Northwestern Federal District
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD).
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Land and Resources: Murmansk Oblast is located in the north-western part of Russia. It is located on the Kola Peninsula in the northeastern part of European Russia. The region has coastlines on the Barents and White seas and borders on Norway and Finland in the west and Karelia in the south. Murmansk Region has many swift-flowing rivers full of rapids like the Ponoi, Varzuga, Umba, Niva, and Tuloma and lakes such as Imandra, Umbozero, and Lovozero. There are three nature reserves in the region: Kandalaksha, Lapland, and Pasvik.
Climate: The region`s geographic location has determined the characteristics of its climate, weather, landscapes, and plant and animal life. The climate is temperate maritime in the south and relatively mild subarctic in the north due to the influence of winds from the warm Atlantic flow. Average January temperatures range from -8 °C in the north to -13 °C in the center, and the corresponding average July temperatures range from +8 °C to +14 °C. Polar days and nights are a feature of Murmansk Region.
Transportation: The region`s favorable geographical location and large industrial base have influenced the development of all forms of transport. The existing land, air, and sea transportation connections maintain traditional economic ties with central Russia and promote the expansion of foreign cooperation. In addition, Murmansk Region has been actively developing as a center of international tourism since 1990.
Murmansk is Russia`s largest ice-free port and the main base for the country`s fishing industry. The port remains ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic drift ocean current and is an important fishing and shipping port. Its satellite, Severomorsk, is an important navy base for the Russian Navy. It is home port to Atomflot, the world`s only fleet of nuclear-powered ice breakers.
The city of Murmansk was founded on October 4, 1916, and was initially called Romanov-on-Murman. Murmansk is the largest city north of the Arctic Circle.
The natural beauty of the Kola Peninsula, with its tundra and forest tundra zones, thousands of lakes and rivers, hills and mountains, and the Barents and White Sea coasts are of international tourist significance. The land of polar winters and the midnight sun appeals with its cultural and historical monuments of past centuries, the years of the Second World War, and the era of socialist construction. There are great opportunities here for salmon fishing, hunting, boating and hiking, mountain climbing, and alpine skiing.
This is a land of unforgettable front-line heroes who staunchly defended their homeland from the fascists. Every square and every corner here is a living testament to courage incised in marble, granite, and bronze memorials and monuments.
Modern-day Murmansk, this white-stone northern city with soaring gulls that embodies the past glory of the fleet, attracts like a magnet. As before, it stands on the shore, thrusting out into the boundless sea, one of Russia`s most beautiful northern cities, an important center of Russian oceanography, and a large modern industrial and cultural center.
The tundra will make an indelible impression on you. It is not only rich in mineral resources; it is also poetically beautiful. The first summer days on the tundra are astounding for their sudden flood of greenery, their "explosion" of flowers, and the suddenness of the change from the long winter to blooming summer that seems to bypass spring. During the short summer, the tundra dazzles with the rare beauty of bright flowers set off against a background of berry bushes like cloudberry, cranberry, lingonberry, and bilberry.
Elfin forests no longer found anywhere else remind you of a fairy-tale land from childhood. The sun here is also amazing; it is always low on the horizon, and for most of the day, the sky is magically tinted with the colors of dawn: rose, pale yellow, silver-lilac, all of them reflected again in countless rivers, streams, and lakes. Local residents are literally in love with the tundra, forests, seas, rivers, lakes, and mountains that surround them.
There are not many tourists who can say they have visited Khibiny or seen the ice-free seas, hills, northern lights with their own eyes; taken part in the All-Russian ski marathon; gone for a ride in a reindeer-drawn sleigh; watched the amazing sports show "Northern Holiday"; visited a nonferrous rock museum; visited parks where you can see moose, lemmings, bears, foxes, wolverines, and snowy owls; or strolled through botanical gardens with exotic trees and shrubs.
If you are interested in the region`s history, then the sights of the Polar capital, Murmansk, that bear witness to its heroic past and present are waiting for you. Tour guides will acquaint you with the cultural heritage of Murmansk land and its traditions and customs. They will tell you about the folklore of the people of the European North, distinguished for the richness and originality of its epic tales, northern heroic poems (byliny), hunting stories, and old Pomorian songs. The hospitable people of Murmansk will treat you to fish pies, "pockets" (kalitki) with tvorog and potatoes, cheese tarts, cakes, and bliny. Visitors to the city can stay in comfortable hotels and relax in restaurants and nightclubs.
International tourism is very important for Murmansk Region. The region`s closeness to Finland, Norway, and Sweden, which have a positive image on the European tourist market, make it possible to organize activities within the framework of projects such as "Murmansk Corridor", "Barents Zone", and "Barents Route", e.g., one-day cross-border hikes, safaris, ski races through three countries, and visits to historical and cultural monuments. The transportation, communications, and other infrastructure between Central Europe and Scandinavia provide an excellent means for companies in Murmansk to develop ties with tourist organizations on the European market. Tourism in northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway can add significantly to the tourist potential of Murmansk Region. This is a great advantage, because joint international projects will help Russia obtain economic support in the European community.
To commemorate the 85th anniversary of the city`s foundation, the snow-white church of the Saviour-on-Waters was modeled after the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal and built on the shore for sailors of Murmansk (photograph).
Monument to the seamen who were lost in a peace time
In city centre of Murmansk
The bay, Murmansk
Encarta World Atlas
http://gov.murman.ru/ - Official Site of the Governor of Murmansk Region: