Solovetsky Islands (Russia)

The Solovetsky islands are located in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, Russia. This archipelago consists of six islands known collectively as the Solovki. The islands are hilly and covered with Scots Pine and Norway Spruce forests. Of the six islands, the Bolshoy Solovetsky, or Greater Solovetsky, Island is the largest. It is also the most well known of all, as it is home to the fifteenth century Solovetsky Monastery complex.

The Solovetsky Monastery is a famous tourist attraction in this area. It was the greatest citadel of Christianity in the Russian North before being turned into a special Soviet prison and labor camp (1926–1939). Today, the Solovetsky Monastery is a historical and architectural museum. It was one of the first Russian sites to have been inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. A small brothership of monks appeared in the monastery again and now it has about ten monks. During the last several years the monastery was strongly repaired, but it is still under reconstruction.

Other attractions include the Canal System, the Belgus Cape, the Botanical Gardens, the Negotiation Stone and the prehistoric labyrinths, a church, a cemetery and the wildlife of the Zayatsky Islands. Whale watching from land and by boat is another popular activity on the islands.

Things to See and Do

* Solvetsky Monastery
* Canal System
* Belgus Cape
* Botanical Gardens
* Whale watching

Cruise Season – March - Nov
Currency – Ruble (RUB)
Language – Russian
Land Area – 347 sq km
Population – 968 approx
Electricity – 2 round pins European style
Time – GMT plus two hours to plus eleven hours
International Country Telephone Code – + 7

Port Location – There is a port located on Bolshoi Solovetsky island.

Travel Links – The Solovetsky Islands can be reached by boat, by chartered plane from Moscow or St. Petersburg, helicopter from Perozavodsk or by airplane from Aekhangelsk. Flights arrive at Arkhangelsk from Moscow, Naryan-Mar, Murmansk, and Saint Petersburg.

The overnight train ride to Aekhangelsk from Saint Petersburg takes a full 25 hours.

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