Arkhangelsk was the starting point from which the exploration of Russia’s North began. It became the main city from which the first polar expeditions set off along Russia’s northern shores, and from which research was conducted on the features of the North’s geography, flora and fauna, and on the distinctive way of life of its inhabitants.
Arkhangelsk is the largest city in Arctic Russia, a major historical, industrial, scientific, and cultural centre in the northwestern part of the country, which became renowned during the world wars. It is located on the Northern Dvina River delta. The city has a population of 357,000 and covers an area of 294 square kilometres.
Arkhangelsk was founded in 1584 by order of Ivan the Terrible. Since the early seventeenth century, the city has been one of the largest seaports in northern Russia. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Arkhangelsk became the country’s largest timber processing and wood export centre. The city also served as an important base for the development of the Arctic and the establishment of shipping via the Northern Sea Route.
Four major rivers (the Northern Dvina, Pechora, Onega, and Mezen) feed into the Arctic seas. The wide and deep Northern Dvina creates favourable conditions for navigation, and is the primary waterway.
Arkhangelsk is not only Russia’s first seaport historically, but also remains a major transport hub, providing a solid link between rail and sea routes. As a result of its geopolitical situation, Arkhangelsk is one of Russia’s biggest and most important seaports. Due to its active involvement in Arctic projects, Arkhangelsk can be viewed as a regional platform for Russia’s Arctic operations.
Arkhangelsk Region is the focal point for a research and educational base with a wide range of skills and experience in training staff to work at high latitudes, as well as in conducting research and development. There are two universities in Arkhangelsk: the Lomonosov Northern (Arctic) Federal University and the Northern State Medical University.
Leading companies in the timber, fishing and fish processing, food production, and retail and service industries are concentrated in Arkhangelsk.
Arkhangelsk is not only the industrial centre of the region, but also the local cultural and historical capital, and the birthplace of northern culture, traditions, history, and wooden architecture.