Murmansk, Russia Cruise Port
For an adventure north of the Arctic Circle, the cruise port of Murmansk, Russia is also famous in European history as the last city founded in the Russian Empire. Located in the country's extreme northwest on the Kola Bay, it's close to the borders of Norway and Finland in the Barents Sea. With more than 300,000 residents, the city is the largest within the Arctic Circle. Murmansk received its current name in 1917 after Russia's February Revolution, and it was occupied by the White Army forces and Western powers shortly by thereafter during World War I. The city also was a link to Russia during World War II for the Allies, where supplies were brought in via Arctic convoys. Murmansk is an important fishing and shipping port, thanks to mild temperatures and remaining ice-free all year long. Here are a handful of our favorite experiences when cruising to Murmansk, Russia:
- The Alyosha Monument has a fairly lofty subtitle: Defenders of the Soviet Arctic during the Great Patriotic War. Dedicated to those who served during World War II, the 116 foot tall statue is the second highest in Russia and includes an eternal flame. The solider faces the Valley of Glory, a battle site on the right bank of the Zapadnaya Litsa River.
- Fans of maritime and Soviet history will want to see the Lenin, a nuclear-powered icebreaker that's since become a museum. From 1960-1965, the ship cleared the seas of ice for cargo ships; it's one of the few vessels of its kind in the world where you can get a tour.
- A fun place for the young and young at heart, the Murmansk Oceanarium is a nice break from touring historical sites. Featuring Arctic seals putting on an entertaining show, the Oceanarium also does research on environmental issues faced by area seals.
- That the sea around the city touches multiple lives is on display within the Monument to Waiting Woman. This moving sculpture of a woman longing to see her missing spouse is near a padlock-covered gate where couples pledge their eternal devotion.