Lighthouses of Russia: Novaya Zemlya

Novaya Zemlya ("New Land") is an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, consisting of two islands separated by a narrow fjord called the Matochkin Strait. The islands represent the northernmost extension of the Ural Mountains; they have a total length of more than 800 km (500 mi) and a width of up to 100 km (60 mi). Novaya Zemlya separates the Barents Sea on the west from the Kara Sea on the east, and geographers consider it to be the northeasternmost extension of Europe. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union conducted tests of nuclear weapons on the islands, and the small population today (a little over 2000) is associated with military bases established during that period. Most live in the settlement of Belush'ya Guba at the southwestern end of the archipelago. Administratively, Novaya Zemlya is a district of Arkhangelsk Oblast.

Novaya Zemlya is a border security zone, which means that visits require a special permit from the Federal Security Service. Better information on accessibility is needed, and photos and visitor reports are welcome.

Russian lighthouses are owned and operated by the Russian Navy, although some of them have civilian keepers. The Russian word for a lighthouse is mayak (маяк); mys is a cape and ostrov is an island.

Russian light list (RU) numbers are from Russian Navy Publications 2103 (Barents Sea) or 2111 (Kara Sea) as reported by the Admiralty. Admiralty numbers are from volume L of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. U.S. NGA numbers are from Publication 115.

General Sources
World of Lighthouses - Russia Arctic Ocean
Photos available from Lightphotos.net.


Mys Zhelaniya Light, Ostrov Severny, July 2012
photo copyright Moscow State University
Dept. of Physical Geography and Landscape
reproduction allowed with attribution

Southeast Coast (Kara Strait) Lighthouses
Note: The 56 km (35 mi) wide Kara Strait separates Novaya Zemlya from Vaygach Island, which in turn is separated from the mainland by the very narrow Yugorskiy Strait.
Mys Men'shikov (1 and 2?)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 33 m (108 ft); one long red flash every 6 s. 18 m (56 ft) square skeletal tower, painted white. A 2010 photo shows the lighthouse in action, a sunrise photo and a 1982 photo are also available, but Google's distant satellite view does not show the towers. Located on the southeastern tip of Novaya Zemlya, marking the eastern entrance to the strait. Site status unknown. RU 2111-0490; Admiralty L7618; NGA 16576.
Ostrov Bol'shoy Loginov
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 42 m (138 ft); one long green flash every 5 s. 17 m (56 ft) square pyramidal tower carrying a daymark painted white with black V-shaped stripes. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located on an island off the south coast of Novaya Zemlya at the narrowest point of the strait. Site status unknown. RU 2111-0475; Admiralty L7636; NGA 16580.
Mys Kusov Nos
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 41 m (135 ft); two white flashes every 12 s. 16 m (52 ft) square pyramidal tower carrying a daymark painted with black and white vertical stripes. A distant sunset photo is available, but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. Located on a small island off the southern tip of Novaya Zemlya, marking the western entrance to the strait. Site status unknown. RU 2111-0470; Admiralty L7642; NGA 16584.

Southwest Coast (Pechora Sea) Lighthouses
Note: The southeastern corner of the Barents Sea, between Kolguyev and Vaygach islands and the southern end of Novaya Zemlya, is known in Russia as the Pechora Sea.
Mys Vkhodnoy (Krasino)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 40 m (131 ft); white flash every 3 s. 14 m (43 ft) square pyramidal tower carrying a daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and Google has only a fuzzy satellite view of the area. The name simply means "Entrance Cape," and there is another light by the same name listed below. Located on a promontory on the west side of a fjord leading to Krasino. Site status unknown. RU 2103-2205; Admiralty L7650; NGA 16592.
Ostrov Podresov
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 29 m (95 ft); white flash every 3 s. 18 m (56 ft) square pyramidal tower carrying a daymark painted with red and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and the island does not appear in Google's satellite view. Located on an island off the entrance to Belyush'ya Guba. Site status unknown. RU 2103-2260; Admiralty L7678; NGA 16600.
* Belyush'ya Guba
Date unknown. Active; focal plane about 18 m (59 ft); light characteristic unknown. Approx. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal rubblestone tower carrying a daymark painted with black and white vertical stripes. A photo is at right, Lightphotos.net has a photo, another photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. Belyush'ya Guba (Beluga Bay) is the principal military base and largest settlement on Novaya Zemlya. Located just north of the main pier at Belyush'ya Guba. Site open, tower closed. This light is not listed by the Admiralty.
Belush'ya Guba Light
Belush'ya Guba Light, Belush'ya Guba
Wikimapia Creative Commons photo
Mys Lil'ye
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 27 m (89 ft); white flash every 3 s. 7 m (23 ft) triangular pyramidal tower. A distant view is at right, a closeup photo is available, Lightphotos.net has the same photo, Wikimapia's page also has a second view, and Google has a satellite view of the station. Located on a sharp promontory on the west side of the entrance to Belyush'ya Guba. Site status unknown. RU 2103-2235; Admiralty L7680.

West Coast (Barents Sea) Lighthouses
Mys Britvin
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 32 m (105 ft); one long white flash every 6 s. 19 m (62 ft) square pyramidal tower, painted black with a white vertical stripe and a red lantern. No photo available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the location. Located on a sharp promontory on the northwest coast of the South Island (Ostrov Yushny). Site status unknown. RU 2103-2320; Admiralty L7714; NGA 16656.
Ostrov Golets
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 38 m (125 ft); white flash every 6 s. 13 m (43 ft) square skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted yellow with a black vertical stripe. The tower is visible in an aerial photo of the region (on the island at upper left; click on the photo for enlargement), but Google has only a fuzzy satellite view. The name means "Char Island," after the Arctic char, a fish of the salmon family. Located on an island off the northwest coast of the South Island, about 65 km (40 mi) south of the Matochkin Strait. Site status unknown. RU 2103-2325; Admiralty L7718; NGA 16660.
Ostrov Pankrat'yeva
Date unknown. Active (?); focal plane 82 m (269 ft); white flash every 5 s. 8 m (26 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower. No photo available, and the tower is only a faint brown spot in Google's satellite view. Located on an island off the northwestern coast of the North Island. Site status unknown. RU 2103-2360; Admiralty L7900.
Mys Lil'ye Light
Mys Lil'ye Light, Belush'ya Guba
Wikimapia Creative Commons photo

East Coast (Kara Sea) Lighthouses
Mys Zhelaniya
Date unknown. Inactive at least since 1999. Square pyramidal tower, height unknown. The photo at the top of this page is from an expedition to Novaya Zemlya in July 2012 conducted by Moscow State University. There is a distant view from the sea, and Google has a satellite view. Cape Zhelaniya (the name means "Cape Desire") is the northeastern tip of Novaya Zemlya and hence the northeasternmost point of Europe. The Soviet Union established a base at this remote location during World War II and maintained it during the Cold War; the site remained in occupation as a weather station until 1994. There is now an automated weather station on the cape. Site status unknown.
Mys Vkhodnoy (Matochkin Strait East Entrance)
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 39 m (138 ft); white flash every 2 s. 20 m (66 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted with black and white horizontal bands. No photo available, and Google has only a distant satellite view of the area. This lighthouse and the next frame the entrance to the Matochkin Strait from the Kara Sea. One would expect comparable lighthouses at the western end of the strait, but if they exist they are not listed by the Admiralty. Note: The name Mys Vkhodnoy simply means "Entrance Cape," and there is another light by the same name listed above. Located on a promontory on the north side of the entrance to the strait. Site status unknown. RU 2111-0560; Admiralty L7840; NGA 16680.
Mys Rok
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 57 m (187 ft); white flash every 5 s. 10 m (33 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower carrying a daymark painted black with a white vertical stripe. No photo available, and Google has only a very distant satellite view of the area. Located on a bluff on the south side of the entrance to the strait. Site status unknown. RU 2111-0550; Admiralty L7830.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: South: Nenetsia

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Created November 18, 2011. Checked and revised October 1, 2013. Lighthouses: 13. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.