Franz Josef Land (aka Franz Joseph Land) is a Russian Arctic archipelago located in northern Asia (Arctic Ocean, Barents Sea, Kara Sea). The archipelago consists of a total of 191 islands, which are inhabited by Russian military personnel only.
- The islands cover a total land area of 16134 km2 (6229 ml2) stretching east to west 375 km (233 ml) and north to south 234 km (145 ml).
- The archipelago is devided into three groups (western, central, eastern) separated by two sea channels - British Channel and Austrian Strait. The central group is divided into northern and southern (devided by Markham Strait).
- The largest islands are George Land Island (total area 2741 km2 / 1058 ml2), Wilczek Land Island (2203 km2 / 851 ml2), Graham Bell Island (1557 km2 (601 ml2) and Alexandra Land (1095 km2 / 423 ml2).
- Cape Fligely (Rudolf Island) is the Eastern Hemisphere's northernmost point.
- Franz Josef Land islands have a total of 4425 km (2750 ml) coastline. The archipelago's highest elevations point is on Wilczek Land (670 m / 2200 ft above sea level).
- The archipelago was first discovered in 1865 by Norwegian sailers, but was first reported in 1873 during a North Pole expedition. The area was named after Franz Joseph I of Austria (1830-1916).
- Franz Josef Land was annexed by the USSR (Soviet Union) in 1926, when were settled several Russian research outposts (military bases). After WW2 (1939-1945) were built military airfields (on Alexandra Land and Graham Bell Island) and the archipelago was closed off for foreigners until 1990. Since April 1994, the archipelago is a nature reserve park, part of Russian Arctic National Park. Franz Josef Land has rare marine mammals, including 3 seal species, walruses, whales (Minke, humpback, beluga, fin, orca and narwhales).
- In 2012, the Graham Bell Airfield was reopened for military purposes.
Cruise travel to Franz Josef Land is very limited as the archipelago has no infrastructure to support it and these islands can only be reached by an icebreaker ship. Typically, these Arctic cruises are operated with departures from Murmansk. The first tourist landigs (8) were made in 2012. The most common is the 3-week (21-day) North Pole cruise itinerary offered by the Russian nuclear-powered icebreaker 50 Let Pobedy stopping here en-route.
The most popular polar cruising destinations here are bird cliffs and the walrus colonies on Northbrook Island (Cape Flora) and Hooker Island (Cape Rubini). Another destination are the Nansen's hut remains (Jackson Island). Cruise passengers are commonly landed by the icebreaker's helicopter.
Franz Josef Land tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Franz Josef Land cruise port videos
Port Franz Josef Land cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Franz Josef Land, Arctic Russia. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
The Franz Josef Land cruise port map is interactive. It shows the port's exact location, along with the real-time cruise ship traffic (if any) in its vicinity - today, and right now. By zooming-out you can see other cruise ship ports located near Franz Josef Land, Arctic Russia.
If you lose the Franz Josef Land location on the map, simply reload the page (also with F5 button). This feature is integrated with the CruiseMapper's cruise ship tracker tracking the vessels' current positions at sea and in ports.
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