Kirkenes is the largest city in Kelssek. It is located on the coast of the Pacific Ocean, part of the province of Noua Cymru. The city is a major financial and economic centre, with the majority of Kelssek's banking and financial services industry headquartered in Kirkenes, as well as a major centre for culture and the arts and a transportation hub. Often nicknamed "Kirky" or "The Smoke" for the (now non-existent) smog problems it suffered in the 1970s, the city is home to 7,928,867 Kirkenians (2007 census), with over 25 million people living within the metropolitan area, known as the Greater Kirkenes Area, or GKA for short, which includes the cities of Missisauga, Newmarket, Barrie, Aurora, York, Halton, Peel and Durham. In addition, Kirkenes is the centre of a megapolis in which over 60 million people live and is famous for its ethnic diversity; the majority of its residents (52%) are foreign-born.
Attractions and culture
The city is home to the iconic KN Tower and many national and transnational corporate head offices. Other landmarks and major attractions include Nathan Phillips Square, the Kirkenes Modern Art Museum, Noua Cymru Place, and the Noua Cymru Science Centre. With the help of immigration, Kirkenes has a very cosmopolitan population representing cultures and ethnicities from around the world. Due to its low crime, clean environment and generally high standard of living, the city is consistently rated one of the world's most livable cities.
Often called a "city of neighbourhoods", many immigrant enclaves proliferate throughout the city's metropolitan area. Kirkenes is well known for the large number of microbreweries in the city which attract beer aficionados. Kirkenes is also a cultural centre and is a major centre for the performing arts, hosting thirty professional theatrical groups, seven ballet companies, two opera companies and two symphony orchestras. The Kirkenes Islands are also a popular venue for rock concerts and the city hosts a large independent music scene, although not as large as the more well-known scene in Burnaby. Kelssek's famous punk rock band Factional Distillation began playing in Kirkenes clubs.
Kirkenes has one of the region's largest public transit systems. The Kirkenes Transit Commission, an agency of the city government, runs subway trains, commuter rail, streetcars and buses throughout the Greater Kirkenes Area with ridership estimated at 37 million trips daily.
The nation's busiest highway, Noua Cymru Highway 401, runs through the city and connects it with the provincial capital of Winchester to the west. Highway 400 runs to Redswyth to the north. Highway 404 connects Kirkenes with the Trans-Kelssek Highway (Federal Highway 1), splitting off at the town of Blackfoot 33km to the southwest.
Both Kelssek National Railway and Kelssek Pacific Railway provide inter-city rail services to Union Station in the city's downtown. Kirkenes will also be a terminus for the first portion of the new KHRS (Kelssekian High-Speed Railway System, pronounced to rhyme with "curves") which will reach speeds of 400km/h and allow travel to the national capital of Neorvins within 1½ hours by 2009.
Kirkenes's main airport is Malton International Airport, which serves 90 million passengers annually and is Kelssek's busiest airport by passenger numbers. The Kirkenes City Centre Airport serves general aviation traffic and has commercial turboprop flights to Redswyth and Neorvins; the latter use is the subject of much controversy because of the noise pollution which many claim are compromising the city's ambitious project to revitalise its waterfront.
With six major dailies, Kirkenes is an extremely competitive newspaper environment. Kirkenes's main daily newspaper is The Kirkenes Courier, which has Kelssek's largest English-only circulation. The nationally-distributed newspapers The Chronicle and Herald and the National Telegraph are also printed in Kirkenes, as is the tabloid-size newspaper Kirkenes Sun which is available for free in transit stations in the mornings and competes with the Courier, while the Kirkenes Evening Herald is a free business-oriented paper available in the evenings and mainly distributed from dispensing machines in transit stations and by the streets in the financial district. The newsmagazine Global and the worker-owned media conglomerate United Kelssek Broadcasters Corporation, which is Kelssek's largest cable television provider, are also based in Kirkenes.
The headquarters and main studios of the Kelssek Broadcasting Corporation are also located in the city, and the city is also a centre for movie production - it hosts the annual Kirkenes International Film Festival every August. A multiplicity of radio stations caters to the many immigrant communities in Kirkenes.
Kirkenes is home to four major universities:
- Lionsgate University - commonly regarded as one of, if not the most prestigious university in Kelssek.
- University of Kirkenes - Kelssek's largest university by student population and well-known for its medical and sociological research as well as engineering programs.
- St. David's University - Among Kelssek's top comprehensive universities.
- Pearson University - known for its political studies courses, particularly international relations.
Kirkenes is the home of two of Kelssek's oldest and most storied sports teams - the Kirkenes Dragons and the Kirkenes Crusaders (Rugby Superleague). The derby rivalry between the Kirkenes Dragons and the Kirkenes Rangers is among the most established in Kelssekian hockey, and intra-provincial rivalries are strongest with teams from Redswyth.
Professional sports teams
|Team name||Sport||League||Home venue|
|Kirkenes Dragons||Ice hockey||Kelssek Hockey League||Air Kelssek Centre|
|Kirkenes Rangers||Ice hockey||Kelssek Hockey League||Exhibition Place|
|Kirkenes Crusaders||Rugby union||Rugby Superleague||Sky Dome|
|ASC Kirkenes||Lacrosse||National Lacrosse League||Air Kelssek Centre|
|Kirkenes Blues||Water polo||Kelssek Water Polo League||University Aquatics Centre|
|ASC Kirkenes Dolphins||Water polo||Kelssek Water Polo League||Kirkenes Central Arena|
|Kirkenes FC||Association football||Kelssek Football League||Sky Dome|
Kirkenes has city twinning agreements with: