Novaya Zemlya (aka Nova Zembla) is a Russian Arctic archipelago located in northern Russia (extreme northeast Europe). Administratively, the archipelago is part of Arkhangelsk Oblast. Novaya Zemlya's total population is around 2,800. most of which (around 2,000) are in the Belushya Guba settlement.
- When the islands were first discovered, their indigenous people (Nenetses) subsisted mainly on hunting (polar bears, seals), fishing, trapping and reindeer herding.
- Novaya Zemlya consists of 2 large islands - Severny (translated Northern) and Yuzhny (translated Southern) - which are separated by Matochkin Strait, plus a number of smaller isles.
- Novaya Zemlya is also the land mass that separates Barents Sea from Kara Sea. The archipelago's total land area is 90,650 mk2 (35,000 ml2), with highest elevation point 1547 m (5075 ft) on Severny island.
- Novaya Zemlya is an Ural Mountains extension separated from mainland Russia by Kara Strait. Severny Island has many glaciers, while Yuzhny Island's landscape is tundra. Climate is severe, but here can be found several Arctic species, most notable of which are polar bears.
- This Russian territory was a sensitive military area where after the WW2 (1939-1945) here was maintained the USSR / Soviet Air Force base "Rogachevo". The base was used for aircraft interception operations and for providing logistics for the nearby nuclear testing zone. Novaya Zemlya was one of the USSR's 2 major nuclear testing zones (with all 3 sites located on the islands) used for air drops and underground nuke bombs testing.
- In October 1961, here was detonated the RDS-220 hydrogen bomb named "Tsar Bomba" - the world's largest and most physically powerful nuclear bomb ever used. The monstrous weapon (yield 50 Mt / megatonnes of TNT, weight 27 metric tons, length 8 m / 26 ft, diameter 2,1 m / 6,9 ft) was code-named "Vanya". The bomb was attached to a huge parachute (weight 800 kg).
- Tsar Bomba was detonated at the Sukhoy Nos cape on Severny Island, located near the isle's southern end and close to Matochkin Strait.
Highlights: Easternmost point of Europe, Barents site
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