Alexandra Land

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Alexander's Land
Russian: Земля Александры
Kara sea ZFJAL.PNG
Location of Alexandra Land in the Franz Josef Archipelago.
Location Arctic
Coordinates 80°38′02″N 46°35′02″E / 80.6339°N 46.5839°E / 80.6339; 46.5839
Archipelago Franz Josef Archipelago
Highest elevation 382 m (1,253 ft)
Population 0

Alexandra Land (Russian: Земля Александры, Zemlya Aleksandry) is a large island located in Franz Josef Land, Russian Federation. Not counting detached and far-lying Victoria Island, it is the westernmost island of the Franz Josef Archipelago.


The highest point of the island is 382 m (1,253 ft). A sound known as Cambridge Channel (Proliv Kambritch) is located between Alexandra Land and Zemlya Georga.

This island has two capes pointing southwestwards in its southern coast: Cape Lofley and Cape Ludlow. Another cape pointing westwards is called Cape Mary Harmsworth, the westernmost point of the Franz Josef Archipelago proper.

History and ecology[edit]

Alexandra Land is named in honor of Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia (1783-1801), who became Archduchess of Austria upon her marriage to Archduke Joseph of Austria, Palatine of Hungary. Alexandra Land is also home to Nagurskoye military base, Russia's northernmost military base.

Russian navigator Valerian Albanov of the Svyataya Anna reached Cape Mary Harmsworth in Alexandra Land in 1914 after his ordeal on the polar ice. Cape Mary Harmsworth was named after Alfred Harmsworth's wife Mary. Alfred Harmsworth, fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, was the main sponsor of the 1894 Jackson-Harmsworth Polar Expedition to Franz Josef Land.

The polar bear, Ursus maritimus, is found on Alexandra Land. The polar bear population in this region, as the case with other Arctic sub-regions, is genetically distinct from other polar bear sub-populations in differing Arctic sub-regions.[1]

During World War II the Germans established an ill-fated meteorological station on the island, called Schatzgräber. Most of the members were stricken with trichinosis after eating raw polar bear meat. The survivors were removed and the project abandoned.[2]

Nagurskoye is a Russian base located on the island at 80°49′N 47°25′E / 80.817°N 47.417°E / 80.817; 47.417, on the site of the former meteorological station. It was named after pioneer pilot Jan Nagórski and has served as one of the most important meteorological stations in the archipelago during the Cold War. This base has a 1,500 m (4,921 ft) snow runway. An Antonov An-72 cargo aircraft crashed while landing at Nagurskoye on 23 December 1996.

Coordinates: 80°38′02″N 46°35′02″E / 80.6339°N 46.5839°E / 80.6339; 46.5839

See also[edit]


  1. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2008) Polar Bear: Ursus maritimus,, ed. Nicklas Stromberg
  2. ^ Dege, Wilhelm (2003). War North of 80: The Last German Arctic Weather Station of World War II. Translated by William Barr. University of Calgary Press. ISBN 1-55238-110-2. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]