Murmansk

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Murmansk (Russian: Му́рманск, Sami: Murmanska) is a city in the extreme northwest of Russia with a seaport on the Kola Bay, 12 km from the Barents Sea on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula, not far from Russia's borders with Norway and Finland. Population: 320,900 (2005 est.); 336,137 (2002 Census). The city is an important navy base.

Murmansk is the administrative centre of Murmansk Oblast. The port remains ice-free year round due to the warm North Atlantic drift ocean current. It is the largest city in the Arctic Circle.

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[edit] History

The city, known initially as Romanov-on-Murman, was founded on September 21, 1916, when the railroad line to Kola was built, and named after the Russian royal dynasty of the Romanovs. Murman is the old Russian name for the Barents Sea and for Norwegians, derived from the ethnonym Normans. Another theory holds that Murman derives from Saami for land and sea. The city was renamed to Murmansk after the October Revolution in 1917.

From 1918 to 1920, the city was occupied by the Western powers who had been allied in the First World War and "White" forces during the Civil War in Russia (see [1]).

During World War II, Murmansk was a link with the Western world for Russia, and a vast commerce with the Allies, in items important to the respective military efforts passed through it: primarily manufactured goods into the Soviet Union, and raw materials out. These supplies were brought to the city in the Arctic Convoys.

Image:Alosja.jpg
Alyosha statue

German forces launched an offensive against the city in 1941. Murmansk suffered profound destruction, second only to Stalingrad of all the Soviet cities. However, fierce Soviet resistance prevented Germans from capturing the city and from cutting off the vital Karelian railway line. This resistance was eventually recognized in 1985 by the Soviet Union with the formal designation of Murmansk as a Hero City on May 6 1985 [2]. In commemoration of this event, the massive statue Alyosha, depicting a Russian soldier of World War Two, was erected overlooking the city harbour. For the rest of the war, it served as a transit point for weapons and other supplies entering the Soviet Union from other Allied nations.

During the Cold War it was a centre of Soviet submarine activity, and since the breakup of the USSR, it remains the headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet as well as its Nuclear powered icebreaker fleet.

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).

[edit] Murmansk in fiction

The city is one of the main settings in the novel Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer. It is the place where Artemis's shipwrecked father is believed to have died after capture by the Russian Mafiya.

The climatic scene of Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz takes places in and around Murmansk.

In the novels HMS Ulysses (1955) by the Scottish writer Alistair MacLean and The Captain (1967) by Dutch author Jan de Hartog, the protagonists are sailors in the Second World War Murmansk-bound convoys who ran the gauntlet of German U-Boats and war planes. In their minds, Murmansk assumes the status of almost a "Promised Land" which lucky survivors will reach.

The physical city itself does not appear in either book. In de Hartog's book the protagonists, with their ship sunk, get in a lifeboat which is picked up at sea and get to Iceland instead; in the MacLean book, the survivors of the decimated convoy who arrive at the port of Murmansk are not allowed to set foot ashore, and remain cooped on board until the material is unloaded and the moment comes to set out back to Britain.

[edit] Sister cities

The sister cities of Murmansk are:

[edit] External links

Coordinates: 68°58′″N, 33°05′″E

Image:Coat of Arms of Murmansk Oblast.gif Cities and towns in Murmansk Oblast Image:Flag of Russia.svg
Administrative center: Murmansk

Apatity | Gadzhiyevo | Kandalaksha | Kirovsk | Kola | Kovdor | Monchegorsk | Olenegorsk | Ostrovnoy | Polyarny | Polyarnye Zori | Severomorsk | Snezhnogorsk | Zaozyorsk | Zapolyarny


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Murmansk

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