The Forgotten Palace of Science, With Personal Stories

Continuation of our small tour of the abandoned city. And today we will finally find ourselves inside the monster house, which was once the main temple of science, for which everything was built around. But like many before him, and I think after, he was abandoned by his creators, remaining in this cold land, to keep their little stories frozen in space and time. Welcome to the Biological Institute.


In 1935, these walls became the working space for the leading biologists of the Soviet Union. They came here with a specific goal - to make the far north more "useful", rich in biological resources. For example, to adapt the Kamchatka crab to living in the Barents Sea. Also, the tasks of scientists included the study of metal corrosion in the conditions of the far North. And of course, the study of the biological characteristics of living organisms that were able to adapt to the harsh climate. In 1996, the building was abandoned by people and mothballed...


We will start a little from the "end", more precisely from the street, it just so happened that I came across these metal skeletons after visiting the building itself, but as it turned out, they are an integral part of it:


These are stands for conducting experiments with metals in the open air. As you can see, they have plates made of different alloys. I think many of them have been here for several decades. Thus, it is possible to determine which material is best suited in a given climate, taking into account different surface treatments.



But what surprised me the most was that these stands are clearly being used today. Some of them are covered with fresh paint, and there are tags on them, clearly printed on a modern printer




I don't know who is doing this research. The entire scientific staff left these places long ago and went to work in a big city, 100 kilometers away. Do they really come here to conduct experiments with metals here? Strange...


I could not understand what this design is for, but it seems to me something related to the conductivity of electricity during corrosion.

But let's finally get back to the main building. It seems that all the entrances from the outside are securely boarded up, but if you go from the rear, there will be no problems with penetration. There is no point in being afraid of anyone, there are almost no locals left here. Although, if I had noticed the corrosion stands earlier, I'm not sure I would have gone inside so boldly.


Even without getting inside, you can already notice traces of science everywhere. A lot of reagents are carried out in small sheds around the perimeter.


Jars and flasks of different sizes once contained various exhibits. Something is stolen, something is destroyed, and something is left because of uselessness. Although those big cans are perfect for brewing moonshine.

I will translate some of the inscriptions as usual. Here on the label it says "grape juice"... was once.

The cover of the form, which contained instructions for working with low-current equipment. It's empty.

We won't risk trying to get into the building through the higher windows, so we go straight through the basement. It's a little disturbing, because the most terrible shit is always going on in the basement...


And the first thing we see is small baths. In the basement, yes. It may seem strange if you forget about the meaning of this place. There are bathrooms for keeping marine animals and plants. The institute is supplied with flowing seawater directly from the bay on the shore of which it stands.


A cool design wall tells me that as the first house around which all the other parts were set up, is one of the Norwegian houses built 150 years ago. Only they had such a foundation here.


the inscription on the door "laboratory of marine mammals"

That's when the beauty of the basement ended and then it got a little creepy. I had a feeling that I was in some kind of sinister laboratory, in which terrible experiments were carried out.






There are a lot of separate small rooms, all with the same small baths. A strong smell of formalin and dampness, a very strange combination. Something is murmuring somewhere, sometimes a creaking can be heard all over the floor, as if the whole building is about to fall into the basement.







Some shelves are untouched, while others are shattered. Someone was looking for something important, or just locked up. I have never experienced claustrophobia, but here I began to think "why not".


I hurried to get to the first floor, and in contrast, even despite the devastation reigning here, I felt that I was in the most beautiful and cozy place, and the air here is fresh and clean, like in the mountains.


A can of modern imported beer brings me back to the right time stream.

And the most pleasant thing is that even repeated artifacts in the form of all this scientific inventory began to produce a pleasant effect of antiquity and comfort, rather than something sinister.



As always, such places look as if people just suddenly disappeared. If you do not pay attention to the mess, then everything looks as if someone worked here just yesterday.


A detailed recipe for making cookies with nuts. I can translate completely for cooks. I think it will be interesting to cook something according to a recipe from such a place

Opened observation logs, prepared reagents and instruments. Somewhere there are household items of employees. You feel like an uninvited guest, who interfered with the ghosts' workflow.



A lot of documents of that time have been preserved. Some from the early, some from the later period of the institute's existence. After all, he has a rather long history of active life, 60 years long

list of reports, one of the topics: Strengthening the material and spiritual foundations of the socialist way of life, the formation of a new person

These documents are about propaganda and ideology, not about science. About the education of the moral principles of the Soviet man.

And this is already thematic- features of the biology of fish of the northern seas.

Well, in the neighborhood, it seemed to me, clearly the blood of some marine mammal for research. Perfectly preserved. Maybe it's not blood in everything, but I had no desire to check it.



In general, the first floor looks very harmless and bright compared to the lower location. Sometimes there are strange expositions that are clearly the creation of the dude who left a can of beer here.




Oddly enough, but the building is holding up well, the floors seem strong and the stairs have been preserved. It all makes deafening cracks, but there is no feeling that your foot will fall back into the dark basement and stay there forever.


And the second floor pleased me with the abundance of light. Apparently, it was intended for administrative work and bureaucracy. Almost all the rooms are empty, and mostly office and paperwork items are stored here.



Very beautiful wallpaper on the walls, create a homely atmosphere. I think that the employees themselves were engaged in repairs here and added more comfort. The Soviet government did not often deal with such trifles



Membership cards of the Red Cross Society


Photographic plates for scientific purposes. The ones with the black label say "for nuclear research!".

There are really a lot of artifacts that store not only traces of work, its documentation, but also personal notes. Such personal, living, time-bound, keeping the handwriting of people who may no longer exist, not only here...

The inscription with the pen "return on the 6th, by bus"

Description of the stomach contents of some animal:"Capelin, shrimp, sea urchin"By the adjacent columns can understand that this was a female animal.



But let me finish this post by telling you about the little thing that made the biggest impression on me, out of everything I saw. This is an extract from the city hospital, 100 kilometers away, dated 1986.


It says that since April 12, 1986, a certain young man named Nikita has been on inpatient treatment in the neurosurgical department. Diagnosis: tumor of the posterior cranial fossa. On April 28, a skull trepanation operation was performed. The condition after the operation is severe. Long-term individual patient care is required.

Further in the text: this medical report was issued to the biological institute for making a decision on granting the patient's mother (who is an employee of the Institute) a vacation, without paycheck. To take care of a sick son, after his discharge from the hospital.

I can't explain exactly why it got to my very soul. Maybe this piece of paper, with a personal story of real people, even in such an official style, made this place alive. People who lived and worked here, they had families, dreams. Something good happened, something bad.


They haven't been here for a very long time, more than 20 years, but these walls remember about them, the paper remembers, the earth remembers. Maybe this house is forgotten by everyone, but it keeps the memory of everyone.

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