Mirna – Russian Source Of Diamonds

Mirna Russia (more commonly called Mirny, which is Russian for peaceful) is a city in Siberia famous for the Mirny mine, which is the world’s largest diamond mine. The city is located very centrally in Russia, in the south of the Sakha Republic (also known as Yakutsk, a name that is perhaps more familiar to Risk players). It has a population of 39,981 (figures from the 2002 Russian Census).

The city is relatively new – it was founded only in 1955, after kimberlite pipes were discovered nearby. Kimberlite pipes contain diamonds, which the Soviet Union was desperately searching for in the 1950s, so that it could use them in its military and industry. Once pipes were discovered, work began to excavate the first major Russian Diamond mine, and the city of Mirny Siberia was formed to house the workers. The Mirna Mine is today the world’s deepest open diamond mine, and has been the source for the vast majority of Russian diamonds. The open Mirny diamond mine closed recently, but an underground mine is still in operation. The mine employs 3,600 workers, and remains the towns largest employer by a long way.

Mirna Siberia itself looks very similar to any other Russian city – the streets are laid out in a grid formation, and Soviet apartment blocks are everywhere. Really the only thing that distinguishes Mirny is that the town is right on the edge of the mine, which gives rise to some amazing pictures.

Mirny airport is a relatively small airport, designed to support the town’s mining industry, and to allow residents (who in Soviet times were highly skilled and paid well to live in a remote mining town) to fly in and out. The airport is very close to both the city, and the mine. There has been one recorded plane crash at Mirny airport – in 2009 an Internal Affairs Ministry plane (an Ilyushin Il-76) crashed just after takeoff, killing all eleven passengers.

The town has a small university – the Mirny Polytechnic Insitute – which is dedicated mostly to the study of subjects relating to mining, but also teaches English, mathematics and law. The town’s main hotel is the Zarnitsa Hotel, named after the first diamond pipe discovered in the area. Museums include a history museum and a museum of flora and fauna. The city’s central park contains a monument erected in honour of the mine’s founders. The monument takes the form of a 24 meter high obelisk, with an imitation diamond set into it at a height of 17.5 meters.

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