10 GIANT Arctic murals on buildings in Russia’s Far North (PHOTOS)

Pavel Kuzmichev
Mammoths, icebreakers and polar bears all gaze at the inhabitants of Salekhard - at just about every corner!

In Russia’s northern cities, buildings are often painted in bright colors. In Salekhard, you can also see other decorative features such as murals on the walls of buildings. They have been created by artists from all over Russia as part of summer art festivals. Every mural has to be approved by the local administration. There are about a dozen such murals in Salekhard today and each of them is a real masterpiece.

1. The Icebreaker ‘Yamal’ 

A mural depicting the legendary nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal, which has made over 40 voyages to the North Pole, appeared in 2016. It took a hundred aerosol paint cans to create this  18-meter image. 

2. The Mammoth

A giant mammoth depicted with pieces of ice features on the wall of a high-rise building to the left of the icebreaker. 

3. The Tourist

A mural showing a traveler conquering Yamal’s expanses can be found next to the icebreaker and mammoth. The three murals form a single artistic space in the city center. 

4. The Polar Bear

Literally a few buildings from the tourist mural you can see a huge polar bear wearing a hat and scarf with northern motifs. It was painted in 2020. 

5. The Mammoth Skeleton

The mural portrays an enormous mammoth in a museum setting. Viewed from a distance, the composition seems almost three-dimensional. 

6. The 3D House

It seems from afar that the house is missing one of its corners and the roof. But, it is simply a remarkable optical illusion. 

7. ‘The 66th Parallel’ monument set among flowers

Salekhard is the only city in the world located right on the Arctic Circle. The point at which the Arctic begins is marked by a stele-shaped monument dubbed ‘The 66th Parallel’. The mural, which shows the stele in a setting of spring flowers, can be seen on the wall of one of the houses in the city’s Izumrudny district. 

8. The Snowboarder

The mural titled ‘The Snowboarder’ and inscribed “Salekhard” appeared during the ‘Cultural Defense’ street art festival in 2018. 

9. The Northern Lego

Another work is a Lego construction kit with a color scheme reflecting the peoples of the North. It shows a ‘chum’ (reindeer skin tent), a polar bear and a child playing with a toy fish on a rod. It was painted in 2017. 

10. The Chum

This is one of the latest murals, having appeared in Summer 2022: a ‘chum’ against the background of the Northern Lights and, inside it, the colorful tundra!  

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