The Darkness of Dikson Island

If you travel to the northern waters of Russia, you will find Dikson Island. This interesting little island is situated in the Kara Sea, part of Krasnoyarsk Krai in Russia. The island can be found near the mouth of the Yenisei River and it features a small urban settlement after which the island is named. It is served by the Dikson Airport and sees a lot of scientific activity since the one settlement on this small island serves not only as a port but also as a hydrometeorological center.

Probably the most interesting thing about Dikson Island in Russia is that it is only about a two hour flight from the North Pole. It is a major stop on the Northern Sea Route which spans the area between Murmansk and the Bering Sea. In 1915 Dikson Island was the first place to house a Russian radio station in the Arctic Circle. When the island was first discovered, it was named ‘Kuzkin’ after the Pomor discoverer who found it. It later often came to be called ‘Dolgy’ Island, which means ‘long’ island. Interestingly, in 1875 it was renamed after the Scottish-Swedish merchant Oskar Dickson by Swedish explorer Adolf Erik Nordenskiold, since it was Dickson who had been one of the major sponsors of his expedition into those icy waters. Hence the island’s name was originally spelt ‘Dickson’, but now the name has been Russified and is spelt ‘Dikson’. This has been the island’s official name since 1884.

Initially Diksonsky District, which includes the Island and the mainland seaport, was home to two small settlements. These eventually merged into one in 1957, and so today you will find that the two are closely linked. The population on the actual island is only about 1 100. The island seems to have an interesting history that includes being visited by German battleships. However, not much is known about Dikson Island in general and most people would not dare travel here. Not only is the island incredibly cold and small, but winter lasts a total of ten months here, making the landscape barren and uninviting. In fact, for two of those months, the sun doesn’t even rise over Dikson Island. So if you are planning to travel here soon, make sure that you go during the short, cold summer months to escape the cold darkness of Dikson Island.


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