10 most beautiful places in KareliaVika
Karelia is famous for its blue lakes, marble quarries, and mountain forests filled with giant boulders.
The capital and largest city of Karelia (home to just under 300,000 people) boast one of the most remarkable embankments in Russia. The embankment of Lake Onega is decorated with installations by contemporary artists from all over the world. And the sunsets here are incredible.
2. Mountain Park Ruskeala.
Several years ago, these abandoned marble quarries were turned into a park. Marble has been mined here since the 18th century. Ruskeala marble was used in the decoration of St. Isaac's Cathedral and Mikhailovsky Castle in St. Petersburg, as well as the Primorskaya and Ladozhskaya metro stations.
3. Kivach waterfall.
This waterfall features prominently in almost every tour in Karelia. Impossible to miss. Kivach is translated from Finnish as "powerful, impetuous", which very well describes the waterfall on the Suna River. Kivach, 10.7 meters high, is the second-largest lowland waterfall in Europe after the Rhine Falls in Switzerland.
4. Extinct volcano Girvas.
Girvas is unlike any volcano we are used to. It looks like a rocky forest cut by many lakes and dams. But in fact, it is a volcano, more precisely, a paleovolcano, as scientists would say. It died out more than 2 billion years ago and is considered one of the oldest on the planet.
There are more than 1,300 islands on Lake Onega, but Kizhi is especially worth a visit. It is an island museum of wooden architecture and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Medieval buildings were brought here from abandoned villages in northern Russia and restored. The heart of the ensemble is the Kizhi Pogost.
6. Valaam Monastery.
Pilgrims and tourists come here not only for the religious history of the monastery but also for scenic walks around the islands.
7. Ladoga skerries.
One of the most beautiful national parks in Russia, there are hundreds of islands, canals and bays hidden in dense Karelian forests. It is one of the most popular fishing and kayaking spots among tourists and locals alike.
8. Petroglyphs of the White Sea.
These carvings on stones - messages from people who lived here 5000-7000 years ago - are considered one of the main mysteries of Karelia. They can be found throughout the region, but most of all in the area of the city of Belomorsk in the north of the republic. There are more than 2000 of them here, and new ones are opening all the time. They depict scenes from the daily life of the ancient inhabitants, from fishing to everyday scenes. There are even drawings of people on skis.
In the 1920s, in this old Karelian village on the shores of the White Sea, there was a transit prison for inmates of the Solovetsky camp. From the old buildings today only their foundations and a ruined pier remain, although it still serves as a starting point for trips to Solovki.
10. Village of Kinerma.
This tiny village with a population of only six people is included in the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages of Russia and is considered one of the main attractions of Karelia. Kinerma has preserved the historical appearance of an old Karelian village with real wooden houses from the 17th-18th centuries.