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Russia passing by


Een blog over reizen in Rusland, dat grote land dat mij meer uitdaagt dan angst inboezemt. Dat land met zijn eindloze wegen en routes.

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Dear friends I'm sincerely glad to share my impressions about small remarkable town of the Kola Peninsula, Kirovsk - a pearl of the Khibiny Mountains. Me and my friends like mountain skiing and spent there these New Year and Christmas holidays. The town is located on the north of Russia above the Polar Circle. Historically the town is closely linked with the foundation of Joint Stock Company "Apatite". Within 80 years extraction and processing of apatite-nefelin ore is carrying out here. The main production of the enterprise is apatite concentrate. It is known to all manufacturers of phosphoric fertilizers in Russia and abroad.

But the Khibiny are famous not only for earth treasures. This town is famous all over the country and far beyond its borders due to the majestic Khibiny Mountains. The beauty of this place leaves nobody indifferent. Snow-white mountains, noisy rivers, transparent lakes, Polar Night and Midnight Sun of White nights, the bewitching Polar light and other "miracles" for a long time remain in my memory.

Town has been developing the tourist infrastructure with comfortable hotels, entertaining centers, modern mountain-skiing complexes, professional and walking ski tracks. Numerous holidays, festivals, national and international various sport competitions, including extreme sports annually take place here. The climate above the Polar Circle is severe, however citizens of Kirovsk love their town and always warmly welcome visitors. I have visited Kirovsk first time four years ago in spring and was looking forward for this trip.

Kirovsk is located in the centre of the Kola Peninsula, on the southern part of the Khibiny Mountains. The mountains closely rising to Kirovsk from three parts, give its unique color. Wherever you go, a picturesque slope or a ridge of mountain tops will be seen by you. The mood of the mountains varies depending on the weather, the season and days. The weather is not stable and is accompanied by gusty winds.

Speaking about the weather it is not enough to say that it is unstable. Sometimes it changes several times a day. You may leave your home in a crystal-clear morning, but in two hours a gusty wind appear from nowhere, brings clouds, snowstorm and it lasts from several hours to several days. Snow covers the ground throughout 220 days in a year. In spite of this fact streets in Kirovsk are quite clean from snow, but in comparison with the other European towns snow is not removed from the streets and snow snowdrift reach the height of several meters. It looks strange and funny while walking in the town you may discover just a headlight of a car in the middle of a snowdrift and there are a lot.

Here it is possible to observe the Polar Night in winter and the Polar Day in summer. Polar night means that there is no sun at all during the day and even in a clear day you may see only twilight. But in summer the sun stays above the skyline in the midnight. We arrived to Kirovsk just in the period when the Polar Night begins diminishing and the Polar Day extends. We were lucky to see one of the amazing things which deeply impressed us – we saw the moon and the sun simultaneously during the whole day. The air was frosty and crystal-clean without wind, we reached the alp of the mountain by the elevator and a unique and unforgettable view opened up before our eyes. On the left hand there were snow-white mountains with the majestic moon above and their alps were tinted pink by the sun on the right hand. The sun rose a little bit above the skyline. It is difficult to describe in words my photos speak for themselves.

But in any weather the mountain remain majestic and fine. In the beginning the city was named Khibinogorsk in 1931 in their honour. In 1934 the town was renamed into Kirovsk after the death S.M. Kirov. Kirovsk is peculiar small town where you can find architectural styles of 30es, 50es and 80es. They create a unique city landscape. The population of Kirovsk is about 33,000. The total area of the territory is of 3,6 thousand square km. Kirovsk is closely connected to the cities of Apatity and Monchegorsk. It is 1,930 km from Moscow, 1,250 km from Saint-Petersburg and 200 km from the regional centre - Murmansk. Airport and roads connect Kirovsk with whole Russia. The nearest airport "Khibiny" is located 34 km from Kirovsk.

A large quantity of snow during winter time and the structure of mountains have transformed Kirovsk into the "Mecca" of ski tourism. It is consider to be one of the most favourite vacation place of mountain skiing. But the best time for such type of vacation is from April to March as during this period the weather is softer, sunny and snowstorms appear very seldom. Since 1937, all Soviet and republican competitions took place in Kirovsk. Since 1987 Kirovsk became the centre of freestyle competitions. Since 1990 it is the base for training of the future Olympic champions in this kind of sports. Today there are 4 mountain-skiing slopes in the town, 3 of them have the international certificates FIS for carrying out high level competitions.

Throughout a year in Kirovsk many holidays and competitions with thousands of tourists from different cities of the country take place: the International Snowmobiles Competitions –“Fortune Snow Race” (February), Snow Sculpture Festival – “Snow Music” (March), Snowboard Cup within the frameworks of "Hibinsky Sport Festival” (March), competitions within the frameworks of the Traditional North Festival, downhill and cross-country competitions “Big Vud'javr Cup” (August), rock-climbing competitions (June). Kirovsk is an ideal place for lovers of nature and sport.

My friends and I do love our severe land and its primitive beauty which attracts us every year. I am sure that you will remember for a long time magnificence of the northern nature, unforgettable impressions of the Kola region, hospitality of people on the edge of the earth that will welcome you back.

Having visited Kirovsk once, you are sure to return here again.

Till next time!


Posted: 04:25, 20/1/2009
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