Ermak Travel Guide











Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

Cultural (and not so cultural) events

Interesting information and useful tips


Description of Arkhangelsk

Arkhangelsk is a city in the north of the European part of Russia. It is the administrative center of the Arkhangelsk region and Primorsky municipal district. The city of regional importance, forms the municipality of the city of Arkhangelsk with the status of the city district. Population: 349,742 people. (2018). Arkhangelsk is the largest city among the regions of the North of European Russia (Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, Vologda regions, the Republic of Komi and Karelia).

The settlements founded in the 12th century by the settles from Novgorod in 1584, by the decree of Ivan the Terrible. It was formed into the city around the Mikhail Archangel Monastery located on the Cape Pur-Navolok. In the middle of the next century, the monastery burned down and was revived in a new place, to the south of the actively constructed city. During the years of Soviet rule it was demolished, now this place is built up with residential houses. The history of the emergence of Arkhangelsk is reflected in its coat of arms, which depicts Archangel Michael, traditionally striking devil with a sword (the arms of the same subject are seen on coat of arms of Brussels and Biala Podlaska). In Soviet times, the design of the coat of arms was replaced with something nautical and logging subjects, but to the 400th anniversary of Arkhangelsk, it was returned to the city, although the composition was somewhat modernized. Interestingly, the name of the city, despite its “ideological alienation,” did not change during the Soviet era, while neighboring Severodvinsk, formed around another monastery, Nikolo-Korelsky, managed to get to both Sudostroem (Shipbuilding) and Molotovsky (after Soviet leader Molotov) before obtaining its current name.

In 1984 he was awarded the Order of Lenin. In 2009 he was awarded the honorary title of the Russian Federation City of Military Glory.




Travel Destinations in Arkhangelsk

Arkhangelsk is located on the shores and islands of the Northern Dvina. Several bridges are thrown across the river and its arms. The historical core - the present central areas of the city - was formed from Cape Pur-Navolok as a reference point; The cape is located on the right bank of the river, near the place where the large sleeve called Kuznechyk departs from it. The streets here are either parallel to the embankment of the Northern Dvina in a smooth semicircle, or depart from the embankment inland.
Now Arkhangelsk is divided into several urban districts:

Lomonosovsky and Oktyabrsky okrugs are central areas of the city, the first of which is located to the south, and the second - to the north
Varavino-Factoria District - areas on the right bank in the southeastern part of the city, in popular language Varavino and Factoria areas
Isakogorsk District - Isakogorka, a district in the south of the city, on the left bank of the Dvina
Maimaksa district - Maimaksa, a region in the northwest beyond Solombala
Okrug May Hill - a district in the southeast, between Lomonosov and Varavino
Solombala District - the historic district of Solombala on the left bank of the Northern Dvina
Northern District - area on the left bank north of Solombaly
Tsiglomen district - Tsiglomen, district in the west, behind Kegostrov


Most of the attractions of Arkhangelsk are concentrated on or near four city highways: Troitsky Avenue, the Northern Dvina Embankment, Lomonosov Avenue and Chumbarov-Luchinsky Avenue. Something remarkable is in Solombala. Arkhangelsk has a lot of various monuments, as well as several dozen old buildings. Each building is carefully furnished with a large brass plate with a brief description of the monument of architecture, so you will not pass by. However, a coherent excursion route to these attractions does not exist.




The most comfortable time to see Arkhangelsk is summer. During May, June, and July the sun seems to spend 24/7 in the sky. This is actually not so: Arkhangelsk is 300 km south of the Arctic Circle, so it doesn't have polar days or polar nights. But prepare to be awakened by sun peering through you window at 2 AM in summer. The other side of this is 2-4 hours of light per day in winter.

Spring is late (snowfalls in May are quite usual), summer is relatively warm (+20-25C), first snow comes in October or November, winters are harsh (-20-30C, windy). From November to May, the Northern Dvina and White Sea are covered with ice, and ship navigation is possible with icebreakers only.



History of Arkhangelsk

Early history
Vikings knew the area around Arkhangelsk as Bjarmaland. Ohthere of Hålogaland told circa 890 of his travels in 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, Vikings led by Thorir Hund raided this area in 1027.

In 1989, an unusually impressive silver treasure was found by local farm workers 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 two hundred years old at that time.

Most of the findings comprised a total of 1.6 kilograms (3.5 lb) of silver, largely in the form of coins. Jewelry and pieces of jewelry come from Russia or neighboring areas. The majority of the coins were German, but the hoard also included 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 evidence of a stronger case of Russian colonization than previously thought.


The Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk monastery on Cape Pur-Navoloka was first mentioned in the annals in 1419, when it was devastated by the Norwegians (Murmans).

In 1553, the English navigator Richard Chansler sailed along the White Sea to the village of Nenoksa on the Summer Beach, and then to the Nikolo-Korelsky Monastery on the island of Yagra (now the territory of the city of Severodvinsk). Since that time, trade with the British and Dutch began to develop rapidly at the mouth of the Northern Dvina.

In connection with the threat of an attack by Sweden on March 4 (14), 1583, Ivan the Terrible signed a decree ordering the construction of a fortress on Cape Pur Navolok.

In 1584, which is considered the year of the founding of the city, the governors "one year ... put the city in the circle of the Arkhangelsk monastery" prison. The resulting settlement was called Novokholmogory. Opposite the fortress, a ship’s pier was built on the Dvina bank. On March 26 (April 5), 1596, the new city on Dvina was first named the Arkhangelsk city by the monastery that was in it, and on August 1, 1613 this name was approved in connection with the official decision on the administrative independence of the city of Arkhangelsk from Kholmogory.

As part of the Russian kingdom
Since the late 80s. XVI century Arkhangelsk became the center of Russian foreign trade, bringing up to 60% of the revenue of the state treasury. The growth of trade was accompanied by the development of the city. The dense wooden building was the cause of many fires, in one of which, in 1637, the Mikhailo-Arkhangelsk monastery, which was named the city, burned down.

The vigorous activity of the international trading port contributed in the second half of the 17th century to a change in the traditional structure of that medieval Russian city as it was during the first century of its existence. Its center became the port. The former center, the wooden prison, lost some of its administrative functions, as the cottage was transferred from it to the "stone city". By the end of the XVII century and in the subsequent century, Arkhangelsk grew along the Dvina.

With the outbreak of the Northern War, the White Sea became for Russia the only safe trade route to Western Europe. In this regard, the production activity of the Solombala shipyard increased.

In 1708, among the 8 provinces of the Russian Empire, the Arkhangelogorod province was formed, the city became the center of the province. The first governor was appointed Dvina governor P. A. Golitsyn.

Beginning in 1713, Tsar Peter I began to restrict trade through Arkhangelsk with his decrees, effectively sacrificing his interests in favor of the new Baltic port of St. Petersburg. Here he allowed to import only such a quantity of goods that was necessary "for feeding the population." In 1718, Peter I issued a decree prohibiting the export of bread and the import of most foreign goods through Arkhangelsk.

As part of the Russian Empire
The reign of Catherine II lifted restrictions on foreign trade through the northern gates of Russia, but the city was no longer able to regain the status of the country's main port.

During the Napoleonic Wars and in connection with the continental blockade of Great Britain in 1807-1813. Arkhangelsk experienced a new economic boom, as it was the only port in Russia where British goods could arrive. The city continued to be one of the major shipbuilding centers.

In the late XIX - early XX centuries it turned into the largest timber industry and timber export center of the country. The city also served as an important base for the development of the Arctic and the establishment of shipping along the Northern Sea Route.

In 1915, under the management of the Arkhangelsk Commercial Port, an icebreaking bureau was opened, which included 13 icebreakers and icebreaking vessels, which laid the foundation for the icebreaking flotilla. These vessels in winter navigation provided for the passage of vessels from the throat of the White Sea to Arkhangelsk.

More than two hundred polar research expeditions departed from the berths of the port, including V. Ya. Chichagov, F. P. Litke, V. A. Rusanov, P. K. Pakhtusov, G. Ya. Sedov.

With the foundation of the port of Murmansk on the shore of the ice-free Kola Bay in 1916, where fish processing and ship-repair enterprises were moved over time, the city lost its unique significance as the main northern port.


As part of the Soviet state
During the Civil War, it became the backbone of the formation of the Northern White Army under the command of General Miller and the center of foreign intervention. At this time, Arkhangelsk was the capital of the Northern Region. Taken in 1920 by units of the Red Army.

The Decree of the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee “On the Formation of Administrative and Territorial Associations of Regional and Regional Significance in the RSFSR” dated January 14, 1929 from October 1, 1929, formed the Northern Territory with its center in the city of Arkhangelsk.

Despite the ideology of the Soviet state and religious connotations of the name of the city, they did not change it. Nevertheless, the Soviet period was marked by the destruction and demolition of many monuments of ancient architecture. Over a dozen churches were destroyed, including the oldest buildings of the city: the Arkhangelsk monastery with a cathedral in 1685-89, the Christmas Church in 1696-1712, the Resurrection Church in 1699-1715, the Trinity Cathedral in 1709-1743, the Assumption Church in 1744 . and Transfiguration Cathedral on the island of Solombala.

During the war years, Arkhangelsk with Murmansk and Molotovsky was one of the main ports that received cargo from the Allied countries under Lend-Lease. Materials totaling 11.3 billion - for the USSR (138.31 billion dollars in 2008 prices) were sent to recipients. The first military winter was harsh; navigation began hard. The preparation and arrangement of moorings in Arkhangelsk and Molotovsk went in a hurry. In December, assistants to the commander of the U.S. Navy arrived to organize permanent U.S. missions at pick-up points. The assistant attache, Philip Warchell, led their work. By the winter of 1942-1943, the situation in the northern directions sharply worsened. The enemy sought to cut the Kirov railway, the land connection with Murmansk would then be interrupted. At the direction of the Soviet government and the People’s Commissar of the Navy Nikolai Kuznetsov, the main recipients of Lend-Lease goods were Arkhangelsk and Molotovsk.

In 1956, the Kuznechevsky Bridge was opened, connecting the center of Arkhangelsk with Solombala. After 8 years, the Severodvinsk bridge was opened, connecting the center of Arkhangelsk with the left-bank part of the city. In 1984, Arkhangelsk was awarded the Order of Lenin.

Post-soviet period
In the 1990s, the city experienced a severe economic crisis. The population of the city decreased by 70 thousand people. In the 2000s, the first pedestrian street appeared in Arkhangelsk - Chumbarova-Luchinsky Avenue. In 2004, the Arkhangelsk tram ceased to exist, and after another 4 years - the Arkhangelsk trolleybus. In March 2004, a residential building on Sovetsky Cosmonauts Avenue was blown up by a drunk fitter, 58 people died.

In 2009, the Drama Theater named after MV Lomonosov, the old building was repaired and the new building of the puppet theater was built. In 2010-2012, the main educational institutions of higher education in the Arkhangelsk region were united, according to the decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of April 7, 2010, into the Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after MV Lomonosov. In 2012, the following were closed in Arkhangelsk: sawmill No. 2, LDK im. Lenin (Sawmill No. 3); in 2013 - Solombala Pulp and Paper Mill.






By plane
Arkhangelsk has two airports: Talagi (ARH IATA) for interregional flights and Vaskovo for flights within Arkhangelsk region. Talagi is the hub for Nordavia. There are several daily flights from Moscow (from Sheremetyevo Intl. Airport served by Nordavia, and Vnukovo Intl. Airport served by UTair), and Saint Petersburg (from Pulkovo Intl. Airport served by Nordavia and Rossiya Airlines). One-way domestic flights usually range between 4-6000 rubles.

Apart from seasonal flights to and from a few holiday destinations in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, international flights are limited to services to and from Tromsø in Norway.

Talagi airport is about 25 min drive from the city centre. The going rate for a taxi to the airport is about 200 rubles but in the opposite direction, enterprising cab drivers ask for around 400 rubles. Buses 12 and 12к get you from Talagi to city centre for a mere 18 rubles but takes almost an hour and the timetable is not optimal.

By train
A slightly more adventurous traveller will probably opt for the train, which from Moscow's Yaroslavsky Vokzal takes about 23 h with one to two trains per day. A train journey from Saint Petersburg clocks in at around 27 h with up to three services per week, other cities with direct trains to Arkhangelsk includes Kotlas and Murmansk. Also, there is one international train service from Minsk, the capital of Belarus, every Wednesday taking three nights. As in most northern Russian cities extra trains to and from the Black Sea usually appears during the summer months, catering to domestic tourists but open for anyone to use. Schedules change from year to year so check beforehand.

The train station is situated on the eastern edge of town, at Prospekt Dzerzhinskogo 2. Buses and taxis are available and will whisk you to the city centre in a just few minutes.

By car
1200 km by M8 road from Moscow via Yaroslavl and Vologda, and you are in Arkhangelsk (couple of hundreds km more if you drive from St Petersburg). The road is paved, but its quality wishes to be much better.

By ship
Archangelsk is a significant commercial and fishing port acting as well as a gateway to Northern Sea Path (Северный морской путь). But there are no any regular ship connections with Arkhangelsk excluding river commuter ships.

Get around
Arkhangelsk is spread for 42 km via Northern Dvina river and has even several islands with no bridge connection included into its metropolitan zone. So getting around certain districts can be complicated. But all main attractions are located in the center and can be explored by foot.

Public transportation is represented with buses and marshrutki (shared minibuses). It is difficult to use without knowing Russian.

River transport is active during the summer season to connect river island vicinities with the city center.

Commuter trains service connects several suburbs with the city, but is interesting mainly for locals keeping their dachas. Each destination usually have one train in the morning and one in the evening.

Getting around by car or taxi is probably the best way to explore Arkhangelsk. Taxis are inexpensive and could be found near most attractions. Car rental service is represented by local providers only.

All means of transport including taxis reduce their activity significantly after evening rush-hours. This can be especially sensitive in winter, so do not allow yourself to stay half an hour on a -30C frost - order taxi by phone.


Hotels, motels and where to sleep

Most tourists visit Arkhangelsk as a transit point to Solovetsky Islands, so the sleeping infrastructure there is quite scarce and oriented mostly on business visitors.

1 Belomorskaya Hotel. Built for budget tourists during Soviet times, still offers typical Soviet way of service. Located between city center and the railway station. Cheapest rooms have shared bathrooms. from 990 rubles per night.
2 Hotel Meridian. Located between city center and Solombala, with shared bathrooms in cheapest rooms. from 1040 rubles per night.

3 Hotel Dvina, ☎ +7 8182 28-70-98, e-mail: A Soviet-time 12-floor building was renovated recently and is the best location right in the center but still lack in service and comfort. 3 stars. From 2300 rubles per night.
4 Pur-Navolok Hotel. Probably, the most comfortable and expat-friendly hotel in the city, located in the center on the embankment of Northern Dvina. 4 stars. From 3000 rubles per night.
5 Business Center Hotel. A new 4-star hotel, located in the center of the city.
6 Malye Karely, ☎ +7 (8182) 462472, e-mail: Located near the Malye Korely museum, 24 km from city center, this hotel offers both room and cottage accommodation, as well as handful of daily activities like skiing in winter etc. From 2100 rubles per night.


Restaurant, taverns and where to eat

1 Biblio-cafe (Кофейня "Высотка"), Lenin square. A nice caffeterie in the heart of the city. Shared with a library and performed with old books and writers' portraits on walls. Lovely place for a cup of coffee.
2 Treskoed (Трескоед), prospekt Chumbarova-Luchinskogo, 8, ☎ +7 8182 44-03-02. An authentic restaurant of traditional Arctic fish cuisine. Menu includes both Russian and Norwegian dishes, the prices are reasonable, and all information is accessible in English and Norwegian.


Cultural (and not so cultural) events



Interesting information and useful tips