Arkhangelsk, the administrative, industrial and cultural centre of the Arkhangelskaya Region, is situated on the banks of the Northern Dvina, not far from the place where it flows into the White Sea. The population of the city is over 400 thousand people. It was founded in 1584 by the order of Ivan the Terrible, one of the greatest tzars in the history of Russia. The place which was chosen for the foundation of the town was the cape of Pur- Navolok- a little strip of land which stretches out into the waters of the Northern Dvina at the very place where it divides into several streams.
In the 17th century Arkhangelsk became a major centre of Russian trade with foreign countries, a big sea river port on the Northern Dvina. This period of history of Arkhangelsk is connected with the name of another great Russian tzar Peter I. He visited the town three times (in 1693, 1694, 1702 ) and influenced its development and strengthening very much. According to his order the first Russian merchant seaport and shipyard were built in Arkhangelsk.
Now Arkhangelsk is a major centre of education and science in the North of Russia. Its Technical University is one of the largest of its kind in the country. The other two higher schools- the Promor State University and the Medical Academy- train all kinds of specialists for the Arkhangelskaya Region.
The city is also a large cultural centre of the North. It has got three theatres, two concert halls and quite a number of museums, among them the Regional Museum of Local Lore, the Museum of Fine Arts and the Museum of Northern Seafaring which tell the guests of the city about the history and the lifestyle of the locals. The history of the city began in the 12th century, when there was found a monastery of Michael the Archangel on the territory of the city. But the city foundation is connected with the name of Ivan the Terrible. In 1538 he ordered to erect a wooden fortress. At first it was called the New city but was renamed in Arkhangelsk in 1613.
One of the main Arkhangelsk’s points of interest is a Novodvinsky fortress. In 1700 Peter the Great ordered to built a citadel on the island Linsky Priluk in the mouth of the Northern Dvina river. It is the place where the first victory over the Swedes was got during the Northern War.
Arkhangelsk is a city of contrast. It is a large sea- and river-port with outstanding modern architecture among which a famous skyscraper on the Lenin’s square stands out. Majestic spirit of northern seas and affluent riverscan be felt here . An old bridge across the Northern Dvina is a very impressive piece of architecture. It strikes with its unusual construction and length.
Arkhangelsk satisfies the status of a big industrial and trade city. However, there still remain blocks of ancient architectural style. One of the most ancient city streets, where wooden houses of the 19th-20th centuries were moved, has become a pedestrian precinct.
Exceptional feature of some ancient streets is not just wooden houses, but wooden pavements. They point out Arkhangelsk among other Russian cities. Today, wooden pavements can be hardly met in cities and even in old blocks. Old wooden buildings of the early 18th century has remained on an aisland Solombala. The Admiralty building (1820) reminds of a military centre which used to be located here.
The Small Philharmonic Hall is a very unusual piece of architecture. It is sometimes called “Kirchen” (a church from German) for its alike with west-European cathedrals. One can enjoy the organ play here.
Cathedral architecture of the city makes it closer with the majority of old Russian towns and citied. The most striking example is the Trinity Church (1745).
The city is famous for its interesting museum collections. A large collection of ancient-Russian culture is presented in the art museum. Here you can see icons performed by Novgorod artists, wooden sculptures and the Stroganovs golden needle factories' works.
Arkhangelsk regional museum acquaints visitors with pieces of folk art: needlework, wooden and birchbark dishes, hand-painted spinning wheels.
Come to Arkhangelsk and you will face incredibly marvelous northern port, surrounded with an unusual city of contrasts. City hotels satisfy high world’s standards and highly developed tourist infrastructure creates conditions for a good rest. Meanwhile, Arkhangelsk is a good place for ancient Russia, extreme and unusual trips lovers.