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Murmansk

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The Alesha Statue

Murmansk (Му́рманск) is a city in the extreme northwest of Russia and the world's largest city north of the Arctic Circle.

Understand

With a population of over 300,000, Murmansk is the largest city in the Arctic and an important Russian naval base and commercial port. In World War II (known to Russias as the Great Patriotic War), Murmansk served as a port for the arctic convoys, and after the war became the Soviet Union's most important submarine base.

Get in

By plane

Murmansk Airport [1] (IATA: MMK) has multiple daily flights to Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and limited services to other Russian cities including Sochi and Rostov-on-the-Don. There are also several flights per week to Tromsø in Norway. Flights to Kirkenes are however discontinued.

The airport is located about 40km south of Murmansk, near the town of Murmashi. Taxis cost 500-600 Rubles from the city center and make the trip in about 40 minutes. The 106 bus from the train station (stopping at Detsky Mir near the Poliarnie Zori Hotel) is less expensive but much more sluggish than a taxi. Expect to pay 1000 Rubles if you catch a taxi outside the airport when arriving. For cheaper (and official) taxiservice, you have to order a taxi, expect to wait up to 30-40 minutes for it to arrive, though.

By boat

There are also occasional boats to Barentsburg, Svalbard.

By train

Murmansk Railway Station

Murmansk can be reached from most places in north-west Russia by train. Moscow is 35-40 hours away and Saint Petersburg 27-30 hours, depending on the train. The trains make stop-overs in cities such as Kandalaksha and Petrozavodsk on their way. Other night trains reach Murmansk from cities as far east as Arkhangelsk or from Minsk and Brest in the west. There is also a local night train from Nikel close to the Norwegian border. Trains from Saint Petersburg and Moscow are daily, most others 2-3 times a week. The train station is located in the city center, one block downhill from Five Corners Square.

By bus

There are bus connections from Finland (Rovaniemi and Ivalo) and Norway (Kirkenes).

Get around

Although Murmansk is long and thin, most sites of interest to visitors are within a fairly compact area in the city center. Buses and taxis are available on the major streets, and Prospekt Lenina is the main north-south thoroughfare through the city center. Avid walkers could cover the entire stretch of the central area from the Poliarnie Zori Hotel (on the south end of the city center) to the Alyosha Statue (on a plateau on the north side of the city) in less than two hours.

See

  • Regional History Museum, Prospekt Lenina 90, 42 26 17, [2]. 11am to 5:45pm, daily except Thursday. Contains displays on various themes, including ethnography of local peoples, a taxidermy display of local flora and fauna (including polar bear and moose), arctic explorations, and an extensive display on Murmansk's role in World War II. All displays in Russian only, cashier closes at 5:00pm. 25 Rubles.
  • Alyosha Statue, (on the hill near Lake Semyonovskaya). 30-meter-tall statue of a soldier overlooking the city. It is common for wedding parties in Murmansk to visit the statue and drink a bottle of champagne there. To reach the statue, follow the road that curves around the north of the lake (Buses 3 and 10 go at least part of the way, then one must walk), or, in good weather, hikers can cut through the hills and across the south side of the lake on the dirt footpath that begins across the street from the Savior-on-the-Water Cathedral and the lighthouse.
  • Regional Arts Museum, Ul. Kominterna 13, 45 03 85, [3]. 11am to 6pm, Wed-Sun.
  • Northern Navy Museum, Ul. Tortseva 15, 22 14 45.
  • Shipping History Museum, Ul Volodarskovo 6, 48 13 56. 9am to 5pm, daily except Saturday.
  • Arctic Research Institute Exposition, Ul. Knipovicha 6, 47 23 97. 9am to 4pm, Mon-Fri. Viewing apparently by appointment only; call and ask for Tatiana at least a few days in advance.

Do

  • Take a ferry across the inlet to see Murmansk from the water.
  • Oceanarium, Ul. Geroev-severomortsev 4 (On Lake Semyonovskaya), 31 58 84. See trained seals perform in the white domed building.
  • Orthodox Monastery, Prospekt Kolskij (trolleybus nr 6 from city centre going south). all day. Wooden, notched (no nails used) working monastery. Beautifully handcrafted monastery with two churches. The main church is open for visitors, gift-shop included. The gift-shop has erratic opening-hours, but the monastery itself is open until very late, and if you show respect for the place and the people living there, they might open the church for you to see, even after closing-hours. Unclear when it "officially" closes. Beautiful hand-crafted wooden decorations inside the church, worth a look!


Buy

Eat

  • Cafe Leto, Prospekt Lenina 61 (Entrance off Ul. Yegorova), 45-96-06, [4]. A fasionable, clean cafe with a variety of international and Russian dishes and tempting desserts. Good service, menu in English. Entrees 300-500 rubles.
  • Torro Steak House, Prospekt Lenina 80 (Next to the Meridian Hotel), 45-17-00. Menu in English Entrees 600-1000 rubles.
  • Cafe Yunost, Prospekt Lenina (Next to the Anatoliy Bredov Statue). Coffees and desserts in a relaxing environment.And jolly good chicken and chips.
  • Panorama Restaurant, (On the hill east of Lake Semyonovskaya). As of July 2008, is closed for "renovation".

Drink

Sleep

  • Hotel Poliarnie Zori, Ul. Knipovicha 17 (A short walk up the hill from the Detskiy Mir bus stop), +7 815 228 95 00 (, fax: +7 815 228 95 04), [5]. A clean, well-located hotel with helpful front desk staff. Beginning at 1300 rubles for a basic single.
Five Corners Square, with the Meridian Hotel on the left
  • Meridian Hotel, Ul. Vorovskogo 5/23 (On Five Corners Square), +7 815 228 89 00. Not related to the international chain of a similar name. The lobby displays photos of notable former guests, including President Medvedev, which gives both an indicator of class of service and price. Beginning at 3500 rubles for a single.
  • Arktika Hotel, Prospekt Lenina 82 (On Five Corners Square). Closed for renovation, which is expected to finish in 2012.
  • Hotel Ogni Murmanska, Ogni Murmanska st. 1 (город Мурманск), RUS-183032 Murmansk, +7 815 255 40 00. This hotel has 80 beds in 37 rooms. The standard is good and the hotel offers a very nice view. Good restaurant. The hotel accepts major credit cards, such as VISA, MasterCard och American Express.


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