What territories are closed to foreigners – info from the horse’s mouth

kgb-still-watchingPulled up enough courage to dial the KGB Murmansk number given on top of the application to visit Sredny and Rybachy on the regional Ministry of Natural Resources site. To my surprise they picked up the phone on my first attempt and quickly referred me to another number, +7 (8152) 454108, and that number again answered, but the answer was alas that yes, a special permission is required, and the traveller has to contact KGB via one of the registered tourist organizations in the Murmansk region, NOT directly as the statement on top of the form seems to imply. They say it takes about a month to get the permit.

So we now now how to easily get a credible answer as to what is closed off to foreign travellers, and an approximate procedure, although a local company with a proven track record of arranging for these permits needs to be found and tested.

A application for a permit to visit Sredny and Rybachy on the Ministry’s site

permitGot a question from a Finnish traveller where application form for the permit mentioned here a year ago has disappeared. Having done a search, I have re-discovered it in a different location of the same Murmansk Ministry of Natural Resourses site.

The question of whether foreigners can or cannot visit Sredny and Rybachy, and what permit if any is required, remains open. No permit is required according to the Barents Observer article but on top of the Ministry form it says is is indeed needed for non-Russians.

By some reason I don’t feel like calling the KGB headquarters in Murmansk even though they are closest to possessing the most current info.

 

Access to Sredni and Rybachi peninsula

According to this 2010 Barents Observer article (thanks, Heikki) this area is no longer restricted to travellers, including foreigners. The application one had to fill out in advance last year seems to have disappeared from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ecology of the Murmansk region site so we can probably assume it is no longer required. Better call someone based on Sredni or Rybachi, or get me to call them on your behalf to get up-to-date information, before going there.

Finally, a series of killjoy photos from Sredny and Rybachy

Generally you foreigners are better toilet-trained than my compatriots, and I’m posting the photos below not to teach you but only to contribute to the realistic image of the place in the eyes of would-be visitors. Usually Sredny and Rybachy are shown too idealistically to my taste, and I’d like to inflict a small doze of reality upon you.

Here:

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Rybachi and Sredny Peninsula are not only vodka, salmon and WW2

..as Pasha descirbes. Rybachi and Sredny Peninsula is also rough roads from hell, spectacular rocks and stones, multicolored lichens and unique patterns with which they decorated every stone.

Rybachi and Sredny is mountain rivers and waterfalls, blueberries and cloudberries, blue lakes on top of mountains, tundra that merges into the sky, and the Barents Sea that smells of freedom.

It is a place where one just has to come for a few weeks to see and feel at least a small part of its nature.

This is the place where you want to stay forever. Human language is too poor to describe this place. Better look at some pictures.

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Salmon + vodka = 1000 roubles. Salmon alone = 1500.

semga

This post is slightly inebriated. One of the locals offered us a salmon to buy. The price was 1500 for the salmon alone, or 1000 for the fish plus a bottle of vodka. Without questioning the logic of pricing we took both.

WW2 and Cold War artifacts of Sredny and Rybachy

Many enquiries related to Sredny and Rybachy peninsula we get have to do with what’s left of WW2 and Cold War defence lines. Here is some of what we’ve noticed so far without really looking.

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Pillboxes like this one are all over the coast of both Sredny and Rybachy

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Greetings from Musta-Tunturi and Sredni

9Although I resented having had my ass dragged all the way up here, I concede that the landscape and the whole environment is as close as it gets to being “out of this world”. Further, it is probably fair I should familiarize myself with the territory before getting your travellers to hire me to organize your trip here. So here we are, just went through Musta-Tunturi, gotten to Sredni, and covered most of the way through the east side of the peninsula before stopping for the night.

Here are a few photos I’m sharing in hope of communicating the spirit of the place:

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Last place to buy a beer. Somewhere in Musta-Tunturi mountains. Despite their popularity, this place has next to no infrustructure to look after travellers.

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New colony of northern gannet in Murmansk region

Our friends Murmanbirds report:

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July 31, 2015 with the support of the World Wildlife Fund ended the first part of the field work in the territory of the Regional Natural Park “Rybachi i Sredny Peninsula”, aimed at identifying potentially suitable locations for organizing tours for lovers of ornithology. As a result of the first results lead to the conclusion that the area of ​​the park is one of the most interesting locations for birding in the Murmansk region. Among the bird species encountered – Rough-legged Buzzard, White-tailed Eagle, bird colony on the Cape Sharapov. A key finding was the previously unknown colony of northern gannets on isl. Big Anikiev, there are about 500-700 birds. It is one the largest known colonies of gannets in the Murmansk region.

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More photos here>>