Murmanskaya Oblast occupies the Kola Peninsula and adjoining areas of the continent. In the south it borders upon the Republic of Karelia, to the southwest and the west of it Finland is situated. Murmanskaya Oblast is washed by the Barents Sea and the White Sea. The main rivers here are Ponoy, Varzuga, Umba, Niva, Tuloma. There are a lot of lakes in oblast (Imandra, Umbozero, Lovoozero).
The total area of the oblast is 144,9 thousand. sq. km. Almost the most part of Murmanskaya Oblast lies within the Polar Circle and is situated in the two physiographic zones: the tundra and taiga. The relief is presented by mountains, hollows and terraces. Due to the Gulf Stream there is no permafrost regions. The warmest district is the southern coast of the White Sea.
The average temperatures of January vary from 8 degrees (in the north) to 13 degrees below zero (in the centre of the region), the average temperatures of July vary from +8 to +14 degrees centigrade. Murmanskaya Oblast is one of the richest in lakes and river regions of Russia. There are about 130 thousand rivers and lakes. Density of the river network is significant. Some rivers are 200 kilometers in length. The largest river of the peninsula is Ponoy (426 km).
Murmanskaya Oblast is a store of mining, copper-nickel, iron-ore, rare-metal and aluminium raw material. Stocks of nonmetal ores are also significant. They are vermiculite, phlogopite, muscovite, pegmatite, garnet, amazonite, fluorite and other minerals.
Murmanskaya Oblast was formed on May 28, 1938. The distance to Moscow is 1967 km. The centre of the region is the city of Murmansk founded in the year of 1916. The city consists of 3 districts: Leninsky, Oktyabrsky, Pervomaysky.
By the year of 2000 the population of Murmanskaya Oblast has reached 1001,2 thousand, including townspeople - 917,7 thousand inhabitants (91,7 %) and the rural population - 83,5 thousand people (8,3 %). The number of registered unemployed in 1999 made 23,3 thousand people (4,4 % of the efficient population).
The population consists of Russians (86 %), Ukrainians (7 %), Byelorussians (3 %), Tatars (1 %) and others. Indigenous population of the region is the Saams. They live in Lovoozersky, Kolsky districts and in Enskaya rural administration of Kovdorsky district.
There are a lot of museums in Murmanskaya Oblast. Among them are the Museum of History of Polar Olympiads, the Museum of Aircraft of the Northern Fleet, the Museum of History of Studying and Development of the European North, the Museum of History of the Kola Saams, the Museum of History of Kovdorsky district, etc.
Murmansk is the largest city of the world within the Polar Circle. Its population is 390 thousand people.
In Murmansk the unique nuclear icebreaking fleet is based. The city sent and met the famous icebreaker 'Arctica' that in 1977 for the first time reached the North Pole as a surface ship.
From the very beginning Murmansk was the city of seamen, fishermen, dockers and mechanicians.
In Murmanskaya Oblast there is the most northern monastery of Russia - the Trifonov Pechenegsky Monastery. In various periods of Russian history it was a symbol and a pride of the great power and its orthodox people. Nowadays the monastery is being restored.