Kirovsk is a typical “resort town,” with the only difference being that it comes to life not in the summer, but in the winter. It houses the highest mountain range Khibiny – Kukisvumchorr, whose slopes from October to May are active with a ski resort. However, Kirovsk has more to offer than just natural attractions; let’s delve into the most interesting abandonment beyond the Arctic Circle.
History of the Station
Construction of the railway station, in the style of Stalinist Empire, commenced in Kirovsk (then Khibinogorsk) in 1934. The architect was Nikolay Miturich, who designed several buildings in Murmansk and Leningrad. The grand opening took place in 1939: a table set for 500 people and a jazz orchestra brought in from Leningrad. The first train ran to the neighboring town of Apatity.
From 1940 to the 1980s, mostly local students and dacha owners used the station; flour for a bread factory was also transported on this railway line.
Being huge and expensive to operate, the station did not survive the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 1996, the last electric train passed through, and from that moment on, the route was abandoned. A few months later, a fire broke out in the station building, which since then has not been restored and is slowly falling apart.
The scale of the station is astounding: huge columns, dentils (square elements on the cornice), arches, reliefs, spacious halls with high ceilings – in short, all the charms of neoclassical architecture. The main hall once housed a reproduction of Aivazovsky’s “The Ninth Wave”, and the building contained a restaurant, a dumpling diner, and a hotel on the second floor.
All this splendor, whether preserved till today or residing in the memories of the old-timers, creates a dissonance also because the station did not perform any important function justifying the resources invested in it. Throughout its operating years, only three trains ran on this route – an electric train to neighboring Apatity, an electric train to Kandalaksha, and a carriage from Kirovsk to Moscow. Rumors suggest that in the 1930s, there was an idea to carve a tunnel through the rocks to connect Kirovsk with Murmansk, but such a project seems too costly even for Stalinist times.
The abandonment now makes a powerful impression: walls overgrown with moss and small trees, a lawn in the middle of the main hall, remnants of staircases leading to already destroyed upper floors. The walls feature graffiti by local artists, the interior finish is completely lost. The most beautiful and huge graffiti – on the facade facing the mountains – depicts ancient sculptures. From the side of Lake Bolshoi Vudyavr, a leading-nowhere railway adjoins the station, which has also become overgrown with tundra moss.
When to go? It’s better in summer: it’s written that in winter, it’s hard to approach the station due to massive snowdrifts.
How to get there? Train from Murmansk to Apatity (17 trains per day, travel time 3-4 hours), from there on local bus 102 (travel time around 50 minutes) or taxi (travel time around 25 minutes).