The Largest City Located Within The Arctic Circle Is?
Answer: Murmansk, Russia
Located in the extreme northwest corner of Russia on the Kola Bay (an inlet of the Barents Sea), you’ll find the port city of Murmansk (named for the Murman coast). Murman is an older Russian term for Norwegians, and both the region and the city in it are in close proximity to Norway. It is most notable for being the largest city, by a wide margin, inside the Arctic Circle.
At first glance, the population of approximately 300,000 people seems high, given that the city sits just two degrees inside the Arctic Circle, but there are a couple of factors contributing to Murmansk’s size compared to other similarly positioned Arctic settlements.
First, while still having long, harsh winters, the moderating effects of the Gulf Stream on the Barents Sea provides the region with somewhat warmer temperatures, relatively speaking, compared to other regions at similarly high latitudes, which makes the area more bearable for year-round habitation.
Second, unlike more isolated Arctic settlements, Murmansk is heavily connected to its country’s transportation grid. You don’t have to get there by a special plane or take a dangerous seasonal road across ice—you can drive on a highway or take the train, assuming you don’t mind a little cold weather along the way.
Image courtesy of Google Earth.