November 14, 2017

3197 RUSSIA (Arkhangelsk Oblast) - Hooker Island (Franz Josef Land)


Located within the Arctic Ocean, 360km north of Novaya Zemlya and 260km east of the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, Franz Josef Land constitutes the northernmost part of Russia's  Arkhangelsk Oblast. These 191 islands are 900km from the North Pole and 750km from the Yamal Peninsula, the closest point of the Eurasian mainland. At 81° north the archipelago experiences 141 annual days of midnight sun, from 12 April to 30 August.

The archipelago was named in honor of Emperor Franz Joseph I by the Austro-Hungarian North Pole Expedition, which officialy discovered it in 1872, being annexed by the Soviet Union in 1926, who settled small outposts for research and military purposes. In nowadays is inhabited only by Russian military base personnel (17 persons in 2013). The islands have been a nature sanctuary since 1994 and became part of the Russian Arctic National Park in 2012.

Tourism travel to the archipelago is severely limited, but if you get there you can send a letter from the northernmost post office in the world in Tikhaya Bay on the Hooker Island, one of the central islands. Hooker Island was named after British naturalist Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker who went with James Clark Ross' expedition on ships Erebus and Terror to Antarctica in 1839. Tikhaya Bay was the site of a major base for polar expeditions, and the location of a meteorological station from 1929 to 1963.

About the stamps
The first two stamps are part of a series dedicated to Russian Kremlins, about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is part of a joint issue with Macedonia with theme Churches, designed by A. Drobyshev and issued on December 13, 2016.
Church of St. John at Kaneo, Ohrid (21.50 RUB)
Trinity Cathedral, Saint Petersburg (21.50 RUB)

About the postmark

 
The postmark was applied on October 1, 2017 to the post office located on Tikhaya Bay, Hooker Island (Franz Josef Land), the northernmost post office in the world.

References
Hooker Island - Wikipedia
Franz Josef Land - Wikipedia
Photo Exhibition Wilderness of Russia - Official website

Sender: Eugene Volodin (direct swap)
Sent from Hooker Island (Arkhangelsk Oblast / Russia), on 01.10.2017
Photo: Nikolay Gernet

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