The Arctic is the northernmost region of the Earth, surrounding the North Pole. Its surface area is around 45 million square kilometers, 1/3 of which consists of the Arctic Ocean and surrounding seas. In this area only ca. 4 million people live, which makes the Arctic one of the most sparsely populated area of the Earth. Circa 10% of this number are indigenous peoples – nations, who have lived in the Arctic since the time immemorial.
As the region is so vast it is hard to define unambiguous borders to define it. Several international organisations and commitees include various regions of the northern areas of our planet into the Arctic depending on cultural and environmental criteria. There are 7 countries, whose parts lie in the Arctic (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Canada, USA, Russia) and 1, Iceland, belongs there wholly.
Life in the Arctic is quite different to life in other parts of the world. The biggest cities, such as Murmansk, Reykjavik or Tromso, look similarly to cities elsewhere, but there are not many cities in the Arctic and they are usually far away from each another. Many people live in small towns or settlements spread across vast reaches of Siberia, Canada and Scandinavia. Indigenous peoples sometimes settle in towns, but quite often pursue traditional lifestyles, involving e.g. reindeer herding. In the farthest north, in Spitsbergen and the Canadian Archipelago, scientific stations were established, whose function is research and support for scientists. All of these communities, regardless of size, share similar concerns of isolation, harsh climate conditions and polar day and night disturbing sleep patterns of inhabitants.