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Arkhangelsk ( ), formerly called Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russiamarker. It lies on both banks of the Northern Dvina river near its exit into the White Seamarker in the far north of European Russiamarker. City districts spread for over along the banks of the river and numerous islands of its delta. Arkhangelsk was the chief seaport of medieval Russia. It is served by Talagi Airportmarker and the smaller Vaskovo Airportmarker. The city is located at the very end of a long railroad, connecting it to Moscowmarker via Vologdamarker and Yaroslavlmarker. Population:


Early history

The area where Arkhangelsk is situated was known to the Vikings as Bjarmaland. Ohthere from Hålogaland told from his travels circa 800 of an area by a river and the White Sea with many buildings. This was probably the place later known as Arkhangelsk. According to Snorri Sturluson there was a Viking raid on this area in 1027, led by Tore Hund.

In 1989, an unusually rich silver treasure was found by the mouth of Dvina, right next to present day Arkhangelsk. It was probably buried in the beginning of the 12th century, and contained articles that may have been up to 200 years old at that time.

Most of the findings are made up by a total of of silver, mostly coins. Jewelry and pieces of jewelry hail from Russia or neighboring areas. Most coins were German, but there was also a smaller number of Kufan, English, Bohemian, Hungarian, Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian coins.

It is hard to place this find historically until further research is completed. There are at least two possible interpretations. It may be a treasure belonging to the society outlined by the Norse source material. Generally such finds, whether from Scandinavia, the Baltic area or Russia, are closely tied to well-established agricultural societies with considerable trade activity.

Alternatively, like the Russian scientists who published the find in 1992, one may see it as an evidence of a stronger force of Russian colonization than previously thought.

Novgorod Russians arrive

In the 12th century, the Novgorodiansmarker established the Archangel Michael Monastery in the estuary of the Northern Dvina.

The main trade centre of the area at that time was Kholmogorymarker, located slightly upstream where the rivers Dvina and Pinega meet. Written sources indicate that Kholmogory existed early in the 12th century, but there is no archeological material to illuminate the early history of the town. It is not known whether this settlement was originally Russian, or if it goes back to pre-Russian times. Centrally in the small town it is today, the so called Gorodok can be found, a large mound of building remains and river sand. However this has not been archeologically excavated.

Norwegian-Russian conflict


Arkhangelsk came to be important in the rivalry between Norwegian and Russian interests in the northern areas. From Novgorod, the Russian interest sphere was extended far north to the Kola peninsulamarker in the 12th century. However, here Norway enforced taxes and rights to the fur trade. A compromise agreement entered in 1251 was soon broken.

In 1411, Yakov Stepanovitch from Novogorod went to attack Northern Norway. This was the beginning of a series of clashes, and in 1419 Norwegian ships with 500 soldiers entered the White Sea. The "Murmaners", as the Norwegians were called (cf. Murmanskmarker), plundered many Russian settlements along the coast, among them the Archangel Michael monastery.

Novgorod managed to drive the Norwegians back. However, in 1478 the area was taken over by Ivan III and passed to Muscovy with the rest of Novgorod Republic.

Trade with England, Scotland and the Netherlands

In 1555, Ivan the Terrible granted trade privileges to Englishmarker merchants who founded the Company of Merchant Adventurers and began sending ships annually into the estuary of the Northern Dvina.

The meeting between Ivan and the Englishmen happened by chance; one of three English ships on their way to find the Northeast passage to China in 1553 ended up in the White Sea. The other two ships disappeared. Dutchmarker merchants also started bringing their ships into the White Sea from the 1560s. Scottish and English merchants dominated in the 16th century; however, by the 17th century it was mainly the Dutch that sailed to the White Sea area.

Founding and further development

Plan of New Dvina Fort in Arkhangelsk
In 1584, Ivan ordered the founding of New Kholmogory (which would later be renamed after the nearby Archangel Michael Monastery).

At the time access to the Baltic Seamarker was still mostly controlled by Sweden, so while Arkhangelsk was icebound in winter, it remained Moscowmarker's almost sole link to the sea-trade. Local inhabitants, called Pomors, were the first to explore trade routes to Northern Siberiamarker as far as the trans-Uralmarker city of Mangazeyamarker and beyond.

In 1693, Peter I ordered the creation of a state shipyard in Arkhangelsk. A year later the ships Svyatoye Prorochestvo (Holy Prophecy), Apostol Pavel (Apostle Paul) and the yacht Svyatoy Pyotr (Saint Peter) were sailing in the White Sea. However he also realized that Arkhangelsk would always be limited as a port due to the five months of ice cover, and after a successful campaign against Swedishmarker armies in the Baltic area, he founded Saint Petersburgmarker in 1704.

In 1722 Peter I decreed that Arkhangelsk should no longer accept goods more than it was sufficient for the town itself (for the so-called domestic consumption). It was due to the tsar's will to shift all international marine trade to St. Petersburg. This factor contributed a lot to the deterioration of Arkhangelsk that continued up to 1762 when this decree was canceled.

Arkhangelsk declined in the 18th century as the Baltic trade became ever more important.In the early years of the 19th Century, the arrest and prolonged detention by the Russian authorities of John Bellingham, an English export representative based atArkhangelsk, was the indirect cause of Bellingham later assassinating British Prime Minister Spencer Perceval.

Arkhangelsk's economy revived at the end of the 19th century when a railroad to Moscowmarker was completed and timber became a major export. The city resisted Bolshevik rule from 1918 to 1920 and was a stronghold of the anti-Bolshevik White Army supported by the military intervention of Entente forces along an Allied expedition including Canadian and American soldiers, known as the Polar Bear Expedition.

During both World Wars, Arkhangelsk was a major port of entry for Allied aid. During World War II, the city became known in the West as one of the two main destinations (along with Murmanskmarker) of the Arctic Convoys bringing supplies to assist the Russians who were cut off from their normal supply lines.

Today, Arkhangelsk remains a major seaport, now open year-round due to improvements in icebreakers. The city is primarily a timber and fishing center.

On March 16, 2004, 58 people were killed in an explosion at an apartment block in the city.

Architecture and monuments

"Sutyagin House", claimed to be the world's tallest wooden single-family house
Mikhail Lomonosov came from a Pomor village near Kholmogory. A monument to him was installed to a design by Ivan Martos in 1829. A monument to Peter I was designed by Mark Antokolsky in 1872 and installed in 1914.

A maritime school, technical university, and a regional museum are located in the city. After its historical churches were destroyed during Stalin's rule, the city's main extant landmarks are the fort-like Merchant Yards (1668–84) and the (1701–05). The Assumption Church on the Dvina embankment (1742–44) was rebuilt in 2004.

A remarkable structure is also Arkhangelsk TV Mast, a 151 metres tall guyed mast for FM-/TV-broadcasting built in 1964. This tubular steel mast has six crossbars equipped with gangways, which run in two levels from the mast structure to the crossbars. On these crossbars there are also several antennas installed ( image).

An unusual example of local "vernacular architecture" is the so-called Sutyagin housemarker (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 the courts ordered it to be demolished by February 1, 2009. On December 26, 2008, the tower was pulled down, and the remainder was dismantled manually over the course of the next several months.


Education and Culture

Archangelsk is home the following education institutes:
  • Pomorskiy State University
  • Northern State Medical University
  • Arkhangelsk State Technical Universitymarker
  • Makarov state Maritime Academy
  • A branch of the All-Russian Distance Institute of Finance and Economics

The cultural life of Archangelsk includes

  • The Archangelsk Lomonosov Drama Theatre
  • Arkhangelsk Philarmonia
  • Arkhangelsk Youth Theatre
  • Arkhangelsk Oblast Museum
  • Arkhangelsk Art Museum
  • Stepan Pisakhov Museum


Bandy is the biggest sport in the city. Vodnik was the best team in the Russian Bandy League for almost a decade. Arkhangelsk hosted the Bandy World Championships in 1999 and 2003.

Notable people from Archangelsk

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Arkhangelsk is twinned with:

Popular Culture

  • Arkhangelsk figures prominently in the prelude of the film Goldeneye and the game Goldeneye 007, as the site of a chemical weapons factory. The landscape featured in the opening sequences of the film, however, is unlike anything found in the Arkhangelsk region.

Archangel is the name of a novel by Robert Harris which is partially set in this city.


External links|24-story building in Arkhangelskfile:Arkhangelsk bridge.jpg|Bridge across the Dvina Riverfile:Archangel_riverbank.jpg|Assumption Church (1742–44)file:Archangel savior.jpg|Naval Cathedral (1760–76)file:Archangel 1927.jpg|The Archangel Monastery (1685–99)file:Архангельск 1909.jpg|The Trinity Cathedral (1709–65)file:Galyamin riverside.jpg|View of Arkhangelsk Quay in 1826file:Panorama Arkhangelsk 19 century.jpg|19th-century view of Arkhangelskfile:Dvina quay.jpg|Northern Dvina Quayfile:Russia500rubles97front.jpg|Arkhangelsk's monument to Peter the Great is represented on the 500-rouble banknotefile:Mark in Arkhangelsk RU.JPG|Mark V tank in Arkhangelsk, captured by the RKKA during the British intervention in Russia.file:Arkhangelsk_Old_city.JPG| A traditional city manor in a preserved district of Arkhangelskfile:Northern Dvina embankment, Navy boat.JPG| A view on a Russian Navy boat from the embankment of the Northern Dvina river

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