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Solovki

This patch of land, frozen for a major part of the year, doesn’t leave any person passionless to the fates of mankind

let's explore it

Fascinating  Contradiction

Solovki is a group of six islands. They are situated in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, about 160 km from the Polar Circle. Solovki were inhabited by the first monks in the 15th century. In the 16th century they created the most famous building of the islands – Solovetsky Monastery. Anyway monks were not first who settled here: on one of the islands Stone labyrinths were found that are dated by the II-I millennium B.C.

The Solovki Archipelago is a very contradictory place, it’s holy and desecrated, lovely and cruel, frightful and striking. It is difficult to express in words the impression that the Solovetsky Monastery makes on visitors. Like the fabulous Kitezh-grad, it rises from the northern waters of the White Sea.

short islands information

LOCAL TIME
UTC+3
CLIMATE
Severe
POPULATION
900 people
HOW TO GET
3 hours by plane from Moscow (via Arkhangelsk)
HIGHLIGHT
Solovetsky Monastery, GULAG Museum

types of tourism

A lady with binocular sightseeing

Excursion

Gilded onion domes with crosses of an orthodox church

Religious

A portrait of an old bearded man, a portrait of famous Russian writer Lev Tolstoy in a golden frame

theme

A volcano and the sea

nature

Marvelous beauty

Famous Author  Description

Here is how Arthur Bryce describes Solovki in his article in 1899: «Early in the morning we are approaching the Solovetsky Quay. On both sides of the bay, there are green peninsulas, as if extending their hands to greet us, further along, the sandy road that serves as the embankment, groups of monks dressed in black.

And behind them and above them the golden crosses of Solovki rise in all their marvelous beauty. The picture breathes the peace of order, pure joy, the beauty that I came to look for from afar and which, now I know, I have never seen before …»

Initial mission

Pilgrimage  Destination

Solovetsky Monastery was created in the 15 century by two monks and was one of Russia’s most acclaimed and sacred monasteries. Later it became an important place of pilgrimage .

The existing stronghold and its major churches were erected in stone during the early reign of Ivan the Terrible at the behest of Saint Philip of Moscow. 

Unbelievable but true

Dramatic  Changes

In the course of the October Revolution of 1917, the atheistic power declared war against the people and the Church. In 1920, the Solovetsky Monastery was closed, and in 1923 there was a concentration camp, transformed in 1937 into the Solovetsky Special Purpose Prison. The hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church, monks, priests, members of the White Movement, representatives of the creative intelligentsia, and from the beginning of the 1930s – dispossessed peasants were sent to Solovki. 

© GULAG Museum

The labor camp used sophisticated bullying, torture, and the physical destruction of thousands of people, so the very word “Solovki” acquired an ominous sound. There is an exposition devoted to this scary period in the GULAG museum on the islands. 

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Don’t miss

Adventure  on the End

of Earth

During the Great Patriotic War in the middle of the 20th century, a naval base was settled on the Solovetsky Islands. The monastery opened its doors again at the beginning of the 1990s. Nowadays, Solovetsky Monastery is not only a museum but remains also home for monks.

The Solovetsky Islands are a real memorial to the human spirit. Visiting Solovki is an amazing adventure on the “end of the Earth” – as many experienced tourists call the island. Why – you must understand, see, feel by yourself. 

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