arkhangelsk – архангельск

The construction of Arkhangelsk was ordered by Ivan the Terrible in 1583 in an effort to establish trade ties with Europe. For quite a time the city was the only Russia’s seaport. In late 17th century Peter the Great launched the first Russian naval ship here. The founding of Saint Petersburg in 1703 decreased importance of Arkhangelsk but later it became the center for Arctic exploration. The city started at the Severnaya Dvina embankment. Currently it is a broad riverside promenade which calls for a pleasant stroll. Almost all major sights of interest are located along the embankment.

The Gostiny Dvor (Merchants’ Yard) was built here in 17th century and Arkhangelsk grew up around it.

This WWI tank is nicknamed “A monument to Churchill”

The Pur Navolok Hotel

The drama, ballet and opera theatre.

A statue of Peter the Great.

A statue to admiral Kuznetsov.

A monument to sea cadets.

This simple monument was erected to commemorate victims of the intervention. In 1918-20 part of Arkhangelsk oblast was occupied by British and American troops which landed here to fight against the young Soviet state. Eventually the intervention force was defeated by the Red Army.

The central square. The highrise is nicknamed "pencil".


malye karely – малые карелы

This open-air wooden architecture museum located 25 km from Arkhangelsk features a large collection of 16-19th century wooden churches, windmills, watermills, bell towers collected from around the Arkhangelsk oblast. The natural scenery around the reserve is quite pleasant.

Some authentic wooden churches dating back to late 18th-19 centuries can still be seen and explored free of charge along the road from Arkhangelsk to Kotlas. These two churches built in 1795 and 1880 are located in the village of Tulgas.

franz Josef land – земля франца Йосифа

This archipelago numbering 192 islands is located in the northern part of the Barents Sea and administratively belongs to Arkhangelsk Oblast. Despite its remote location the archipelago can be easily visited by going on a pleasure cruise. Ice-breakers depart from Murmansk. One can take a dedicated Franz Josef Land cruise or a North Pole cruise. Ice-breakers heading for the North Pole call on a couple of islands.  A small garrison of Russian border guards is stationed on Alexandra Land Island. I visited the archipelago in summer 2004. We sailed all around the archipelago and landed on 12 islands. Scanned prints are mine. I had no digital camera at that time. Digital photos of better quality were taken by Renate Rainke-Kunze a German photographer who shared her pictures with me.

An abandoned Soviet station on Victoria Island between Spitsbergen and Franz Josef Land.

Our vehicle - Russian ice-breaker "Kapitan Dranitsyn".

Zodiacs are heading back for the ship.

An abandoned Soviet station on Rudolf Island - the northernmost island of the archipelago.

Round boulders (spheroliths) of Champ Island.

Polar bears are quite common in Franz Josef land.


An abandoned Soviet station on Hooker Island.

Unexpectedly beautiful polar flora. Especially red moss.

Green moss.

Delicate polar poppies.

Ice pattern.

Cape Tetteghoff.

Cape Flora.