Oceanarium, among Russia’s largest, opened in Northern Urals

The oceanarium will become home to almost 2,300 unusual fish.

The oceanarium will become home to almost 2,300 unusual fish.

Department of Community and External Relations of Yugra.
Residents of and visitors to Kogalym will be able to see more than 2,000 fish and stroll along the 60-metre tunnel under the water column in the new oceanarium.

The average annual temperature in Kogalym (2200 km north-east of Moscow) is only -2.5 C. An entire building with strange sea creatures appears all the more surprising in these harsh conditions. One of the largest oceanariums in Russia, called "Galaxy," opened in Kogalym on September 16.

The tunnel here, which allows you to take a stroll along the seabed and observe the life of inhabitants in the ocean depths, is one of the longest in Europe, over 60 metres long.

The oceanarium will become home to almost 2,300 unusual fish, imported from New Zealand, Indonesia, the Netherlands. These include 18 sharks and 17 stingrays as well as octopuses, crocodiles and giant moray eels. The 29 oceanariums that contain over 3.5 million litres of water will be their new home.

The fish will recover from stress

The main inhabitants of the underwater world have arrived in Kogalym. Some of them are still quarantined. Some families of fish were stressed during the long trip and are now being treated by experts. As soon as their health improves, they will be released into the pool.

Those who built the Oceanarium are sure that the marine visitors, no matter how capricious they may be, will feel at home.

“Keeping such a pool by the ocean is a lot easier than by the river [Kogalym is located between two rivers]. There are plenty of powerful pumps and a small supply of liquid. Here is where they have to salt the water. It has to be settled and pre-ionized,” said Vladimir Lagunov, director of the oceanarium. He said 125 tons of salt were required to fill all the pools. “Now we have obtained the same concentration as that in the seas and oceans.”

Not only an oceanarium

The Oceanarium, the draft design of which was developed by New Zealand architects, began to be built in Kogalym in 2014. The construction of this unique resource in the region cost more than six billion rubles (over $92 million), of which two thirds was assumed by the "Lukoil" oil company, and the rest personally borne ‘Lukoil’ head Vagit Alekperov, and the regional social programme fund “Our future,” established by him.

In addition to the oceanarium, there is a water park under the roof of "Galaxy,"which is equipped with slides and artificial waves for surfing. A tropical greenhouse also exists here.

For lovers of sport and cinema, the centre will run a fitness club, a climbing wall, a movie theatre and, for families with kids, a playground with animation and theatre areas, as well as cafes and shops. This four-storey complex, spread over 38 thousand sq. metres, will be able to hold more than 2,000 visitors.

Institutions with such capacity have never been seen earlier, not only in Kogalym, but across all of Yugra, the major Northern Urals region of Russia. Yugra Governor Natalia Komarova thanked all those who put their soul and talent into building such an important project.

An outlet for the northerners

Living and working in the north is difficult because of the harsh weather conditions, so the new complex will be an outlet for children and adults. Now, in the midst of the northern winter, they will be able to relax in this tropical forest, hopes Vladimir Nekrasov, the first vice-president of "Lukoil."

The history of Kogalym started to be recorded only 31 years ago. It is hard to now imagine that once there were swamps here.

“All that the city has today, the people, is a result of the work of those who work every day to create it,” said Deputy Prime Minister Olga Golodets, expressing gratitude for the unique creation while she participated in the opening ceremony.

The Galaxy project has helped to create about 200 additional jobs in Kogalym city.

The material was prepared with the assistance of Department of Community and External Relations of Yugra.

All rights reserved by Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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