by Wojciech Fedoruk - 3 years, 6 months ago
I came to Murmansk to embark a Polish yacht, planning to visit remote places as Franz Joseph Land and Novaya Zemlya. Because of some administrative problems we had to stay in that city for three days.
Murmansk is the world biggest city above the Arctic circle. The city has very short history as it was established in 1916. During the Soviet era Murmansk was the home base for Soviet atomic fleet (it was the only unfreezing harbor in the Russian North). Now the atomic vessels moved to Severomorsk, several kilometers north from Murmansk.
The city did not take much advantage from the presence of the army. It is rather ugly even for Russian standards (which are very low comparing to most European countries) and suffers from the same illness as other Russian northern cities – its population dramatically decreases from 1990s. Now Murmansk has population smaller by over 100 thousand citizens or more than 1/4, comparing to 1990.
Murmansk is the biggest Russian port in the North and indeed the marine facilities are present everywhere. There is practically no infrastructure for yachts so we had to park in so-called coal harbor, among huge ships carrying coal. As a result, the whole yacht was covered with coal dust, which is very difficult to clean.
If we take into account that the big part of Murmansk oblast is closed for foreign visitors (special permit is required), Murmansk is not popular among tourists. For me, it was one of the most unpleasant cities I have visited so far.