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Murmansk Travel Guide

Murmansk History

The city, known initially as Romanov-on-Murman, was founded on October 4, 1916 and named after the Russian royal dynasty of the Romanovs.

The city, the only ice-free port in the Russian Arctic, was built as a terminus of the railroad line to Kola designed to open the North Atlantic supply route to Russia in support of Eastern Front during the First World War. The city was renamed to Murmansk after the October Revolution in 1917.

From 1918 to 1920, the city was occupied by the Western powers that had been allied in the First World War and "White" forces during the Civil War in Russia.

During WWII, the Germans attacked Murmansk, but they retreated when they encountered strong Soviet resistance. Murmansk was a link with the Western world for Russia, and a vast commerce with the Allies, in items important to the respective military efforts passed through it: primarily manufactured and raw materials goods into the Soviet Union.

These supplies were brought to the city in the Arctic Convoys.

Murmansk History

A joint German and Finnish force launched an offensive against the city in 1941 as part of Unternehmen Silberfuchs. Murmansk suffered profound destruction, second only to Stalingrad of all the Soviet cities. However, fierce Soviet resistance and unforgiving territory prevented the Germans from capturing the city and from cutting off the vital Karelian railway line.

During WWII, Murmansk was a port city that imported vital products from the western world. These products were dominantly military supplies and manufactured goods, both of which were essential to the Russian WWII War Machine.

This resistance was eventually recognized in 1985 by the Soviet Union with the formal designation of Murmansk as a Hero City on May 6, 1985. In commemoration of this event, the massive statue Alyosha, depicting a Russian soldier of World War II, was erected overlooking the city harbour. For the rest of the war, it served as a transit point for weapons and other supplies entering the Soviet Union from other Allied nations.
During the Cold War it was a centre of Soviet submarine activity, and since the break-up of the USSR, it remains the headquarters of the Russian Northern Fleet.

Later these heroic acts were recognized by the Soviet Government and Murmansk was given the title of Hero City. During the Cold War Murmansk became a center for Soviet submarines and is now the HQ for the Russian Northern Fleet.

To commemorate the 85th anniversary of the city's foundation, the snow-white church of the Saviour-on-Waters was modelled after the White Monuments of Vladimir and Suzdal and built on the shore for sailors of Murmansk.

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