Click for more information about Karelia Republic
2014 Aug by
I passed through Karelia on the Murmansk to St. Petersburg train and made stops in Kem and Petrozavodsk. From Kem I visited the UNESCO World Heritage site on the Solovetsky Islands (part of Archangelsk Oblast) and from Petrozavodsk I visited the UNESCO World Heritage site on Kizhi Island. There are a couple of hydrofoils leaving daily from the pier in Petrozavodsk to Kizhi, returning in the afternoon and evening. Kizhi is a pretty island which one can walk around to see the historic buildings in a matter of a few hours. Petrozavodsk was a surprisingly pleasant stop on my journey -- a town picturesquely situated on the shore of Lake Onega with several nice hotels and a beautiful promenade where one can people-watch. |
2009 Jul by Veikko Huhtala*
Karelia Republic is bordering with Finland approximately 700 km. We have three visits to its capital Petrozavodsk, on the Lake Onega. A large part of Karelia was before part of Finland. However 1939 Russian attacked to Finland and we lost big part of our land area for them. 1941 Finland attacked to Karelia and we got our land back, but 1944 Russian took it again. During Winter War Nov 1939-Mar 1940 and Continuation War, Jun 1941-Sep 1944, 97000 Finnish men were killed by Russia. I lost many of my relatives also, three uncles and four cousins. Also my mother’s first husband was shot. So, everybody knows that I have not much sympathy for Russians. |
2009 Jul by Jorge Sanchez
In 1997 I crossed by train the Republic of Karelia, in my way from Saint Petersburg to Murmansk (from where I continued my journey overland to Norway, in shared taxis). I remember that the train stopped in its capital, Petrozavodsk, and I had time to visit the platform to buy a beer.|
Because of that brief transit visit, I thought that I had “visited” that Republic, fooling myself.
But in July 2009 I corrected that situation spending three days in Petrozavodks and around.
This time too, I took the train from Saint Petersburg. Reaching Petrozavodsk I rented a bed in a dormitory in the same railway station (for only 300 rubbles, or about 10 US Dollars) and after having a shower I went out to get to know the city, which was founded in 1703, the same year than Saint Petersburg, by orders of Peter I. A statue representing him had been erected in the port of the Lake Onega, the second largest lake in Europe (after Lake Ladoga).
The city was pleasant and shelters historical churches plus the Alexander Nevski Cathedral.
But the reason that brought me there was a UNESCO Patrimony of the Humankind; Kizhi, a wooden church constructed at the beginning of the XVIII, plus two more churches and a bell tower, all located in an island in the Lake Onega,
I boarded the “Karelia”, the name of the Hidrofoil (called Meteor by the Russians). The tickets were expensive and where the same for Russians and foreigners: 1900 rubbles round trip.
Although I can speak Russian fluently, since the first words that I pronounce, and because of my Spanish accent, Russians notice immediately that I am a foreigner, so, in order to pay a Russian ticket (Foreigners pay 650 rubbles, while Russians only 130 rubbles), I just said in Russian: “odin”, which means “one” (instead of: “Please, give me a ticket to visit the territory”), and gave to the seller the exact amount of money for a Russian ticket, 130 rubbles.
I picked up my Russian ticket and entered the Museum premises, which included practically the whole island.
There were guides offering their services for a fee to show you around, but I preferred to walk alone.
The first visit that I made was to the famous jewel of Kizhi, called The Transfiguration Church, which was erected without using a single nail. Today it is considered one of the tallest wooden structures in the world.
Inside another church just in front, called Intercession, there was a Mass offered by some priest who came with us in the Meteor.
After the Transfiguration Church I walked around visiting another church, from the XVI century (called St Lazarus) and an old house.
You can visit the whole island in about 3 hours, the time that we were allowed, before returning back to Petrozavodsk in the Meteor “Karelia”. You are not allowed to spend the night in Kizhi Island.
Some buildings had been prepared for the tourists. Entering a great wooden house some women sewing clothes started to sign an old folkloric song. In another one, an art craft man was polishing wooden toys and kitchen utensils.
There was a Post Office in the island, plus two cafeterias and several shops selling souvenirs.
Once back in Petrozavodsk I bought a train ticket for the next day to another Karelian town, Kem, from which port sailed everyday several boats to Solovetski islands, in Archangelsk Oblast, my next destination.