Like it or not, McDonalds and Russia have a long history. The American fast food chain actually opened its first restaurant in Moscow a couple of years before Russia was even an independent country. Here you can read the full story of McUSSR – The first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union.
Nowadays there are about 650 McDonalds in Russia. While most of them are nothing special and the menu offers very little, if anything, related to the local cuisine (if you want to eat caviar in a fast-food, it is another all-Russian chain you should be looking for!), one of them holds a world-record.
As the plaque in the restaurant proudly states, this particular McDonald is located above the Arctic Circle at 68 degrees and 58 minutes latitude North, in the city of Murmansk (which itself holds the record of being the largest city in the world above the Arctic Circle). This makes it the northernmost McDonald’s in the world, a distinction that it holds since it opened on June 28th, 2013.
From the outside it looks absolutely ordinary (and rather underwhelming….) to the point that when I was there I even forgot to take a picture and I had to resort to Google Maps for the image above….
But luckily if you want to just drop in and take a snapshot at the plaque, before going to eat some real food, the area in which it is located is very central and you don’t have to wander far at all.
In fact, it is located on one of the five corners of the aptly named “Five corner square” (Ploshchad’ Pyat’ Uglov), one of the most central squares in Murmansk and the first square you’ll see after disembarking from the Artika Train from Moscow and Saint Petersburg.
I did, in fact, take a picture of that (above) and you can even admire the Azimuth Hotel, which is itself a Guinness Book of Records entry, as it is the tallest building in the world, North of the Arctic Circle. You can enjoy a magnificent view of the city while eating at the restaurant or just sipping a cocktail in the bar, both located at the very top floor of the hotel.
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