Murmansk, Russia

At the coordinates of 68°58′ north latitude and 33°03′ east longitude, Murmansk, the largest city in the Arctic Circle, is hidden. Murmansk is the capital of Russia’s Murmansk Oblast. From the perspective of outsiders, it is snowy throughout the year, there is no autumn breeze, no scorching heat, and no spring flowers, life seems a bit dull and tasteless.

actually not. As an ice-free port in the polar regions, the city is built along the narrow Kola Bay from north to south, surrounded by mountains. Amidst brightly lit and neon lights, the city is filled with the smell of human fireworks, and is open to the world with enthusiasm Embrace. When people come to this “Arctic City”, they can freely play in the ice and snow, drive reindeer sleighs, explore the military relics here, and even pursue the mysterious aurora…

The “sinking” heroic city of the prosperous ice-free port
In the Arctic Circle, Murmansk is a magical place. From the map, it is located at the northernmost point of Scandinavia, and the Barents Sea, the edge of the Arctic Ocean, is already in sight. However, the harbor here does not freeze all year round.

All of this is because of the warm North Atlantic current’s “favor” here. Under the protection of the islands on the north side of the Barents Sea, the warm North Atlantic current sends warm sea water to the port day and night. Even in the coldest time, the temperature of the sea here will not be lower than 3°C. Therefore, Murmansk Port can be navigable throughout the year.

Natural favorable conditions make Murmansk one of Russia’s most important ports, and the developed fisheries and commercial trade have promoted the prosperity of this city. You must know that although Russia is located in an extremely cold place, there are many sea areas on the peninsula and the hydrological conditions are very superior. It is a fishery country with abundant fishery resources. It catches a wide variety of seafood, and the most prestigious one is the king crab. As one of the first countries in the world to catch king crabs, Russia has a history of nearly 70 years of crab catching, and it is a veritable king crab country. The most luxurious caviar in the world is also produced here. It is made of sturgeon roe. It is black, crystal clear and round. It costs more than 4,000 US dollars for 1,000 grams, which can be described as “a bite of caviar and a bite of gold.” Only those who have tasted this expensive food can truly feel its uniqueness and unforgettable. Just as a famous Russian poet wrote: “In your arms, like lying in a cradle, I forgot everything, just close to your chest…” In addition to fishery exports, there is a large amount of Russia every year. Merchant ships departed from Murmansk to more than 170 ports around the world, with an annual cargo throughput of more than 10 million tons.

But if you turn back the clock, the city once looked completely different. Because it is located in the Arctic Circle, the climate is cold, the terrain is complex, and there is snow all year round. There are forests, lakes, frozen soil and swamps everywhere. From a military point of view, it is not conducive to offensive operations. City. Therefore, in 1899, Tsarist Russia established the first military port here. Since then, the city is destined to have special geopolitical and military strategic significance.

In 1915, during the First World War, Tsarist Russia used this military center to deal with the German navy’s blockade of the Baltic Sea. Coupled with the construction of a large number of fortifications and heavy defenses stationed, it made it difficult for Germany to attack Murmansk. In 1916, Russia built a port here, and Murmansk was officially built as a city. By the Second World War, it had become an important industrial center and the most important life supply line for the Soviet Union. More than 70% of the aid from the United States and Britain was unloaded from Murmansk and then shipped to various parts of the Soviet Union. Murmansk has life and death significance for the Soviet Union. It can be said that without Murmansk there would be no victory in the Soviet-German War. In 1974, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the victory over the German army and to express people’s infinite respect and remembrance for the heroes of the war, the Russians built the Polar Guardian Monument in Murmansk-“Alyosha”. “Alyosha” is 31.5 meters high and weighs 5,000 tons. It has a steel helmet and a steel gun on its head. It stands tall on the hills of the Kola River and overlooks the Murmansk harbour, as if guarding the “Heroes”. The peace and tranquility of the city.

At the same time, Murmansk is also a base for nuclear-powered icebreakers, which set out to explore the unknown world of the Arctic. The nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin, anchored in Murmansk Port, was built in the former Soviet Union and was the world’s first nuclear-powered icebreaker. In 1957, the Lenin was launched for the first time in the sea, and since then began its arduous mission of investigation and rescue in the Arctic Ocean. After 30 years of conscientious sailing, it was honorably decommissioned. The decommissioned “Lenin” was transformed into a museum and stayed permanently in the port of Murmansk. Today, people can board this “behemoth” that once explored at sea, enter the cabin, galley, and captain’s room, visit the real nuclear reactor, and imagine that they have experienced a wonderful sea journey.

The hometown of the Sami people: Polar Utopia guards the harmony between man and nature
For the Sami people, the indigenous people living here, Murmansk is not a completely desolate land, but a precious gift from God, a Utopia of its own vitality. The Sami and the reindeer are here to guard each other, guard the land, and thrive for generations. “Seeing a deer when the forest is deep”, the messy hoof prints on the snow, and the wanton growth of antlers like branches are a common sight in the Sami area. Or maybe, Santa Claus will drive a reindeer sleigh to send New Year’s gifts when the sky is full of snow.

In the tundra area of ​​Murmansk, there is an open-air museum-Sami Ethnic Village. The Sami people are known as the “last aboriginals” in Europe and have their own long history and unique culture. At present, the Sami people live in four countries: Russia, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. As the descendants of nomads with thousands of years of history, they mainly live on reindeer, fishing, hunting, and nomadism. The Sami people wear traditional Sami costumes, speak the Sami language, eat the purest venison, treat foxes as pets, and use reindeer to drive sleds… Faith and a positive attitude lead a fairytale life.

The national costumes of the Sami people are very distinctive, mostly hand-made, with linen cloth in three bright colors: blue, red and yellow. The tops are mostly blue, which symbolizes the sea. The neckline, front, shoulders, cuffs and hem are decorated with golden lace that symbolizes the moon and red lace that symbolizes the sun and flame. The bright and lively Sami people are a beautiful landscape in the white snow. They respect nature and guard the land under their feet religiously. The years have changed and they have not changed.

Only when you walk into the life of the Sami can you feel the relationship between man, reindeer and nature. For the Sami people, reindeer are not only domestic animals, pets, and companions, but also the foundation of their culture and lifestyle. Every summer, the Sami people hold a reindeer ear-cutting ceremony. Each family member will have a unique cutting mark. The commitment between humans and deer to protect each other starts from the moment they are branded.

In the cold winter, snow will cover the entire summer pasture, and it is difficult for reindeer to find food by themselves. Therefore, in early autumn, the Sami people began to gradually migrate their reindeer herds to warmer places to keep them in captivity to help them survive the cold winter. When spring comes, the Sami people will return to the summer pastures with the deer, allowing the deer to forage and run freely in the vast pastures.

In addition to the reindeer, the primitive and ancient dog breed, the Siberian Husky (also called the Husky), is also an important part of the Arctic culture. The advent of snowmobiles makes it easier for people to travel, but the tradition of sled dogs is still well preserved. Nowadays, many foreign tourists come to Murmansk and always visit the villages of the Sami people, hoping to experience the original arctic nomadic life. Here, they put on Sami costumes, tasted Sami food, and were more enthusiastic about sitting on a sled cart with sled dogs pulling the cart and running in the snow against the biting cold wind. Galloping in the vast expanse of forest, sea and snow, breathing the refreshing fresh air, you will always feel that this is a piece of holy land that purifies people’s hearts.

The light-following tour is not expected to be “Ship cemetery in the Arctic Circle”
Murmansk has typical polar day, polar night and aurora phenomena.

During the polar day in spring and summer, the Arctic region is always bathed in brilliant sunshine; in the severe cold autumn and winter season, it ushered in the long polar night darkness. What can light up the night sky is the aurora, a gift from nature, in addition to the neon of the city.

The magnificent aurora is one of the most brilliant and shocking natural scenery in the world, but it is also extremely rare. If you are lucky enough to encounter a cloudless night, there may be a great auroral explosion, showing you its most graceful and mysterious figure. These unexpected aurora lights are like galaxies surging, wild like ocean waves, colorful dreamlike colors, and unpredictable rhythms…

Unlike other holy places in the Arctic Circle for viewing the aurora, the city of Murmansk seems to be less romantic, more majestic and cold. The heavy snow will cover the winding road, relying on the guidance of the red barricade pole, through the white “desert”, and follow the aurora hunters to the vast aurora viewing spot. Standing in the vast expanse of ice and snow, looking up at the vast sky through the woods, the dark tree trunks are slightly depressed. Suddenly, when the aurora was shocked in this silent world, patches of green, blue, purple, or red colored lights and shadows swiftly rotated, jumped, and extended in the night sky, and those dancing splendor seemed to be far away. The horizon seems to be within reach… They sometimes gather together and sometimes spread out. It may be that the northern lights have disappeared before the thoughts are cleared.

If you stay away from the brightly lit city and come to Lake Lovozero to wait for the arrival of “Goddess Aurora”, it will be another unique experience. When the calm and translucent lake surface and the dark sky are pierced by the gorgeous aurora, the beautiful curve will diffuse and reflect on the water surface and merge with the heaven and the earth. In a moment, the heaven and the earth are indistinguishable, as if time and space have been inverted.

In order to say goodbye to the long winter and welcome the first ray of sunshine, people will wait in front of their homes, looking into the distance, and waiting for the sun to jump out of the horizon. At the extreme day of the summer solstice, the sun has been hanging in the sky, spreading the sun to every corner of the city, even at midnight, the sky is bright and brilliant. After waking up, the city looked extremely quiet, and his feet made a “creaking” sound when he stepped on the snow. When you stop and look far away, you can see the sun rising from the horizon, shining the snow and sky pink and blue. For a while, you can’t tell whether the soft light from the sunrise is the morning sun or the sunset.

In the north of Murmansk, Teriberka, a small town on the Barents Sea, is a holy place for light-following, with the best viewing angle and the greatest chance of viewing aurora. Of course, not only the aurora can be encountered here, but the title of “Ship Cemetery in the Arctic Circle” also attracts countless people.

A hundred years ago, Teriberka had many fishery processing plants, reindeer breeding bases, ship repairing companies, and milk factories, all of which were thriving. Later, with the deterioration of the natural environment and the development of industrial fishing, the town’s economy began to slump, and factories continued to close down. Today, the town is dilapidated and decayed, colorful shabby huts are covered with thick snow, abandoned fishing boat wrecks are scattered along the Arctic Ocean, and abandoned cars can be seen everywhere, which gives a sense of desolation and apocalypse.

The “ship cemetery” is on the way to Xinjieli. The fishing boats that came and went and disappeared on the Arctic Ocean with the fall of the fishing industry. The abandoned ships left behind drifted across the ocean under the influence of ocean currents, and finally stayed in The bay of Teriberka. The scattered wreckage is in great condition, some have been corroded by sea water, some are embedded in the snow-covered coast, and some are just scattered brackets… When the sun shines into the icy and tranquil bay, the ultimate poignant beauty The feeling is getting stronger…