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Introducing Monchegorsk

A neat, fairly prosperous town set between several lakes, Monchegorsk makes a good base for exploring the centre and south of the Kola Peninsula - although the approach from the south is hardly encouraging as you pass through expanses of stunted or nonexistent vegetation, and then encounter the enormous Severonikel Kombinat factory whose past sulphur emissions are responsible for the ecological devastation. Nickel smelting here ceased in the late 1990s but it will be a while before the environment recovers.