Kirkenes is the endpoint of the Hurtigruten-ships
Kirkenes is in the north-east-end of Norway, directely at the russian border and it is also is the endpoint of the coastal-cruises of all Hurtigruten-ships . It is an interesting outpost close to the russian border, the next russian town is Murmansk.
Hurtigruten offers an excursion to the russian border, you will see a bit of the landscape plus this very special point at the border that had a lot more sense to go in the times of the Cold War of course. It was a nice excursion, but you will miss to see the town of Kirkenes, except for a few minutes, when you are driven through some roads.
I had the hope to see the distance-pole that way that they show in many brochures of Kirkenes, but that place is not so easy to get to.
What we saw as well was the "Jet d'eau" of Kirkenes: it looks a bit deplaced out on a lake and surrounded only by empty landscapes, but all citizens of Kirkenes seem to be very proud of it and this is why it is also shown on each and every sightseeingtour there (my 2nd pic).
The town of Kirkenes is flat, easy to walk though and also easy to walk to from the Hurtigrutenship to the towncentre, that is in a distance of just some hundreds of meters.
Hurtigrute will stay in Kirkenes daily
just 165 minutes between 10.00am and 12.45
so you have a choice between exploring the village yourself
or take one of the many excursions that are offered by Hurtigruten
You can start or end your cruise in Kirkenes, Hurtigruten offers also
hotels and extended stays in Kirkenes before or after each cruise.
Every day of the year one of the Hurtigruten-ships is coming to Kirkenes !
Viewpoint Height 96 in Pasvik valley
Located in Svanvik 45 km from Kirkenes you will find the 96 høyden where you'll be able to see the city of Nikel.
The tower is an old military viewpoint an is located on 96 meters with a great view of the Passvik valley and the landscaped on the russian side of the border.
The world's most solid waiting-hut
This is without doubt the world's most solid waiting-hut and you will find it in a small village close to Kirkenes, the village is called Bjoernevatn and you will pass by it, when driving to the russian border. When you enlarge my photos you will see what the local people used there as a solid cover of their bus-station.
Our tourguide told us that the former hut at this place was destroyed several times by young local people, before the town-government got the idea to build it in a more solid way.
- Arts and Culture
Boris Gleb chapel
The Boris Gleb chapel is a tiny church at the end of the valley and it is of special importance for the Russians and what I remember is that the tourguide told us that just in order to have this church on the russian territory, they gave quite a large piece of land to the Norwegian. You might see the onion of the church in my photo, when you enlarge it.
We could not get any closer to it and so I had to cut out this photo and enlarge it.
In my last photo you can see the chapel on a postcard, that you can buy at the russian border in the souvenir-shop !
- Historical Travel
The landscape around Kirkenes
You will see a lot of ugly traces of the mining-industry around Kirkenes, but you will see some lovely vegetation as well, especially in autumn like in my 1st picture. I made this photo on the way to the russian border.
In my 3rd and 4th photo you will see the artificial hills of the mining-industry, I am afraid its a desaster for nature.
Look Into Russia
Kirkenes isn't far from the Russian border. You can travel to the border itself fairly easily (but not across without a visa!), either via taxi or the Hurtigruten "border tour" excursion. We didn't do either of these, but we wandered to the top of the hill overlooking Kirkenes and took a gaze to the east. Russia is over there somewhere -- just over the second ridge... or is it the third? Well, the views are nice, anyway.
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Hiking and Walking
Be prepared to freeze!
At the end of our trip on the Hurtigruten we spent a day in Kirkenes. On a city tour we visited a World War II bomb shelter in a mine at Andersgrotta in the city center. A half hour film about the war in this area is shown in English, German and Norwegian.
We also drove a very short distance to the larger mines at Bjornevatn. These are iron ore mines.
Nearly 2,000 people sought shelter in there mines for 2 months in the autumn of 1944, while Germans razed the town and the Russians fought their way forward to liberate it on October 26. Ten children were born in the mines during that time.
I can tell you, we were there in July and it was freezing!
- Historical Travel
During the Cold War the border was strongly guarded, until the dissolution of the Soviet Union led to relatively normal border relations between Norway and Russia. The old roads have now been reopened and boat routes to Murmansk have been established.
Their advance was halted effectively, however, when the Russians stopped them a few miles from the border. The front remained there until autumn 1944, when the Soviet army attacked and entered Kirkenes on October 25. They then withdrew, passing administration over to the Norwegian authorities.
- Study Abroad
Finland lost Petsamo during the battles of the 1939/40 winter campaign, at which point Norway gained a 196 kom border with Russia. When Germany attacked Russia in June of 1941, the Austrian general, Dietl, advanced with its army of occupation from Kirkenes in Norway towards Murmansk.
The Russian-Norwegian Border
Despite the unstable conditions on the eastern side, the Russian-Norwegian border hasn?ft changed. When Finland became independent in 1919, it was allowed free access to the coast at the port of Petsamo. The port is located some 20 km from the border, to the east of Grense Jakobselv.
- Adventure Travel
World War II Bunker
If you walk up the hill past the snow fences, you'll stumble across a concrete emplacement and some rusted barbed wire. It's a reminder that this area, while peaceful now, was once a war zone.
- Hiking and Walking
- Historical Travel