Kirkenes

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Kirkenes
—  Town  —
Kirkenes promenade
Kirkenes is located in Norway
Kirkenes
Location in Norway
Coordinates: 69°43′N 30°03′E / 69.717°N 30.05°E / 69.717; 30.05Coordinates: 69°43′N 30°03′E / 69.717°N 30.05°E / 69.717; 30.05
CountryNorway
RegionNorthern Norway
CountyFinnmark
MunicipalitySør-Varanger
Population
 • Total3,300
Time zoneCET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+02)
 
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Kirkenes
—  Town  —
Kirkenes promenade
Kirkenes is located in Norway
Kirkenes
Location in Norway
Coordinates: 69°43′N 30°03′E / 69.717°N 30.05°E / 69.717; 30.05Coordinates: 69°43′N 30°03′E / 69.717°N 30.05°E / 69.717; 30.05
CountryNorway
RegionNorthern Norway
CountyFinnmark
MunicipalitySør-Varanger
Population
 • Total3,300
Time zoneCET (UTC+01)
 • Summer (DST)CEST (UTC+02)

About this sound Kirkenes (Finnish: Kirkkoniemi, Kven: Kirkkoniemi, Ter Sami: Girkonjárga) is a town in the municipality of Sør-Varanger in the county of Finnmark in the far northeast of Norway. The town has a population of about 3,300, which expands to approximately 7,300 if the neighbouring suburban areas of Hesseng, Sandnes and Bjørnevatn [1] are included.

Contents

History

People of Kirkenes returning home after the Petsamo-Kirkenes Operation.

The area around Kirkenes was a common Norwegian–Russian district until 1826, when the present border was settled. The original name of the headland was Piselvnes, but this was changed to Kirkenes (meaning "church headland") after the church was built in 1862.

World War II

During the occupation of Norway by Nazi Germany, Kirkenes was one of the many bases for the German Kriegsmarine and the Luftwaffe's Jagdgeschwader 5, and apart from that, the area served as a main base for supplies to the Murmansk front (see Lapland War). Reportedly Kirkenes is second after Malta on a list of European towns experiencing air-raid alarms and attacks, with more than 1,000 alarms and 320 air attacks. The town was taken over by the Red Army on October 25, 1944 as the German Wehrmacht was pushed out and fled the area after having destroyed most of the remaining infrastructure. Only 13 houses survived the war. Close to the town there is a memorial to 11 freedom fighters who helped the partisans collect information about the German occupation. In the summer of 1943 their activities were discovered and many of them were sent to a prisoner-of-war camp near Kirkenes. Following a Court Martial the 11 were sentenced to death and were killed near the memorial spot on 18 August 1943. When the common grave was opened in 1946 it was found that the men had been beaten to death. Following the post mortem and memorial service the bodies were returned to their homesteads.[2]

Kirkenes is located very far from most of Europe. Distances are along the E6 road even if the road through Finland is shorter.

People

The majority of the approximately 7,000 inhabitants of Kirkenes are of a Norwegian background, and a minority is Sami. Others are originally from Finland, either members of the Kven population or of a newer influx of more or less recent Finnish immigrants. Also, some 500 are relatively recent Russian immigrants.

Geography and climate

Kirkenes is located in the extreme northeastern part of Norway on the Bøkfjorden, a branch of the Varanger Fjord, which is a vast bay connected to the Barents Sea near the Russian–Norwegian border. The town is situated about 240 miles (400 km) north of the Arctic Circle.

The midnight sun shines from May 17 to July 21. The corresponding winter darkness extends from November 21 to January 21. Despite its location at the coast, Kirkenes exhibits a more continental climate. The mean temperature is −11.5°C (11.3°F) in January, and 12.6°C (54.6°F) in July, with an annual precipitation of 450 mm (17.7 in). The record low was measured at −41°C (−41.8°F) and the record high was measured at 32.7°C (90.8°F). July 2004 was the warmest month on record, with a mean temperature of 16.9°C (62.4°F) [1]).

Climate data for Kirkenes (10 last years)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Average high °C (°F)−7
(19)
−8
(18)
−4
(25)
0
(32)
5
(41)
11
(52)
14
(57)
13
(55)
8
(46)
3
(37)
−3
(27)
−5
(23)
2.3
(36.1)
Daily mean °C (°F)−11.8
(10.8)
−11.3
(11.7)
−7.4
(18.7)
−2.4
(27.7)
3.0
(37.4)
8.5
(47.3)
12.1
(53.8)
10.5
(50.9)
6.2
(43.2)
0.4
(32.7)
−5.5
(22.1)
−9.7
(14.5)
−0.62
(30.89)
Average low °C (°F)−12
(10)
−13
(9)
−9
(16)
−4
(25)
2
(36)
6
(43)
10
(50)
9
(48)
5
(41)
0
(32)
−7
(19)
−9
(16)
−1.8
(28.7)
Precipitation mm (inches)32
(1.26)
23
(0.91)
21
(0.83)
20
(0.79)
23
(0.91)
41
(1.61)
60
(2.36)
62
(2.44)
47
(1.85)
35
(1.38)
33
(1.3)
33
(1.3)
430
(16.93)
Source: [3][4]

Economy and tourism

Kirkenes seaport

The secretariat of the Barents Region is located in Kirkenes. One of its tasks is to create cross-border cultural, educational and business relations in the Barents Region. There is now substantial optimism in the town as a consequence of the increased petroleum-drilling activity in the Barents Sea (including Russian activity). Bøkfjorden, an excellent harbour, has attracted interest from several large companies. Norway's and Russia's Foreign Ministers signed an agreement on 2 November 2010 which will make it much easier for 9,000 Norwegians and 45,000 Russians to visit each other.[5]

Grenselandsmuseet

Tourist attractions include Grenselandsmuseet (The Border Country Museum), which shows the history of war and peace along the Norwegian–Russian border, Sami art exhibitions by the artist John Savio (1902–1938) and a history of the mining industry in the area. The museum has a small shop and café. Almost every last Thursday of each month the Russian Market takes place on the central square where traders from Murmansk sell their merchandise. Here you can find everything from matryoshkas, linen cloths and handicrafts, to Russian crystal and porcelain dishes.

Just outside of Kirkenes is a military base called Høybuktmoen. Connected to this base are six border stations along the Russian border. This base and these border stations are there to protect against illegal immigrants as well as other illegal activities across the border.

In the city centre of Kirkenes is Andersgrotta, a vast underground bunker built during WWII which provided shelter to the town's 9,000 residents. Tours of the bunker are available.[6]

Kirkenes is also one end of the route of Hurtigruten, which cruises daily up and down the Norway coast to and from Bergen. Kirkenes is served by Kirkenes Airport, Høybuktmoen. There are non-stop flights to Oslo and Tromsø.

Kirkenes is the terminus of Kirkenes–Bjørnevatn Line, the world's second-most northerly railway, used to transport iron ore from the mines at Bjørnevatn to the port at Kirkenes.

Trivia

Church in Kirkenes

Unlike the vast majority of Norway, Kirkenes is located east of the neighbouring country of Finland. Because of this, travelling directly west from Kirkenes actually changes the timezone forward instead of backward, as it usually does. Travelling directly east from Kirkenes (into Russia) changes the timezone forward by two hours (three in winter) instead of one.

One can drive 100 km south, and walk 10 km, into the Øvre Pasvik National Park, reaching the border point of the three countries, where the three timezones meet. There are only a few such places in the world. It is forbidden, according to both Norwegian and Russian law, to circumambulate the border marker, as the only lawful route across the Norwegian–Russian border is at the border control at Storskog.

Sister City: Flag of Russia.svg Nikel, Russia.[7]

See also

References

  1. ^ source ssb.no
  2. ^ Details from memorial plaque
  3. ^ "Kirkenes average conditions - base period 10 last years". Storm Weather Center. http://www.storm.no/vaer/Kirkenes/klima. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  4. ^ "Normaler for Sør-Varanger kommune (1961-1990)". Meterologisk institutt. http://retro.met.no/observasjoner/finnmark/normaler_for_kommune_2030.html?kommuner. Retrieved 3 March 2011. 
  5. ^ FMs Lavrov and Støre call border agreement small yet important http://www.nordiclabourjournal.org/nyheter/news-2010/article.2010-11-02.5541810025
  6. ^ Financial Times Special Insert Article Dec. 6, 2007; P.29; From Desk Till Dawn, How Far Can you Go; Written by Tarquin Cooper
  7. ^ The model of twin cities Barents Institute Reprint (2008) no. 2

The Garrison of Kirkenes (GSV)

External links