Arkhangelsk Region is situated in the
North-West of the European part of Russia. Its coasts being of 3
thousand kilometers long are washed by cold waters of three arctic
seas: the White, Barents and Kara Sea. The Region's territory
is 587,4 thousand sq. km. The Island the Novaya Zemlya, Franz Joseph
Land and Nenets Autonomous District are the territories of Arkhangelsk
An administrative center of the Region is the City of Arkhangelsk
founded in the mouth of the Northern Dvina River in accord with
the Decree of Csar Ivan the Terrible dated of March 5, 1584. The
largest cities are Severodvinsk, Kotlas, Novodvinsk, and Koryazhma.
The affinity of the seas and oceans appreciably has an effect on
the climate of the Region, which is transitive between the sea and
continental one. The Arctic Ocean and Barents Sea influence explains
temperature rises in the winter, while in the spring and summer
cold Arctic air makes a boomerang effect. The winter is usually
long (about 250 days) and cold, with low temperature on the average
up to -26 degrees and strong winds. Average temperature is about
+15 degrees in the summer.
The region has superfluous water resources.
Four largest rivers (Northern Dvina, Pechora, Onega and Mezen) run
into the Arctic seas. Wide and deep Northern Dvina creates favourable
conditions for navigation and is the basic water way.
The population density is 2,5 men per 1 sq. km., 74 % of the inhabitants
living at cities and 26 % living in rural areas.
The area where Arkhangelsk is situated
was known to the Vikings as Bjarmaland. In the 12th century, the
Novgorodians established the Archangel Michael Monastery in the
estuary of the Northern Dvina. In 1478 the area passed to Muscovy
with the rest of Novgorod Republic. The main trade centre of the
area at that time was Kholmogory, located slightly upstream.
In 1555 Ivan the Terrible granted trade privileges to English merchants
who founded the Company of Merchant Adventurers and began sending
ships annually into the estuary of the Northern Dvina. Dutch merchants
also began bringing their ships into the White Sea. In 1584 Ivan
ordered the founding of New Kholmogory (which would later be renamed
after the nearby Archangel Monastery).
At the time access to the Baltic Sea
was still controlled by Sweden, so while Arkhangelsk was icebound
in winter, it remained Moscow's only link to the sea. Local inhabitants,
called pomors, were the first to explore trade routes to Northern
Siberia as far as trans-Ural city of Mangazeya and beyond.
In 1683 Peter I took power at the age of ten, and in 1693 he ordered
the creation of a state shipyard in Arkhangelsk. A year later the
ships Svyatoye Prorochestvo (Holy Prophesy), Apostol Pavel (Apostle
Paul) and the yacht Svyatoy Pyotr (Saint Peter) were sailing in
the White Sea. However he also realized that Arkhangelsk would always
be limited as a port due to the five months of ice cover, and after
a successful campaign against Swedish armies in the Baltic area,
he founded Saint Petersburg in 1704.
Arkhangelsk city declined in the 18th century as the Baltic trade
became ever more important, but its economy revived at the end of
the 19th century when a railroad to Moscow was completed and timber
became a major export. During World War I and World War II Arkhangelsk
was a major port of entry for Allied aid.
The city resisted Bolshevik rule during 1918 to 1920 and was a
stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army, supported by the military
intervention of Entente forces. Recently, the city was mentioned
in the news as the site of Arkhangelsk Explosion of 2004.
Mikhail Lomonosov came from a Pomor
village near Kholmogory. A monument to him was installed to a design
by Ivan Martos in 1829. A monument to Peter I was designed by Mark
Antokolsky in 1872 and installed in 1914.
A maritime school, technical university, and a regional museum
are located in the city. The city's main historic landmarks are
the fort-like Merchant Yards (1668-84) and the New Dvina Fortress
Today Arkhangelsk remains a major seaport, now open year-round
due to improvements in icebreakers. The city is primarily a timber
and fishing center.
Other Russian Cities:
Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Kazan