40 Days of Night
Due to its extreme northerly location it experiences an annual 40-day long polar night from 3 December to 11 January. During this period, when the sun remains constantly below the horizon, a semi-twilight occurs each day for only a few hours around noon. For the rest of the time, the city is wrapped up in darkness.
The average daily temperature is below zero during most of the year, with up to 40℃ in December and January. However the city’s port is ice-free, as its waters are warmed by the North Atlantic Current.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, almost half-a-million people resided here, many of them attracted by the high wages in the shipping and fishing industries, part of the soviet labour policy to compensate workers for the difficulties of life far up north. The newly independent Russia couldn’t afford to sustain such high wages, which caused a mass exodus as people abandoned Murmansk in search of more hospitable climes.
The lack of sunlight and almost 8 months of Winter cause a number of health and emotional disorders like insomnia, mood swings and depression. Suicide and alcoholism rates are higher in the region than Russia’s national average.Few people feel themselves at home in such harsh Arctic conditions. It takes a special state of mind to see the true beauty of this northern lands despite your body’s primal survival instincts. Ones who reach it really stand out among others with intangible expression of peace in their eyes.
Located in Murmansk region, Teriberka village was recently hyped by media after director Andrey Zvyagintsev shot his Oscar nominated movie Leviathan there, depicting it as a town drowning in corruption and alcoholism. Unlike in the film, things are going fine there. The houses might be indeed run down, but the people are true Northerners — not to freeze one needs to stay sober. They are increadibly hospitable, they love their land, worship it and write songs to it. Northern spirit stays strong.