Nurek - the city of Powers

Bratsk settlement, Langar and Disabur,

Sari-Bolo and Vakhsh is powerful rumble

You, my town, I remember forever,

You're a symbol of my childhood, sunny Nurek!

Albert Shao


Who would have thought that in the place of a small settlement Nurek in the Khatlon Province of Tajikistan would be erected not just a city but a strategic unit, designed to provide electricity to a small mountain country? Ask this question to the old-timers, they would surely have twisted their fingers to their temples. But the fairy tale of yesterday has turned into today's profit - 68 km from Dushanbe between the districts of Faizabad - from the north, Dangara - from the south, Javan - to the west and Temurmalik - from the east, at an altitude of 885 meters above sea level, is located the city of Power Nurek, date of foundation – 1960. The reason of the construction of the Nurek hydroelectric power station was the highest bulk dam in the world - 300 m.

Like many places in Tajikistan, the history of the town name had its own legends, which reads as follows: here was a deaf village in the old times which clang to the foot of the mountain spur, and sheltered from the harsh winter winds and scorching sun. "Fired" stones and a chilling roar of rock falls was heard from the mountains at nights, as if the curse of the evil mountain spirits descended to the ground. Listening to the roar the overbearing people calmed down and became still and submissive, and even in order not to disturb the evil spirits they sacrificed something to them, even gave their children. So this village existed nameless, and maybe it had any name but in perpetual awe and fear. There was growing with joy a small pomegranate tree among adobe houses. All people did their best to take care of it; watered on hot days and did not let it break in bad weathers. The tree brought happiness to people in turn with its rustling leaves. They called it politely "Norak", which means - pomegranate. Time has change the meaning "Nurek", (nur - beam).  So it remained like this.

Nowadays Nurek is not only a city with a developed industry but a network of main roads with the population of almost 40,000 people Nurek is famous throughout the CIS with its HPP and optic-electronic complex "Window" the component of the space control system VKS of the Russian Federation, and also it is the oasis where the water bubbles in the ditches and pours into a multi-colored fountains in the hot valley and shade trees are the inhabitants of something sacred, which is worth to pay tribute to the scorching summer heat.

A particular pride of the residents is Nurek Sea (taj Obanbori Norak.). Nurek reservoir was formed after damming the Vakhsh River, the right tributary of the Amu Darya River, the length of which is 524 km, and the basin area is 39,100 square kilometers. The area of ​​the water surface of the Nurek Sea is 98 square kilometers, the volume of the reservoir is 10.5 cubic kilometers (useful volume is 4.5 cubic kilometers), and the length is 70 km, and the width is 1 km. The average depth of the reservoir is 107 m.

Nurek HPP was exploited in 1972 and it was one of the fantastic projects, for example, filling the dam with a height of the Eiffel Tower, surrounded by the highest mountains, where even the railroad would be difficult to conduct was out of the imagination. In addition, it was simply out of the experiences to build such complex structures which have never been built before.

Leading scientists and engineers from all over the former Soviet Union has proposed various options. Everyone seriously considered and repeatedly tested. The cost of failure - hundreds of lives, because the Nurek area was in an 8 marked zone earthquakes. In turn, the success of the construction guaranteed a great promise - the creation of a powerful hydroelectric power has provided not only the population, but also allowed to carry out the construction of many industrial facilities. In the end, a solution was found.

"The pearl of Central Asia", HPP Nurek, without exaggeration was built with all the world: Kharkov experts have designed and created a unique turbine valves for tunnels that can withstand a water column pressure of 275 meters, from the Urals sent generators, from Belarus - powerful trucks, Kazakhstan has provided metal, from Latvia were imported appliances and electrical equipment, Estonians sent their electric motors, Moldovans sent pumps, and from Turkmenistan came to the glass...

The highest hydroelectric dam in the world (300 m.) and a design capacity of 2,700 MW (9 units of 300 MW) on the Vakhsh River in Pulisanginskom Gorge near the town of Norak in the Tajik SSR began to work at full capacity In the fall of 1979. The construction of Nurek and then Baipazinskaya HPP decisively changed the fate of many indigenous people in the area. Thousands of people have become constructors, get a profession and qualifications.

By the way, the construction of the HPP did not finish without its legendary professional workers. One of them is connected to the first head of the construction Semyon Konstantinovich Kalizhnyukom, harsh debates to defend the construction and start it essentially from the empty spot. The only experience was Kalizhnyuk who already participated in Alpine design, and had a desire to implement the idea. And there were fellow builders, wandering with him through the deserts and build canals and ditches. It must be said that people in Central Asia held in high esteem and honor “to deliver water in the desert means to bring life in their hands”. Here also carried the potential light - electricity. People highly estimated Kalizhnyuka - one for his perseverance, the other for the coolness of character and ability to defend complex projects; someone saw it youthful enthusiasm, while others feared and felt gloomy - a man with hundred characters; Simon Konstantinovich guided and helped people, tried to be a faithful person in front of the companion. And, perhaps, it was the rebellious Vakhsh washed away the bridge and rushed into the working pit, and Kalizhnyuk`s heart could not stand the shock, each took his death as a personal misfortune. The name of Kalizhnyuk was given later one of Norak streets.

When the construction of hydroelectric power station was finished the city also changed its infrastructure and new squares, parks, kindergartens and schools started to appear. A new recreation area was opened at the reservoir. Thanks to the emergence of the Nurek water reservoir the microclimate has softened and the traditional summer heat had changed. The inhabitants of Dushanbe and others started to come on vacation and for fishing. And for tourists visiting the Nurek water reservoir became the mandatory visit of Tajik cities.

The fascinating views of the Nurek Sea opens at the pass of Ozodi ("freedom" from Taj., the former Shar-shar). The deep blue color of the Tajik Sea which contrasts sharply with the sky makes the breath away and forget for a moment all around. If you come to the edge of the road, the snapshots of the unforgettable mountain-valley landscapes and the Vakhsh River will remain in the memory, which not only managed to subdue people, but also made it work to their advantage.


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