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.

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

The Pur Navolok Hotel.

The drama, ballet and opera theatre.

A statue of Peter the Great.

A monument to sea cadets.

The 1626 Assumption Church.

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.

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

Arkhangelsk's coat of arms.


malye karely – малые карелы

This open-air wooden architecture museum located 25 km from Arkhangelsk features a large collection of 17-19th 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 18-19th 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 near the village of Maslovskaya (Масловская). Conservation job has been done to prevent the churches from collapsing.  Compare the pictures taken in 2017 (cloudy day) and 2021 (sunny day).

kenozero national park – кенозеро

The Kenozero National Park occupies a big area in south-west corner of Arkhangelsk Oblast around lakes Kenozero and Lekshmozero. Travelers can enjoy pristine nature and a bunch of old wooden churches and chapels typical only for Russian North with specifically painted ceilings. Most churches can be approached by road but some chapels stand on islands and can be reached only by boat.

A three piece church complex in the village of Philippovskaya (Филипповская).

The church ceiling is made of trapeze shaped icons depicting saints, angels and biblical scenes.

The village of Vershinino (Вершинино).

The St. Nicholas Chapel in Vershinino.

From Vershinino you can take a boat excursion to nearby islands.

The wooden chapel in the village of Ryzhkovo (Рыжково).

The Holy Spirit Chapel in the village of Glazovo (Глазово).

The St. Nicholas Chapel in the village of Ust-Pocha (Усть-Поча) looks humble but the interior is colorful.

The 1829 Peter & Paul Church in the village of Morshchikhinskaya (Морщихинская) on the shore of Lake Lekshmozero.

The 1871 St. Alexander Svirsky Church.

The Epiphany Church in the village of Gavrilovskaya (Гавриловская).

The 1665 John the Chrysostom Church in the village of Saunino (Саунино).

The bridge across the Kena River near the village of Ivanovskaya (Ивановская) looks precarious but still supports weight of cars.

The 1460 Assumption Monastery in the village of Oshevensky Pogost is in the early stages of restoration.

The 1787 wooden Epiphany Church is in a better shape.

The 1715 Archangel Michael Church in the village of Shelokhovskaya (Шелоховская).

Next to it stands the 1803 Candlemas Church.

The 1651 Ascension Church in the village of Piyala (Пияла) on the Onega River.

vorzogory – ворзогоры

The village of Vorzogory is located on the White Sea coast. To reach the village one has to take a ferry across the Onega River.

Vorzogory is home to another rare three piece church complex: the 1793 Presentation Church, the 1636 St. Nicholas Church and the 17th century bell tower.  The churches are closed. Visitors may climb the bell tower for a bird's eye view of the surroundings.

antoniyevo-siysky monastery

The 1520 Siya Monastery of Saint Antonius is located in a scenic place 160 km south of Arkhangelsk.

The casket contains relics of St. Antonius which worshippers come to kiss.

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. 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.