Russia to Welcome Tourists on Ice-Covered Franz Josef Land

Russia is planning to launch a tourism project on the Franz Josef archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, Russian security chief Nikolai Patrushev said on Thursday.

“We want to use it [the archipelago] for tourism purposes in the very near future,” Patrushev, the head of the Russian Security Council, said during an international conference dedicated to security and cooperation in the Arctic held in the northern Russian city of Murmansk.

One of the most remote and rugged Arctic landscapes in the world, Franz Josef Land is located to the north of the Novaya Zemlya archipelago and consists of 191 ice-covered islands with a total area of some 16,230 square miles. The islands are almost uninhabited, except for several hamlets built by Russian settlers.

Patrushev, along with a group of foreign participants in the conference, visited the archipelago on Wednesday. He said it was the first time foreigners have set foot there.


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