Nikolskoye Village and the Easternmost Church in Russia

The Commander Islands…quite possibly a destination you’ve never heard of. On a map, follow the Aleutian Islands from Alaska all the way across to Russia and the closest islands to Russia are actually the Commander Islands.

Rusty Ship at Nikolskoye Village

A Rusty Ship at Nikolskoye Village, the only permanent settlement in the Russian Commander Islands

 

These Russian Islands, almost 200km off the coast of Far East Russia, are a protected marine area. The village of Nikolskoye, on Bering Island, is home to 800 people. This is the only permanent settlement on the islands, which are prone to severe weather, including earthquakes. There are no trees on the islands – it’s quite a desolate looking part of the world.

Nikolskoye Village, Russia

A home in Nikolskoye Village on Bering Island – Far East Russia

 

This is a place that survives on fishing and was only just escaping the icy grip of winter at the end of May. Not many people visit here, but the wildlife draws some adventurous people who are on the lookout for northern fur seals, sea otters and Steller sea lions.

Nikolskoye Village on Bering Island

Nikolskoye Village on Bering Island in Russia. The blue building is the museum.

 

Russia recently went on an improvement spree here, painting and fixing up some old buildings, building a new church for the village and creating a lookout honouring Vitus Bering, whose ship, St. Peter, wrecked here in 1741.

The church officially opened in October and took about two years to build. It is actually the easternmost Orthodox church in Russia!

Easternmost Church in Russia

Building the Easternmost Orthodox Church in Russia, on Bering Island

 

As a visitor, the island museum was entertaining too. They had a skeleton of an extinct species of sea cow that was once very common in the area, as well as a good amount of displays showcasing the natural history of the islands.

Nikolskoye Village Museum

Nikolskoye Village Museum on Bering Island, Far East Russia

 

The lady who takes care of the museum was quite friendly and gave us some insights into local life on the islands as well – such as her favourite meal being puffin soup with lots of blood in it!

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About Red Hunt

A former journalist and business analyst that now works in the world of travel marketing. Based in Toronto, Red Hunt has travelled to more than 40 countries over the past 10 years. You can follow Red on Twitter @redhunttravel.