The Arctic is the most extraordinary, mysterious and enigmatic region on our planet. It is the northern polar region of the Earth and spans the deep-water Arctic basin with shallow marginal seas, islands and adjacent inland areas of North America, Europe and Asia. The Arctic occupies approximately one sixth of the Earth’s surface.
In the 1920’s part of the Arctic was assigned to the Soviet Union, Canada, the US, Norway and Denmark, the so-called Arctic Five. The sectors were determined based on the northern borders of these countries. The Soviet Union, as it had the longest coastline, had the largest sector, almost one third of the entire area of the Arctic.
The very richest reserves of natural resources lie within the depths of these northern lands. The Arctic Zone is a colossal raw material reserve and is amongst the few regions in the world with virtually untouched reserves of hydrocarbon and mineral resources. The Arctic has the largest concentrations of mineral deposits – copper-nickel ore, platinum and rare earth metals, phosphorus, chromium, diamonds, silver, gold and many others.
The Arctic has its own unique nature – vast expanses of ice and snow and enormous icebergs of the most incredible and fantastic shapes drifting in the Arctic seas. The lands are home to polar bears and reindeer, rare animals and birds and the Arctic seas are filled with precious species of fish.
The Arctic is a truly special land area. This distinctive region has long since been an attraction to people. Many generations of pioneers have invested tremendous amounts of effort, knowledge and resources into studying and developing the Arctic. They were not deterred by the difficulty in accessing the region; in their attempts to get closer and closer to the North Pole they discovered new lands, seas, islands and archipelagos.
According to experts, early humans began to explore these northern lands 10,000 years ago. The hunters and anglers of the Proto-Eskimo tribe were the first native residents of the Arctic Region. The native minorities of the North still live in the traditional settlement areas of their ancestors and preserve their traditional way of life, economic practices and trades.
Around 4 million people currently live in the Arctic and there are more than a dozen international expeditions, polar stations and radiometer centres operating in the region. Large modern cities have been built in the Arctic Zone: Salekhard, Murmansk, Norilsk, Tromsш, as well as major industrial enterprises. Sea, air and land transport routes also pass through the Arctic.
In recent years various types of tourism have been intensively developed in almost all Arctic regions – expeditions, extreme tourism, ethnographic tourism, hunting, fishing and others. Tourists are attracted by the Arctic’s unique nature, the opportunity to see with their very own eyes this amazing and enigmatic land, observe animals and birds living in the northern latitudes and learn about the distinctive culture of the native minorities of the North, their everyday life and traditions.