on 7.07.1966, there were many landmark events in the life of the urban settlement. So, in 1915, as explained by local historian V.K. Alymov it was decided to construct Murmansk railway, popularly known as «Murmanka», oriented to the north. After five years local council «Ekostrovsky» started its activities that had been working till 1956 up to decision to include the settlement to Apatity-Kirovsk suburban area.

Apatity town

On 29 August 1920 geological expedition under the leadership of academician Aleksander Fersman set foot on the territory of the modern Apatity town. In less than a year experimental agricultural station had been organized, later known as POSVIR - Polar Experimental Station of All-union Plant Research Institute. Professor Nikolay Ivanovich Prokhorov took the lead of it.

Since then the vast territory of Karelian-Murmansk land became actively inhabited, especially due to the so named land settlement project accepted on 1st October 1923. After one year the pioneers came. It is then when the meteorological station appeared in the «Khibiny» station and hydrometeorological station had been located in Imandra lake in 1978. The first apatite ore was delivered to «Bely» passing point on 31 October 1926.

10 September 1927 is a landmark in the history of Murmansk province. Just then it was included in Leningrad region. After a couple of years the specialists of All-union Research Institute of Fertilizers started intense exploration company.

In 1930 «Bely» passing point that was intended to join Khibinogorsk and main railway has been renamed into «Apatity». Since then active housing development of the surroundings started. Then, on 23 October 1930 it was decided to launch construction of «Industriya» state farm. After a year here it was established the first medical and obstetrical station. Official status of the workers settlement was given to Apatity by resolution of the Presidium of All-Russian Central Executive Committee on 20 August 1935.

Geographic Dictionary of the Kola peninsula published in 1938 describes Apatity as a station of Kirovsk railway road which is located in 185 km from Murmansk. The Geographic coordinates shown as (67° 30'; 33° 20') and year of foundation is 1930.From this station 25 km branch railway goes to Kirovsk. Near the station there is a same-name settlement. During 1926 its population was 7 persons, in 1938 it was 1360. There was a hospital, elementary school, post office, telegraph and telephone connection.

The other side of the history of Apatity is prison camps existing at the end of 1930. Female prison camp was located where the poultry house of «Industriya» state farm situated. Another one was located where Apatity prison is now found. One more prison camp can be found in the area of todays’ Gaidar street and Stroitelei street. Last barracks were demolished at the beginning of 1970.

Electrification of a railway part from Kandalaksha to Kirovsk with Apatity in the middle was completed only in 1939.


Constant development of «Apatit» enterprise made necessary search of the new unoccupied territory, waste storage sites and water sources. Existing at that time settlements of Kukisvumchorr and Kirovsk didn’t meet the requirements, therefore, new development and construction of multi-function complex in the area of Apatity station was decided to start.

There was a time when «Apatit» enterprise belonged to Ministry of Internal Affairs. At that time here was established direction of labour camps. Later in 1951 it was direction «Belrechlag». Its chief - Vladimir Poltava - later was appointed the Director of «ApatitStroi» trust, organized on 1 September 1953.

Project of Apatity town development was presented by Leningrad Institute of Urban planning in 1952. It was unique as it was a first open-plan development over the history of Kola peninsula.

To the end of the year the layout was made and the first foundation was laid. According to the calculations of the project developer the town should give a home to 30 thousand inhabitants for living in three- storey buildings. For today there are still two houses remained and can be found in the yard between Kosmonavtov, Lenin and Festivalnaya streets.

Strange it may seem, Vladimir Zverkov was in chief of Apatity town planning, engineer from Leningrad, prisoner and settler.

Then town development was suspended for a time. It happened at the end of 1953 due to the reason of prisoners rehabilitation and disestablishment of existing prisoners camp «Belrechlag». As a result, there was a mass departure of former prisoners.

1954 is the year of changes in the structure of «ApatitStroi» trust, employment of subcontractors and increase of capacity of mining and processing enterprise.

The results of the first year of trust activity were the following: construction of ANOF-I building units of coarse and fine crushing for apatite concentrate production was almost completed, residential area of 13 300 square meters had been built, two schools for 640 pupils, two vegetable stores were ready for use. Since the mid of 1954 the town development was restarted. The new houses proceeded to appear, boiler facility was constructed to provide for activities of Academic town attaining its full strength.

Apatity hotel Amethyst

In 1957 two houses №12 and №8 located in Lenin street were populated. Establishing of «SpetsStroi» Department of finishing and roofing works in 1958 was a very important event for Apatity. After this the town was intensely developed and constructed. The mining and processing enterprise was paid attention. In 1959 «Mekhanobr» and «Giproruda» institutes have developed special project for improvement and development of operating «Apatit» enterprise. At the same time it was decided to construct ANOF-II - new apatite-nepheline concentration plant.

It was already in 1961 when increasing volumes of works demanded development of prefabrication construction and establishing of «RudStroi» Building &Construction Department. in 1963 about 2500 specialists worked at start-up and commissioning. 23 July 1963 is the date of putting into operation of ANOF-II.

The new town grew by leaps and bounds. Sozialisticheskaya street was in focus of construction works at that time. It was planned to build day nursery for 250 children, day care for 200 children, school for 880 pupils, hospital for 110 places and polyclinics for 200 persons per day. These were the first urban facilities planned for Apatity town.

General meeting made resolution on prefabricated large-panel housing construction. One of these houses was build in Kosmonavtov street in 1963. It is interesting that Apatity has «self-explanatory» names of the streets. So, Zhemchuzhnaya street was named after Zhemchuzhnaya river passing nearby.

In spring 1951 Finnish houses were built in «Pioneer» field of existing at that time «Industriya» state farm. No wonder that street where these houses are located is called Pionerskaya. In 1970 it was renamed into street named after Nikolay Gladyshev - the first director of the state farm.

Geologist-pioneers were paid attention. Geologists square which construction started in 1974 was called in tribute to geologists. The name of Anatoly Zinov'yev, the leader of integrated expedition, was given to the street that comes out to that square.

The second world war also left its mark in the history of Apatity. Based on decision of Executive Committee of Apatity town council on 24 April 1979 and in celebration of 35-year anniversary of Defeat of the Nazi troops in Zapolyar'ye the Vostochny driveway was renamed into Pobedy street. in 1964 in order to celebrate 20-year Defeat of the Nazi troops in Zapolyar'ye the street was established of Anatoly Bredov - the Hero of the USSR.

The cultural life of the town became active since 1965 when the construction of the cinema hall and a Palace of culture were started.

Dynamic construction of Academic town falls on the end of 50s of XX century. The first dwelling for scientists being a research laboratory at the same time was located in the green area of the Geological Institute and represented two-storey cottages. It should be noted that Apatity is one of the green landscaped towns of Murmansk region since its establishing.

Apatity known as a «New town» before it got its official status of administrative unit has many sightseeings. At the beginning of 20s of XX century it was a «central base» for all zoologists, mineralogists, hydrologists and chemists that have been working here in the Kola Branch of USSR Academy of Sciences established in 1961.

To the beginning of 1990s the general development plan of town was outdated. The boundaries of the town were significantly extended. Sport and fitness complex was built partially, cultural and trade center was not completed, housing development of Geologists square was abandoned.

Apatity is a geographic center of the Kola peninsula, crossroads of the land and air ways. Where you go to the southern seas or unfrozen port of Murmansk the federal highway M18, railway road and airport «Khibiny» are at your service. The distance between Murmansk and Apatity is 185 kilometers, between Apatity and Saint Petersburg is 1262 kilometers, to Finnish Rovaniemi is 400 kilometers.

Apatity ANOF-II

For today the history of Apatity crossed 100 years line. The history is under constant observation and study, found artifacts are passed to Local history museum that started its activity in 1998. All exhibits of the museum are belongings of popular «ApatitStroi» trust museum. There are materials about its staff and all that one way or another connected with the construction of enterprises, plants, mines as the town itself. At present plan-project of exhibition halls is under active development. It is fascinating the local history and nature department includes seven divisions that cover history of the region for over 1000 years.

At the moment Apatity is the second largest town of Murmansk region of 58 thousand of inhabitants.

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