Vaygach Island

Waigatsch (Russian: Вайгач ) is a 3383 km ² large Russian island in the Arctic Ocean north of Russia. It is located south of the considered as part of the Asia-Europe border Kara Sea; therefore counts the island - as in the adjacent double island Novaya Zemlya - to Europe.


The island, which belongs to the autonomous district of the Nenets, located just east of the Barents Sea and south of the Kara Sea (the parts of the Arctic Ocean ). It is located at the narrowest point between the 42 km wide Karastraße the northwest, behind which rises Novaya Zemlya, and the places only two kilometers wide Jugorstraße the southeast, behind which the Pai- Choi Mountains rise; to the latter, the Ural connects.

The largest expansion of the island Waigatsch is in northwest-southeast direction is about 100 km in the southwest-northeast direction about 45 km. The highest peak is located at 170 m above sea level. There are many rivers, lakes and swamps.

Through the Arctic location of the island, whose southern tip of Cape Greben is, the surrounding sea is ice-free all year.

The two villages with a population of about 100 hot Waigatsch in the north ( here is the coast station ) and Warnek in the southwest on the Ljamtschina Bay.

Historical / Cultural

The island name, Waigatsch, is probably the discoverer of the same name, who visited the island in the 16th century.

The island is famous for the Nenets who breed reindeer here, a sacred place, they came here every year here in order to bring ritual sacrifices. In the Stalin era was a zinc and lead mine in the Gulag prisoners were forced to work, run. (→ Waigatsch expedition of the OGPU )

Flora and Fauna

The vegetation on Waigatsch is typical tundra. The native wildlife is composed of polar bears, seals, walruses and a large swimming bird population. Among other breed here the bean goose, white-fronted goose, barnacle goose, the Pfeifschwan, long-tailed duck, the Goosander, the peregrine falcon and the snowy owl, which is why BirdLife International Waigatsch identifies since 2000 as an Important Bird Area ( RU030 ).