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Nordre Russeøya: one of two original Pomor crosses in Svalbard

Photos, panoramas and background

Orthodox cross, Nordre Russeøya

Ortho­dox cross on Nord­re Rus­seøya in Murch­ison­fjord.

Nord­re Rus­seøya (“Nor­t­hern Rus­si­an Island”) is a small island in Murch­ison­fjord, which cuts into Nord­aus­t­land in nor­t­hern Hin­lo­pen Strait. The island is real­ly small and only one of a num­ber of islands in this area. Nevert­hel­ess, it has some regio­nal pro­mi­nence becau­se it has one out of only two ori­gi­nal ortho­dox cros­ses in the who­le Sval­bard archi­pe­la­go from the Pomor peri­od which still exist. The second one, by the way, is not far away from Nord­re Rus­seøya: it is stan­ding on Kros­søya.

It may not be coin­ci­dence that the two only Pomor cros­ses in Sval­bard that are still stan­ding are on the­se two neigh­bou­ring islands: the­re were many of them in the times of the Pomors, but most of the­se cros­ses were dis­re­spectful­ly used as fire­wood by later visi­tors, or they just fell vic­tim to the seve­re wea­ther during all the­se years.

As one may expect, the­re are still some remains of a Pomor hun­ting sett­le­ment to be found on the island. Even under a thin lay­er of snow you can still trace the foun­da­ti­ons of buil­dings and even red bricks from the ovens which the Pomors typi­cal­ly built with bricks (later trap­pers used metal ovens).

Pomorensiedlung, Nordre Russeøya

Remains of the Pomor sta­ti­on on Nord­re Rus­seøya.

It is, howe­ver, unfort­u­na­te­ly not known when and by whom the cros­ses and the huts were built. The Pomor peri­od in Spits­ber­gen came to an end in the midd­le of the 19th cen­tu­ry.

Apart from the cross and the remains of the Pomor sett­le­ment, Nord­re Rus­seøya is quite simi­lar to neigh­bou­ring islands inclu­ding Ind­re Rus­seøya and Søre Rus­seøya.

Ice wedges, Nordre Russeøya

Fro­zen land­scape: ice wed­ges.

Nord­re Rus­seøya: pho­to gal­lery

Final­ly, a litt­le coll­ec­tion of pho­to­gra­phic impres­si­ons Nord­re Rus­seøya.

Click on thumb­nail to open an enlar­ged ver­si­on of the spe­ci­fic pho­to.



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last modification: 2021-10-12 · copyright: Rolf Stange