Karelia – land of lake and forest
Karelia is a land of lake and forest, mist and rain. It has 40,000 lakes, among them Ladoga and Onega, the two largest in Europe. There is pine, spruce and the famous Karelian birch here. Fog often blankets the forests and lakes.
In Karelia, archaeologists have unearthed hundreds of Neolithic (3000-2000 B.C.) settlements, and many rock drawings – masterpieces of primitive art—have been found. About 600 drawings have been discovered on the eastern shores of Lake Onega. The primitive artists hewed human figures, animals, birds, fish, reptiles, symbols of the moon and the sun with tools made of rough stone. The site for the pictures is on the edge of a cliff by the water. Rock drawings are best seen in the slanting rays of the setting sun.
It is generally thought that figurative painting flourished in primitive societies during the Upper Paleolithic Age (approximately 30,000 – 20,000 B.C.). The famous “frescoes” of the Lascaux cave in France and the paintings of the Altamira caverns in Spain belong to this period.
The Onega pictures represent a later aspect of the art of primitive man. The Neolithic artists improved on the Paleolithic traditions of painting.
More than that, they discovered something containing the germ of future “motion pictures”. It can be said that the Onega artists created the most ancient cinematography.
People learn to talk, but the chief art is to know how and when to be silent. (Leo Tolstoy)
Karelia has always been famous as a land of wonders and mysteries, associated mostly with the ancient tribes that once lived here. What is most surprising, many legends and traditions find real confirmation in archaeological finds. There are boulders, that not only fulfill the desires and heal, but also sing!
Lake Yanisyarvi, or Hare Lake, near Sortavala, was formed as a result of the fall of the meteorite.
Birch is considered to be the strongest natural antiseptic. If in the forest you broke a hand or a leg, it is enough to put a tourniquet made from the birch bark and blood infection will be avoided.
Karelian forests are considered to be Europe’s lungs. The Karelian birch is a unique tree. Its wood has no annual rings. Products made from Karelian birch are very expensive.
In winter you can observe the northern lights in Karelia.
Deposits of iron ores in Karelia helped Peter I win the Northern War.
The famous island of Kizhi is in the northern part of Lake Onega. Its length is only 6 km. Kizhi Island is known all over the world for its architectural ensemble, which is considered a true masterpiece of Russian wooden architecture.
In addition to the island of Kizhi, Karelia is famous for other islands. For example, the Valaam archipelago, which includes more than 50 islands. The largest island, Valaam, is famous for its ancient monastery.