Wooden architecture of the North

Total length of the trip is about 4 000 kilometers.

The start point is Moscow or St. Petersburg.
The duration of the trip is about 10 or 15 days (it depends from the start point).

Shlisselburg (Oreshek fortress)

There is a fortress Oreshek (rus: “The Nut”) which is a filial of St. Petersburg historical museum. The fortress was named after Orekhovy island (rus: “Nut Island”) where it was founded as a wooden fortress in 1323 by grand prince Yury of Moscow.
The same year the first peace treaty between Novgorod and Sweden was concluded on the island. It is known as Orekhovsky peace treaty. In 1353 Novgorodians constructed a stone fortress, built walls and towers. During the Second World War the city was occupied (8th September 1941) and destroyed, but the fortress was keeping a heroic defense for 500 days and didn’t let German army to cross river Neva.

Staraya «The Old» Ladoga

The first settlement in Ladoga was founded apparently by Scandinavians in 7th century. It consisted of few buildings of stave architecture very same to those in Northern Europe and was situated near Lyubshanskaya fortress which was founded by Middle European Slavs.
Staroladozhskaya (rus: «Old Ladoga») fortress – located in Staraya Ladoga village on Ladozhsky cape near river Ladozhka falling in river Volkhov. Firstly, fortress was built in 9th – 10th centuries, at the time of the reign of grand prince Oleg of Novgorod, also known in Russia as Oleg the Seer, (we call him «Veschy Oleg» wich means something between «the Prophet» and «the Witcher»). The fortress passed through some reconstructions.


●  St. George church – is one of the most ancient temples remained in Russia. This church was built in the second half of 12th century. It is included into the list of ancient Russian architecture monuments of before Mongolian period. The temple has very rare in Russia murals of 12th century.
●  Staroladozhsky St. Nicholas monastery – This is one of the most ancient in Staraya Ladoga male monasteries. It was buited in the mouth of river Izhora, by Alexander Nevsky after his victorious Battle of the Neva.

Lodeynoye pole: «Ships field»

Long time ago at the place of the modern town there were few villages of Olonetsky county where residents were building ships for a long time. The town is located on to equal plains of the river floodplain and is separated by a railroad into two parts. The first one is called Maninskye pole, the second one is near river Svir and called Lodeynoye pole: old russian boats, «lodyas» (similar to drakkars) were built there. The town has got its name after the second part.

●  Svyato-Troitsky (rus: «Saint Trinity») St. Alexander Svirsky male monastery can be found 20 kilometers from the town. It was founded by saint Alexander Svirsky in the end of 15th century in a lonely Olonetsky county among the settlements of heathen nations – Karelians, Vepsians, Chuds.

Podporozhskoye ring
also «Wooden Ring», name in like a manner as a «Golden Ring»

“Podporozhskoye ring” includes a trip across small quiet villages in the north-western part of the area where unique buildings of wooden architecture are situated. The first part of the ring is before river Svir and includes Posad, Zaozerie, Soginitsy and Vazhiny villages. The second part is on the other bank of Svir and it is as interesting as the first one. Here are completely distant from cities setllements like Gomorovitchi, Scheleiki, Gimreyka and Yuksovitchi.
It ‘s worth to review every point of Podporozhskoye or “Wooden” ring:

●  Posad Village – Church of St. Athanasius of Alexandria remained here. Some guides refers it as chapel of saint martyrs Florus and Laurus. This church of 19th century is a part of Svirsky male monastery. It is decorated with characteristic for the northern wooden architecture lace carving. A little graveyard was around the church.
●  Zaozerie village – St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s chapel was built in the 17th century. It can be considered ancient for the wooden architecture. It stands on the high shore of gorgeous and picturesque Vachozero (rus: Vach lake). You can enter and see the temple from inside. Original frames of the iconostasis remained in the interior.
●  Soginitsy village – St. Nicolas church was built here in 1696. It is one of the most exciting buildings in Podporozhskoye ring. Like St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s chapel, it was bilded near the water, at the bank of river Vazhinka. St. Nicolas church is an example of «Prionezhskyj» (rus: «common for the territories near lake Onega») church building style. Worships are regular in the temple but the interior is newly made. The iconostasis and the icons are kept in the Russian museum of St. Petersburg.
●  Vazhiny village – Here is Vazhino-Kurpovsky graveyard with Voskresenskaya (rus: «Ressurection») church. It is a beautiful church that is known since 1630 and was reconstructed in the 19th century.
●  Volnavolok village – here we are interested in Pokrova Bogoroditsy (rus: «Intercession of the Theotokos») Chapel. It’s a beautiful place but it carries some unspeakable sorrow. Maybe that’s because of they were praying for fishermen here, and some them had never returned home.
●  Scheleiki settlement – here we will visit the Church of Demetrius of Thessaloniki, the «Myrrh-streamer» (according to believers, his mortal remains were ascertained to be genuine after they started emitting a liquid and strong scented myrrh). This church was built in 1783. Both the church and the bell tower are connected with a little wooden bridge.
●  Rodionovo village – we will visit St. George’s church of Yuksovsky cemetery. The life of this temple wasn’t so tragic in the 20th century as some other churches. It was closed in 1930 but was researched and restored in 1971-72 and then in 1993.


The first written reference of Vytegorsk churchyard on the trade route Velikiy Novgorod – Sheksna is dated 1496. The village was known as Vyangi since 1710 when Vyagni harbour was built at the fall of Vyanga into Vytegra river. Here was a trade route from Arkhangelsk to St. Petersburg.

In 1715 here was build a state wharf which was active till 1847. Not far from the town center on Lenin avenue there is Voskresensky cathedral built in 1796-1800. In the left bank side on Krasnaya Gorka you can find Candlemas church. Here was a local museum for a long time before. Nowadays here are regular worships. Not far away there is Isaac’s chapel which was brought here from Besedkina Gora. An interesting and informative sightseeing tour to the museum to B440 submarine of 1970.

Many objects you can not only watch exhibits and read descriptions but even touch. Patriotic music included. In the center of the town Mariinsky water system wooden gateway is located since 1810, when rivers Kovzha and Vytegra vere connected. Unfortunately now the gateway is in decline. Another place of interest is a monument obelisk in honor of Mariinskaya water system, placed near the constructions cell. Near the gateway there is a museum of waterways of the North. It is a filial of Vytegorsky local museum.

●  7 kilometers from Vytegra in Ankhimovo village Church of Nerukotvorny Spas (rus: «Vernicle») is situated (former Vytegorsky`s churchyard).
●  18 kilometers from Vytegra going the Leningradskoye highway there are Bogoyavlenskaya (rus: «Epyphany») church, built in 1733 (wooden) and Znamenskaya, built in 1810 (stone).

Cape Besov Nos: «Imp`s snout»

Besov Nos cape is one of sacred places for nations who once lived on the shores of Onega Lake. Besov Nos is a sanctuary of ancient tribes of Fennoscandia. Here they worshiped and made sacrifices to their gods. Even these days the place impresses greatly people who visit it and they are attracted back again and again. It is famous for its petroglyphs. The one standing out is an anthropomorphic statue which is called «Bes» (rus: «The Imp») 2.30 meters long. The collection of petroglyphs at Besov Nos is one of the largest in the world. About 200 meters to the west from the cape there is a rocky island called «Besikha» (literally: «She-imp»). There is an abandoned lighthouse and abandoned village Besonosovka which extincted in 1960s. Peri-nos cape is more to the north from here and to the south there is Kladovets cape.

Pegrema: Immortal Rites

In the beginning of 90-s a sanctuary of neolithic time called Pegrema was found on the north-western shore of Onega lake. There were zoomorphic idols, stone disks and many others, which meant here was a developed religious-magic cult and skills in stone cutting. First of all let’s notice that there are more than hundred stones of various sizes including large boulders more than 1 meter in diameter, some of them have zoological shapes. It can be presumed this monument is dated from the middle of the third millennium till the second millennium BC.

Pegrema is a very unusual monument. There are lots of discussions about its meaning because among of all religious complexes in Karelia only here the cultural archaeological layer was found. Here they dug out the most ancient copper workshop in Europe, found a hoard of quartz and slate tools, found objects of material and religious culture.


The first time the settlement at the place of the modern city was mentioned in 1495. Till the 18th century Kondopozhsky province was a part of Kizhsky area. In 1757 and 1764 two rich marble deposites were found not far from Kondopoga, in villages Tividia and Belaya Gora. These deposits were mined and Kondopoga served as a transit node where marble was sent to St. Petersburg. Finding iron ore deposits helped the settlement greatly. Ore was transported to metallurgical plants in Petrovskaya sloboda and to Konchezersky factory.

●  Here in Kondopoga you can see wooden tent Uspenskaya (rus: «Assumption of Mary») church remained since 1774. It was restored in 1927 and 1950. It was built in memorial of victims of Kizhi rebellion of 1769-1771 where Kondopozhskaya area peasants also took part.
●  There are two carillons with 23 and 18 bells in the city. They were made in Netherlands and placed into the city in 2001.


Mountain park “Ruskeala” is a touristic complex located in Sortavalsky district Karelia Republic near Ruskeala settlement. The main object of the complex is flooded with water abandoned marble canyon. Marble quarries were found by pastor Alopeus and mining works started in the time of Ekaterina the Great reign. Today the length of the quarry from the north to the south is 460 meters, the width is 100 meters. The deepest place (from the edge of the quarry to the bottom) is more than 50 meters. Water transparency could be 15-18 meters.

Ruskeala’s marble was used in decoration of the most beautiful and important buildings in St. Petersburg and its palace suburbans. Isaac’s cathedral, Kazansky cathedral floors, window-frames of Marble palace, window-sills of the Hermitage and the frontier of Mikhailovsky castle. Walls of the old quarry are penetrated with a whole system of underground mines: tunnels and rifts. Most of them are flooded and it is impossible to extract the water.

Not far from the mountain park Ruskeala, a bit away from the road there is an old Finnish church. It burned in 1940 and is under reconstruction now. A very cozy hotel was furnished in the building where lots of Finns stay. The personnel are very kind women. There are names of flowers on the doors instead of the numbers. Sauna bath is very suitable, especially if you drink some tea with pastry after that. There are cakes, muffins, everything with spices.

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