Towns along the Silver Ring of Russia

Alexander-Svirsky Monastery ©ninara

Alexander-Svirsky Monastery

The Leningrad town called Lodeynoye Pole that resides on the left bank of the Lake Ladoga basin (Svir River) is actually just about 240 kilometers away from Saint Petersburg. Literally, the name of this town in Russian means “the field of boats”. Historically, in the year 1702, Peter the Great set up the Olonets Shipyard here on the Mokrishvitsa village. It also became a sad place in the 1930s because it became a Soviet concentration camp Svirlag where church convicts as well as political ones were kept there. Sortavala  is another town in the Republic of Karelia. This is at the northern tip of the Lake Ladoga. The capital of Karelia is Petrozavodsk and culturally, Karelia is known as the ‘songlands’ in the Finnish culture. There are Karelian poems that constitutes most of the Karelo-Finnish epic called the Kalevala. For nature lovers, you will like that there are three national parks, namely: Vodlozero National Park, Kalevala National Park and Paanajarvi National Park.

Valaam Island

Valaam is the largest island on what Finnish known historically as Valamo. The must see is the Valaam Monastery which is a stauropegic Orthodox  monastery. It follows the Byzantine tradition and is subordinated directly to a Patriarch (or Synod) as compared to a local Bishop. Here you will get to experience the unique tradition of singing – the Valaam chant. The feature of this chant is its combination of Znamenny chants and the Byzantine.

Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior

Ancient wall and tower

Solovetskii Monastery

This Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Savior is on the Solovetskii Island. It is not just important but also with an ecclesiastical history. The gallery in the foreground was specially built to connect various churches in the central monastic compound. Moreover, it is meant to protect the monks from the long winters with its elevation. Above the snow drifts for some months each year is its aim. In addition, it was a tragic focus of an event that happened in 1923. Also the political oppression. This cathedral is also a place to commemorate those who had perished and those who were victims of the destructive event in its monastery’s history. There is another church of the Transfiguration of the Savior on the Kizhi Island. That is an amazing looking wooden church preserved in the Kizhi State Open-Air Museum of History, Architecture and Ethnography.

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