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Europe > Russia > Northwestern Russia > Arkhangelsk Oblast > Franz Josef Land

Franz Josef Land

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Franz Josef Land may be uninhabited by people, but some large mammals enjoy living there

Franz Josef Land (Земля Франца-Иосифа) is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, and administratively part of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia.

Understand[edit]

About 300 km east of Svalbard and 400 km north of Novaya Zemlya, Franz Josef is one of the remotest parts of the world. It's made up of 191 uninhabited islands, 85% of which are entirely covered by ice. It was named for the Austrian Emperor who ruled from 1848 to his death in 1916 and was the destination of the only major Austrian Arctic expedition.

July is the best month to go, being one of only two months when the daily mean temperature passes freezing.

There is a 1 Military Base on Alexandra Island.

An iceberg and aquatic bird in Franz Josef Land Reserve

Get in[edit]

The archipelago is a military area and you will need a special permit to enter. Since 2012 it has been part of the Russian Arctic National Park.

Get around[edit]

For about three-fourths of the year, the sea is covered by ice. During the winter part of this period, it would probably be possible to land a helicopter on that ice, as it would be thick enough. In the summer, however, the ice can melt.

See and do[edit]

Map of Franz Josef Land

There is one main island with a research station:

  • 1 Zemlya Georga (Prince George Land). Largest island in Franz Josef Land. The top of the island has an elevation of 416 metres (1,365 ft). Zemlya Georga (Q540373) on Wikidata Zemlya Georga on Wikipedia

There are several other major islands in Franz Josef Land:

  • 2 Alexandra Land. Alexandra Land (Q1462941) on Wikidata Alexandra Land on Wikipedia
  • 3 Graham Bell Island. Graham Bell Island (Q1465918) on Wikidata Graham Bell Island on Wikipedia
  • 4 Hall Island. Hall Island (Q1571268) on Wikidata Hall Island (Arctic) on Wikipedia
  • 5 Hooker Island. Hooker Island (Q1238610) on Wikidata Hooker Island on Wikipedia
  • 6 Jackson Island. Jackson Island (Q1566960) on Wikidata Jackson Island on Wikipedia
  • 7 MacKlintok Island. MacKlintok Island (Q2664815) on Wikidata MacKlintok Island on Wikipedia
  • 8 Prince Rudolf Island. Rudolf Island (Q840509) on Wikidata Rudolf Island on Wikipedia
  • 9 Salisbury Island. Salisbury Island (Q1771385) on Wikidata Salisbury Island (Russia) on Wikipedia
  • 10 Wilczek Land. Wilczek Land (Q726478) on Wikidata Wilczek Land on Wikipedia

There are also a few sights in Franz Josef Land:

  • 11 Cape Tegethoff. Dramatic rock formation on Hall Island. The island was first discovered in 1873, and a small camp was built at Tegethoff in 1898-1899. Hall Island (Q1571268) on Wikidata Hall Island (Arctic) on Wikipedia
  • 12 Nansen's Hut (Cape Norway). In the western part of Jackson Island, this was where Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen wintered in 1895-96 after failing to reach the North Pole. A hut and a wooden post still remain. Jackson Island (Q1566960) on Wikidata Jackson Island on Wikipedia

Eat and drink[edit]

There are no restaurants on Franz Josef Land.

For water, you could perhaps boil the glacial ice found on every major island in the archipelago. Remember, though, this is a national park.

Sleep[edit]

Cape Tegethoff on Hall Island

You will probably need to camp in the area, which will mean enduring bitterly cold weather unless you're going in July.

Stay safe[edit]

Bring plenty of food wherever you go, and make sure that you do not go to the islands when ice freezes or unfreezes. Also, it is best to plan your route before you go and bring a map - that way, it's hard to get lost.

Go next[edit]

If Franz Josef Land is not quite far north enough, there's always the North Pole. For a more populated Arctic experience, you can visit Longyearbyen.

Tundra conditions, which are slightly more habitable than Franz Josef Land, are located in Greenland, northern Canada, Alaska, and Siberia.

This city travel guide to Franz Josef Land is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.