North Region

With its terrain ranging from dense coniferous forests in the south to Arctic tundra conditions in the north, the North Region is one of the twelve economic regions of Russia. The North Region consists of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Republic of Karelia, Komi Republic, Murmansk Oblast and Vologda Oblast, as well as Nenets Autonomous Okrug which is incorporated in Arkhangelsk Oblast.

The Arkhangelsk Oblast of the North Region includes the remote volcanic archipelago of Franz Josef Land and the island of Novaya Zemlya. It is rich in history and culture with treasures such as the 16th Antoniev Siysky Monastery tucked away in dense forest and the World Heritage Site Solovetsky Islands lying in the White Sea of Arkhangelsk Oblast. The region is also known for a population of Polar bears which are genetically unique.

The Republic of Karelia is located between the Baltic and the White Seas on the North Region of Russia. There are tens of thousands of rivers, streams and lakes in the Republic of Karelia, and the Vodlozero and Kalevalsky National Parks fall under its jurisdiction. Natural resources include around fifty useful minerals such as iron ore, vanadium and molybdenum. Up to 85 percent of the sparsely populated Komi Republic is covered in forests and swamps. The vast expanse of virgin boreal forest and alpine tundra, incorporating the Pechora-Llych Nature Reserve and the Yugyd Va National Park, is designated as a natural UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Murmansk Oblast of the North Region consists primarily of an area known as the Kola Peninsula, with the Barents Sea to the north and the White Sea to the east and south. Due to the top layer of the soil being stripped during the last ice age, the Kola Peninsula had its mineral riches exposed, making mining operations an important source of income for the Murmansk Oblast. The city of Murmansk serves as a vital seaport for the North Region, and has the added advantage of remaining ice-free even in harsh winter conditions because of the warm North Atlantic current sweeping past.

Lying on the south-western border of the North Region, the Vologda Oblast is home to a large number of historic monuments, including the World Heritage Site of Ferapontov Convent, the late 14th century Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery and the medieval towns of Belozersk and Velikiy Ustyug. Taking its name from the river that runs through it, the city of Vologda is the administrative center of the oblast. Built by order of Ivan the Terrible, the Saint Sophia Cathedral is one of Vologda’s main attractions.


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