Magnificent panoramas of this northern land will impress any tourist.
The Kola Peninsula is washed by two northern seas, which are the White Sea and the Barents Sea. In the western part, its territory is covered with mountain ranges – the Khibiny Mountains and the Lovozero Massif. The Keyvy Mountains lie in the central part.
The Kola Peninsula became inhabited more than ten thousand years ago. The so-called Sami people and Lop’ people left a lot of evidences, for instance, petroglyphes (stone paintings).
The flora and fauna of the Kola Peninsula comprise rare species of plants, birds, fish, terricole and swimming animals.
The Kola Peninsula – the view from the road
The relics of the Ice Age
The Kola Peninsula was the ancient centre of glaciation. During the Ice Age these glaciers moved to Europe and Asia. The rocky relief of the region still bears the imprint of this process.
The modern nature of the Kola Peninsula is relatively young. The last glacier left its territory a few thousand years ago. The northern climate has preserved the nature of the Peninsula almost intact, as if the glacier had left just yesterday.
Great many lakes, rivers and rivulets, waterfalls and rapids, thin forest and vast tundra make this northern region especially beautiful.
These rivers and lakes are the relics of the Ice Age. Lakes have not become shallow and have preserved the same water-level they had after the deglaciation. River beds have not been worn away, they are still rich in rapids and steps.
The mild climate of the Kola Peninsula
Northwest Russia is characterized by a surprisingly mild climate, thanks to the Nordkapp Stream, flowing from the Atlantic to the Arctic Ocean.
Thus, the north of the Kola Peninsula is warmer than its south and centre.
Quote: The ice-free port of Murmansk lies on the northern shore of the Kola Peninsula.
White Nights on the Kola Peninsula
Lake Kolvitskoye. A warm June night
The White Nights season lasts at least one hundred days, from the beginning of May till the middle of August. The sun does not set below the horizon for one and a half months, from the 30th of May till the 14th of July.
This “Eternal Day” is favorable for the growth of various plants.
The development and desolation of the Kola Peninsula
Due to the convenient location, the Kola Peninsula had been built up with Soviet military bases. After the dissolution of the USSR, the bases were wound up. Nowadays, there are many ghost towns near former military bases. It seems the time has stopped there…
In conclusion, we would like to tell you a short historical story about the undeclared war of 1809.
The maritime banditry of Englishmen
In 1809 while doubling the Kola Peninsula, the English frigates “Ney Aden” and “Leemerbel” were robbing Russian seaports (Kildin, Kola and others). The robbery became especially devastating, since Englishmen burnt residential and industrial buildings. It was a real disaster for people, living in this northern region.
Once, a barge with three Englishmen on board broke the mooring near island Zmeinyi. The English sailors were saved from imminent death by Russian coast-dwellers. Citizens of the towns, which had been robbed by drunk Englishmen, considered them to be castaways instead of prisoners.
There is another story about the commander of the English frigate, who decided to go on a hunt. Unfortunately, the killed deer was too heavy for the hunter and his two servants. One sailor stayed to guard the game. When he finally left the deer and came to the shore, he saw the frigate sailing away.
Coast-dwellers brought this lost Englishman to the military governor. Then he was moving from one department to other until he reached the capital of Russia.
The fate of Russians, who were taken captives during this banditry, was cleared up in written sources. Heading back, the English captain all of a sudden disembarked them off the Norwegian coast. They managed to take a Danish merchant vessel and return to the Russian seaport Archangelsk.
Photos by Andrey Grachev
Some parts of this article are based on material taken from the books about the Kola Peninsula written by O. Semyonov-Tyan-Shansky and S. Aksentiev.