Trivia: What great northern Russian city was ruled by America and Britain during the Russian revolution, used Rubles printed in Detroit, and whose governor was an American appointed from Washington?
Welcome to Arkhangelsk! This great city, formerly called Archangel in English, is also the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina river near its exit into the White Sea in the far north of European Russia. Arkhangelsk was the chief seaport of medieval Russia. It is served by Talagi Airport and the smaller Vaskovo Airport. The city is located at the very end of the 1,133 km (704 mi) long railroad, connecting it to Moscow via Vologda and Yaroslavl. Population: 356,051.
Arkhangelsk Region is located in northern European Russia and borders on the Republic of Karelia and Vologda and Murmansk regions. Its original name was Dvina Land (Dvinskaya Zemlya). Dvina Land was reorganized into Arkhangelogorod Province in 1708 by decree of Peter the Great, then into Arkhangelsk Province in December 1796, and finally into Arkhangelsk Region in September 1937.
Arkhangelsk Region is a major commercial and industrial center of Russia with 3000 km of coastline on three Arctic seas (Barents, Kara and White seas), which help strengthen economic ties with many countries around the world. It is a large region with well-developed fishing, forest, woodworking, and pulp and paper industries.
Tsar Ivan the Terrible built the city of Arkhangelsk more than 400 years ago. Even then the city had a reputation for business and was a center for trade between Rus and European countries. The Solovetsky Monastery, built by citizens of Novgorod, had existed on Cape Pur-Navolok long before Arkhangelsk was founded. In 1583, the tsar ordered two of his army commanders (voevody), Nashchokin and Zaleshanin-Volokhov, to go to the Dvina and build a great city. The French merchant Jean de Savage, who visited the area in 1587, made the following note in his travel diary: "The construction is superb: there are neither nails nor hooks, but everything is surpassingly well made for all that."
The city was initially called Novye Kholmogory. It was located at the place on Cape Pur-Navolok where the Severnaya Dvina River delta begins, before the river splits up into branches and channels and flows into the White Sea. Arkhangelsk was Russia's first commercial seaport and its first sea route to the West. No other northern city enjoyed such fame. Merchants from many Russian cities came here, and sea routes from every European country led to Arkhangelsk.
Dvina river bridge.
The climate in Arkhangelsk is chilly, even sometimes in summer. There has four distinct seasons in the region but summer doesn't last very long. Winter temperature range is -25C to 0C in January and the snowfall is not moderate. Thanks to the nearness of the White Sea there are no too cold days in Arkhangelsk. For example, the temperature can reach the level -45C in Holmogory or Kotlas, and other towns situated farther from the coast, deeper in the continent. The temperature can reach the level of -35C. In April, the temperature range is 0C to 10C and it is raining and sleeting often. Sometimes it is snowing in May. July is mostly sunny occasional showers and the temperature range is +10C to +25C. October can be windy and rainy with temperatures from -5C to 10C. In Arkhangelsk, the summer months are characterisised by long, light days. The summer period is called - The Period of The White Nights. On the contrary the length of the light day is no longer then 4 hours in December.
An unusual example of local "vernacular architecture" is the so-called Sutyaguin House (Небоскрёб Сутягина, 'Sutyaguin's skyscraper'). This 13-story, 144-ft tall residence of the local entrepreneur Nikolai Petrovich Sutyagin is reported to be the world's, or at least Russia's, tallest wooden house. Constructed by Mr. Sutyagin and his family over 15 years (starting in 1992), without formal plans or a building permit, the structure deteriorated while Mr. Sutyagin spent a few years in prison on racketeering charges. In 2008 it was condemned by the city as a fire hazard, and is currently awaiting demolition.
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