Kirkenes is a small town in the municipality of Sor-Varanger, and it is situated in Finnmark County. It is in the far northeastern area of Norway. The town sits on a peninsula on the Bokfjorden, which is an arm of the big Varangerfjorden. The primary church for the town of Kirkenes is Kirkenes Church (an unsurprising name). It is located in the Haganes part of town. 

Kirkenes is a very small town, with a population of under 3,500 (as of 2013). It has a population density of roughly 1,600 inhabitants per sq. mi. The villages close by, like Bjornevatn, Sandnes, and Hesseng, are all part of Kirkenes. The entire urban area has a population of nearly 8,000 people. 


Most of the inhabitants of Kirkenes have a Norwegian background, and a small minority of them are Sami. The other people in the town are from Finland, and they are either members of the population of Kven or of a newer group of mostly Finnish immigrants. There are about 500 people that have recently immigrate from Russia. 

Economy and Tourism 

There is a lot of hope and opportunity for the residents of the town because of the enhanced petroleium drilling in the Barents Sea (that includes Russian activity). Bokfjorden, a great harbor, has drawn interest from many big companies. The Foreign Ministers of Russia and Norway signed a formal agreement in 2010 that would make it simpler for up to 10,000 Norwegians and 45,000 Russians to visit one another. 

Some of the major tourist attractions include The Border Area Museum, and it shows the history of the area along the Russian-Norwegian border, during both war and peacetime, Sami art shows by the artist John Savio, and a thorough history and exploration of the mining industry in the region. The museum has a little café and shop. Nearly every last Thursday of the month the Russian Market takes place on the central square, and that is where traders from the Murmansk area sell their wares. You can find lots of unique souvenirs here that you can take home to your family as commemorative items from the area: linen cloths, handicrafts, Russian crystal, and so on. 

There is a military base right outside of Kirkenes that is the site of the Garrison of Sor-Varanger. Linked to this base are six border stations that are situated along the Russian boarder. These border stations help to guard against illegal immigration.

Kirkenes Photo Gallery

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