The Solovetsky Islands, Russia

Solovetsky Islands

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About The Solovetsky Islands

About The Solovetsky Islands

Why Visit the Solovetsky Islands, Russia

The Solovetsky Islands, or Solovki, are truly among the most remarkable places in the world. The contribution of Solovki to the rich Russian history is impossible to overestimate. But the islands' fascinating past is not the only thing attracting tourists from all over the world.

Despite being quite small, the archipelago's flora and fauna distinctive of the region are very diverse and comprise over 540 species of plants, 200 species of birds (including the Solovetsky Seagull, the symbol of the islands), and more than 250 species of animals, such as foxes, squirrels, hares, and reindeer. Also, Solovki is home to the famous "Dancing Birch" grove. People say that if you look at it during the sunset, the silhouettes of the trees will remind you of dancing people.

Out of the 50 stone mazes found on the territory of the Russian Federation, 35 are scattered along the archipelago. They are more than 2000 years old and no one can answer when and what they were built for, yet no Solovetsky Islands itinerary will be complete without seeing at least one of them.

The other reason why you should include the Solovetsky Islands in your Russia travel plans is its spiritual heritage and the famous Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery. Built in 1436, it soon became one of the most powerful religious centers in Russia. Even nowadays no one knows for sure how or when it was built, because the lichen, covering the walls of the monastery, is over a thousand years old. Plus, the walls are made from the enormous boulders, some of them weigh more than 8 tonnes (8.8 US ton), and the width of the walls exceeds 6 m (19.6 ft) in several rooms.

Not surprisingly, there were several attempts to siege the monastery over the years. The most significant attempt took place in the 17th century and lasted for 8 years. Unfortunately, it ended with a monastery's defeat. But not all attempts were successful. In 1854 the British Navy tried to conquer the fortress. 120 best British cannons bombarded the monastery walls with all they've got for 9 hours straight. This attack resulted in the death of one seagull, one icon damage, and the slight shock of the locals.

Things to Do on a Solovetsky Islands Tour

  • Take a picture with one of the stone mazes
  • See the "Dancing Birch" grove
  • Visit the "The Solovki Special Camp" exhibition

The early 20th century was a very dark time for Solovki, all the monks were banished from the monastery and it became a labor camp for political prisoners. More than 30 000 people died there over the years. The first permanent exhibition, devoted to "The Solovki Special Camp" prison, opened its doors in 1989 and you are welcome to visit it and honor the memory of the deceased during your Solovetsky Islands travel.

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