Benefitting from the Gulf Stream, Murmansk resembles cities of its size across western Russia, with highway and railway access to the rest of Europe, and the northernmost trolleybus system on Earth. Its northern latitude of 68°58'N makes Murmansk 2° north of the Arctic Circle at approximately 66°33'N. Its connectivity contrasts to the isolation of Arctic ports Dikson and Krasnoyarsk Krai in Siberia on the shores of the Kara Sea and Iqaluit, Nunavut in Canada on Baffin Island's Frobisher Bay off the Labrador Sea. Having long, snowy winters, Murmansk's climate is moderated by the generally ice-free waters around it.
Although there was a building boom in the early twentieth century's arms races, Murmansk's population has been in a slow reversal since the Cold War; from 468,039 (1989 Census) 336,137 (2002 Census); 307,257 (2010 Census); to 299,148 (as at 2014 estimates);. Still, it remains by far the largest city north of the Arctic Circle and is a major port on the Arctic Ocean.
Murmansk was the last city founded in the Russian Empire. In 1915, World War I needs led to the construction of the railroad from Petrozavodsk to an ice-free location on the Murman Coast in the Russian Arctic, to which Russia's allies shipped military supplies. The terminus became known as the Murman station and soon boasted a port, a naval base, and an adjacent settlement with a population that quickly grew in size and soon surpassed the nearby towns of Alexandrovsk and Kola.
On June 29 , 1916, Russian Transport Minister Alexander Trepov petitioned to grant urban status to the railway settlement. On July 6 , 1916, the petition was approved and the town was named Romanov-on-Murman (Рома́нов-на-Му́рмане, Romanov-na-Murmane), after the imperial Russian dynasty of Romanovs. On September 21 , 1916, the official ceremony was performed, and the date is now considered the official date of the city's foundation. After the February Revolution of 1917, on April 3 , 1917, the town was given its present name.