Arkhangelskaya Oblast was founded on August 23, 1937. Its territory is 410.7 thousand sq. km (excluding the territory of the Nenetsky autonomous okrug); the total area is 587.4 thousand sq. km (0.31% of the Russian Federation area).
Arkhangelskaya Oblast is situated in the north of the East European plain. The oblast is washed by the White sea and includes islands of New Land, Franz Josef Land, Solovki and some others. The largest rivers are the Northern Dvina with its tributaries Vychegda, Pinega, Onega and Mezen.
Arkhangelskaya Oblast borders upon the Nenetsky autonomous region in the northeast, the Republic of Komi in the east, Kirovskaya Oblast in the southeast, Vologodskaya Oblast in the south and southwest, and the Republic of Karelia in the west.
Arkhangelskaya Oblast is divided into 20 districts, 14 cities, 9 urban districts, 38 urban villages and 240 villages. The Nenetsky autonomous region is also a part of the oblast but it is considered separately. The regional centre is Arkhangelsk. It was founded in 1584. The Ddstance between Moscow and Arkhangelsk is 1133 km. The city consists of 9 districts: Isakogorsky, Lomonosovsky, Oktyabrsky, Solombalsky, Maymaksansky, Varvarino-Faktoriya, Mayskaya Gorka, Severny, Tsiglomensky.
The density of population (January 1, 1998) is 2.5 persons per 1 sq. km. The largest cities (January 1, 1998, thousands of people) are Arkhangelsk (368.9), Severodvinsk (239.0), Kotlas (66.8), Novodvinsk (48.7), Koryazhma (44.5).
There are about 2500 lakes in the oblast. The climate can be carecterized the following way: the average temperature of January is 12...18 C below zero, average temperature of July - 8...16 C above zero. Precipitations total from 300 to 500 mm a year; the northern part of the oblast is the permafrost region. Here one can see such sights as the cosmodrome "Plesetsk", the Kenozersky national park, the Solovetskiye Islands.
The museum association "Art culture of the Russian North" keeps such collections as "The ancient Russian and Russian art of XVIII-the beginning of XX centuries", "The domestic art of XX century" (paintings, graphic arts, sculpture, arts and crafts and national art), "The art of Arkhangelsk Territory", "History of art centres of the Russian North", etc. The museum of wooden architecture "Malye Korely" is situated in one of the most beautiful nooks of Arkhangelskaya Oblast.
The Russian North is the enormous and unique reserve of national wooden architecture. Since antiquity in villages of Onega Territory wooden temples, peasant's houses and high-rise palaces were built and mass production of any possible building and casewood material was organized. In the 16-18 centuries native people erected plenty of unique constructions from wood only.
The Arkhangelsk ensemble of modern national music "Beloye More" is famous for its alive sound, choreography and vocal compositions. Musicians composed the overwhelming majority of arrangements. Their compositions and programs cannot be referred to any well-known genre of national music. Most likely their music is an attempt to reflect the variety of modern music through the potential of Russian national instruments. Together with the well-known traditional instruments the musicians use the unique ancient Russian instruments.