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Sights of Medvezhyegorsk: Belomorkanal, Sandarmokh and the Finnish fortified area

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You can start getting to know them right from the district center station. More precisely - without even leaving the building. It was built in 1916, that is, the station is even older than the city, because Medvezhyegorsk received this status later.

Since then, of course, it has been repeatedly reconstructed, but its appearance - with neat windows, a tiny but quite proud spire, and an intricate wooden "poppy", has remained unchanged. The station was designed by engineer Rufin Gaby. It is very pleasant to come to such a station by train. One look at the neat, old-fashioned, but still strong building - and you are already in a different reality. No fuss, haste and endless stress.

But, perhaps, you should not linger in the city. Of course, there is something interesting here. Especially for lovers of military history. Museum of local lore, defense structures around the city, preserved since 1941, and also - very close to the tract Sandarmokh. The place is truly scary.

Here, some 19 kilometers from the district center, in a pine forest - several hundred mass graves. Here lie the victims of reprisals shot in the late 30s. This terrible place, where the atmosphere itself is saturated with despair, has become an international memorial.

If you do not want to remember the terrible past, you can find another past in the Medvezhyegorsk district. Much less sad, but much more mysterious and surprising.

In general, archaeologists suggest that people in this area appeared more than ten million years ago. On the South Deer Island, which is located 12 kilometers from Kizhi Island, it was possible to find burial grounds, which, according to rough estimates, were built in the tenth millennium BC. By the way, for the first time, burials were discovered just in the 30s of the last century by local prisoners.

Archaeologists around the Oleneostrovsky burial ground lead round dances in every sense of the word. The fact is that the skeletons, as well as objects that went to another world with people, were preserved perfectly. Therefore, scientists even managed to imagine what the clothes of local residents looked like. Not to mention everything else - household items, jewelry, tools and fishing.

There is another unique place in the Medvezhyegorsk district - the village of Pegrema. The settlement itself, which is located on the western shore of the Unitskaya Bay of Lake Onega, is no longer there. Rather, the village itself is, but there are no people in it. A long time ago, about 30 years ago, the last resident left here.

But amazing examples of northern architecture have been preserved. The blackened tree of the peasant houses gradually leaving the ground drowns in lush grasses and thickets of willow tea in the summer. And in winter, white snow shades with graphic strokes.

Everything is saturated with peace and silence, this is perhaps one of the best places in Karelia to come, breathe in the local air and calm down.

Above the skeletons of houses, whose facades are facing the lake, the chapel of Varlaam Khutynsky rises. The wooden chapel was built in the 18th century. And time was not dominant over her. No icons, no other church utensils - only wood, decorated with carvings, forged metal bars on the windows. Nevertheless, this chapel is silent, strict, in no way inferior in beauty to the famous Kizhi churchyard.

But Pegrem is also known as a sacred place of power for lovers of all kinds of shamanistic practices, mysticism and mysteries of antiquities. The famous archaeologist Anatoly Zhuravlev relatively recently discovered numerous sites of people from the time of the Mesolithic and ancient metal. A real Mecca for archeology lovers.

The scientist found burial places, and found mines where ancient people mined copper, and idols that were worshiped. Not only that, they found all kinds of amazing things like a clay pot, which depicts the oldest myth about the world tree in the Zaonezhsky tradition.

City name

Near the city there is a railway station Bear Mountaingiving the name to this locality. There is a legend that once upon a time the owner of a local sawmill named Zakharyev brought a little teddy bear from the forest, which soon became his wife’s favorite. But once a grown up bear badly injured his hand to the adoptive son of Zakharyev.

Reluctantly, reluctantly had to shoot. He was buried with great honors at the foot of the mountain, which since then has been called the Bear. The wooden house in which the Zakharyevs lived still stands in the city.

The Karelian Uzory store is located at ul. Gorky, house 35.

The Karelian Patterns factory is located in Medvezhyegorsk, where products with Zaonezhsky embroidery are produced. In the shop of the same name you can buy towels, tablecloths, napkins, aprons, curtains and other items with embroidery, as well as traditional souvenirs from Karelia.

Products of the Karelian Patterns factory are also sold in Petrozavodsk. And in the Medvezhyegorsk Museum there is an exhibition “The History and Present of Zaonezhskaya Embroidery”, where samples from the factory are presented.

Sights of Medvezhyegorsk

The main attractions of Medvezhyegorsk are the White Sea-Baltic Canal (BBK), the Finnish line of fortifications built here in 1942-1944. In the vicinity of Medvezhyegorsk there is the Sandarmokh memorial complex - the place of executions of prisoners during the years of the Great Terror (1937-1938).

White Sea-Baltic Canal

Technically, the Belomorkanal is a system of structures connecting Lake Onega with the White Sea. It allowed to significantly shorten the path between the White Sea and the Baltic. However, the historical and cultural significance of this attraction of Medvezhyegorsk is huge, because it is also a monument to the victims of political repression and a place of terrible torment for hundreds of thousands of people.

The White Sea-Baltic Canal has a length of 227 km, of which 37 kilometers had to be dug, and 19 locks, 15 dams and 51 dams were to be built. The canal was built in record time - in less than 2 years. The construction was attended by more than 200 thousand Belbaltlag prisoners who worked in inhuman conditions and performed the entire gigantic amount of work without construction equipment. This was the first Soviet construction site on such a scale that used the labor of prisoners, even the administration and engineers were prisoners.

Many of them died from the cold, exhaustion or were killed - Belomorkanal has a reputation of "building on the bones" and is a monument of the Soviet era. No one can say the exact number of deaths at the White Sea Canal, historians call approximate figures 40-50 thousand people.

Now the channel is mainly used for tourism purposes. It is too narrow and shallow to use for freight transport. In the summer, tourists can enjoy excursions along the canal. You can inspect dams, dams and settlements along it.

The building of the Office of the White Sea Canal of the NKVD of the USSR

Within the walls of this landmark of Medvezhyegorsk, the fate of thousands of people was decided at one time. Here, sentences were passed on executions and on sending prisoners to the “construction of the century” - Belomorkanal. Today, the city museum is located here.

The building was erected in the mid 30s of the last century. Until now, it rises above other buildings of Medvezhyegorsk and looks somewhat gloomy and intimidating - the architect seemed to feel that history would be made here. Those days have long sunk into oblivion, but the memory of them and of those sufferings that have often befallen the lot of completely innocent people should live. And she lives - including by preserving the monuments to the victims of political repression.

Medvezhyegorsk District Museum

Site: medgora-museum.ru Address: Dzerzhinsky St., Building 22. Opening hours: from 9.00 to 17.00, a break from 13.00 to 14.00. on Fridays to 15.00 without a break, Sunday - from 11.00 to 15.00, Saturday - a day off. Ticket price: 100 rubles, for foreign tourists - 150 rubles, in the academic period: for schoolchildren - 30 rubles, for preschoolers - 10 rubles, free of charge for non-working pensioners, military personnel.

The museum in Medvezhyegorsk was created back in the 60s of the last century. Initially, it had the status of a local history museum at boarding school No. 4, and its creator was a simple geography teacher V.P. Ershov. He composed expositions of items brought by caring citizens - household utensils, embroideries, icons, elements of national Karelian clothing.

In 1991, the institution became a municipal museum. Today it is located in the former Office of the White Sea Canal of the NKVD of the USSR.

Railway station building

The station building, dated 1916, is located in the city center. Almost immediately after it was put into operation, trains began to run through it on a regular basis.

The station is a wooden building, covered with a tent roof and decorated with a spire. It has undergone perestroika and restoration work more than once, but on the whole it has not badly preserved its original appearance. This architectural monument is the first thing that guests of Medvezhyegorsk see in front of them, getting off the train.

Museum of the History of Railway Transport

The railway is an integral part of the history of Medvezhyegorsk. The Museum of the History of Railway Transport offers its visitors to get acquainted with the history of this city in the context of the history of the development of railway transport in our country.

Here are photos, archival documents, information about design engineers and direct builders of the railway. The museum is located near the Bear Mountain station. The entire exposition occupies one carriage attached to a steam locomotive.

Temple of the Prophet Elijah

Address: Zavodskaya St., Building 8.

Another interesting place in Medvezhyegorsk is the Orthodox Church of the Prophet Elijah, built on the site of a former club in the early 90s of the last century. It is interesting in architecture - it more closely resembles a Catholic church. It is distinguished by strict lines and the absence of elements characteristic of Orthodox churches. Inside is a modest single-row iconostasis.

Medvezhyegorsk fortified area

Medvezhyegorsk fortified district or deputyaboutKarhumyaki is the main Finnish defense hub, consisting of firing points, pillboxes, anti-tank barriers and other structures (observation, fire, etc.). Some of them are located in caves carved into the rocks, in which the most modern weapons at that time were installed. The fortified area is located near the Lysuha mountain.

A visit to this attraction of Medvezhyegorsk will be especially interesting for teenage boys. It is known that during the Second World War Medvezhyegorsk was occupied by Finnish troops. For almost 3 years since the occupation began, the Finns erected more than 40 km of defensive structures. Mannerheim himself came to see the construction of Karhumyaki in 1942.

In the vicinity of Medvezhyegorsk, about 40 such objects have survived, called the Medvezhyegorsk fortified area. Today, all of them are well studied by military historians, local historians and ordinary lovers of unusual and mysterious places.

Prisoners of war and prisoners from Finnish concentration camps, as well as Finnish engineering troops, were involved in the construction.

The most large-scale and mysterious construction of the Medvezhyegorsk fortified area, still growing with rumors and legends, is the so-called "Finnish Club". This is a crushed stone plant that went deep underground. Most of the passages and tunnels of the plant were destroyed by the Finns during the retreat. But there are still rumors that runaway criminals have been hiding in the catacombs of the Finnish Club for years. And some of the little-studied passages lead to warehouses that store countless treasures.

So far, no one has confirmed or refuted these assumptions, so it remains only to take a word for the locals. Today, the objects of the Medvezhyegorsk fortified area are abandoned and are used by local youth for gatherings.

Site: sand.mapofmemory.org. Memorial Day is held annually - August 5. Located between Medvezhyegorsk and the village of Povenets (highway M-118), 19 km from Medvezhyegorsk.

Sandarmokh is another monument that reminds us of what should not be forgotten. This is a huge tract in the forest 15 km from the station Bear Mountain - the place of execution of the mass execution sentences of the NKVD.

Here, over an area of ​​approximately 10 hectares, more than 9.5 thousand people of various faiths and nationalities are buried. In Sandarmokh, Belbaltlag and Solovkov prisoners were shot. Most of them died in the terrible 1937-1938 years, at the peak of political repression.

This is the largest mass burial of this type in the northwestern part of Russia. The first of them were found almost 20 years ago, and today about 250 shooting holes have been found.

Coming to Sandarmokh out of idle curiosity is not recommended - this is a terrible place, to visit which you must be mentally prepared. Also, do not bring small children here.

The village of Povenets is located on the shores of Lake Onega - this is the beginning of the White Sea Canal. Once there was the final destination of the historical Osudarev Road. In 1703, Peter I founded the iron foundry here, but already in 1736 it was closed. Now only the remains of the blast furnace are left of it.

During the Second World War, the Povenets and the canal itself were destroyed by the Red Army - during the retreat, they blew up the dam. After the war, the village and the BBK were restored.

In Povenets there is a museum of the White Sea-Baltic Canal and a memorial sign to innocent victims of its construction.

The abandoned village of Pegrema

Pegrema is a completely abandoned village on the shores of Lake Onega. Today, this place attracts both archaeologists and lovers of mysticism. Undoubtedly, in Russia there are many abandoned places, one way or another connected with riddles, but Pegrem is a special place. There is a unique parking lot and a whole range of Sami ritual objects dating back to the late Stone Age.

Archaeological expeditions regularly visit here - it is thanks to the efforts of archaeological scientists that Pegrem constantly attracts lovers of antiquities, mysticism and witchcraft.

The village itself is a few wooden houses overlooking Onega, and the ruins of the chapel of the Khutynsky monastery. The village has been empty since the 70s of the last century - it was then that the last villager left it.

Suavjärvi Meteor Crater

50 km from Medvezhyegorsk is one of the oldest meteorite craters on the planet - its age is almost 2.5 billion years. Scientists argued for a long time about the origin of this object, and only in the 80s, when meteorite diamonds were found on the territory near the crater, it was possible to prove that it was formed not during volcanic activity, but as a result of the fall of a celestial body.

Of course, diamonds do not lie underfoot here - tourists should not count on this. But here you can have a great time on the shores of the picturesque lake Suavjärvi. Fishing and simple walks along the coast are available here, including for geological purposes. You can get to the crater from Medvezhyegorsk by bus.

Waterfall on the Wichka River

Due to significant differences in altitude, Witchka is very popular among fans of kayaking. Fans of especially thrills rafting on it during the spring flood - at this time it is considered a rare success to go through it whole.

Fans of traditional tourism come to the Wichka waterfall. The waterfall itself is low - only 3 meters, in contrast to the Kivach waterfall, located near the city of Kondopoga. In winter, the waterfall, like the entire Wichka River, freezes, and in summer it falls down from a sheer cliff and breaks into foam, giving the impression of a seething stream.

Tourists who visited it in the cold season say that a winter waterfall is no less beautiful than a summer one.

Train station Bear Mountain

Let the city itself be renamed a long time ago, the station retained its historical name. Locals call it Medgori. The building, despite regular renovations and updates, has retained its original historical appearance. The first train to Murmansk passed here in 1917, since then Medgor is a stopping point for almost all trains operating in Karelia.

Between the paths they still cross the flooring, and the building itself resembles a strong rural house of a wealthy peasant.

City Museum in the former building of the Office of the White Sea Canal of the NKVD of the USSR

No matter how dark the story is behind the construction of the building and the Belomorkanal itself, now this place is given for peaceful purposes: the museum of the Medvezhyegorsky district. In addition to the classic set of the museum of local lore: excavations, clothes, household items, the history of the BBK (White Sea-Baltic Canal) is shown here and the exposition “The Small Town in the Great War” is presented, telling about the Finns taking Medvezhyegorsk and the situation of the settlement in 1941-45 .

In the museum, you can arrange an excursion to the military fortifications of the Medvezhyegorsk district.

Fortified area

Having captured Medvezhyegorsk in 1941, the Finns immediately began to build strong points and fortifications everywhere. The construction was carried out by the hands of our prisoners of war, the number of which was not conducted and whose lives were not taken into account. Each height in the city was assigned to some point: observation or reference.

Now all these catacombs encircling the area are the subject of study by local history groups, curious boys and tourist enthusiasts. These places excite the imagination: after all, it is here, they say, fugitive criminals have been hiding for years, the looted goods from the time of the Second World War are buried.

Vodlozersky National Park

Part of the park is located in the Arkhangelsk region, and part is in Karelia. This is a specially protected area with the freshest forest air, paved trails - hiking, skiing, water, combined. The length of the paths is rather big - from 10 km. Therefore, be prepared for a real trip, take the necessary equipment with you.

For lovers of contemplative relaxation motor boats are provided from which you can see the monuments of wooden architecture, parking and burial places of ancient people. There is even a sailing ship on which you can take a boat trip around Vodlozero.

If you want to try several different routes, you can stay in the park for several days: guest houses are located on the territory, they are available for booking.

Sandarmokh tract and memorial cemetery

If you go from Medvezhyegorsk towards the city of Povenets, then in the town of Sandarmokh you will find one of the saddest testimonies of our history: a memorial cemetery and shooting lists of prisoners aimed at building the Belomorkanal, as well as Solovetsky settlers. In total, about 10 thousand people were killed here.

In the chapel at the cemetery, you can get acquainted with the execution lists and put a candle.

Museum of the History of the White Sea-Baltic Canal and the Town of Povenets

If you have already left in the direction of Povenets to visit Sandarmokh, spend a little more time and get to the city to drop by the Museum of the History of the White Sea Canal.

The great Soviet construction site ruined hundreds of thousands of Soviet prisoners who were massively transported to this region in order to build a 227 km long waterway in record time. Their life and health were not taken into account; no money was allocated for labor protection and home improvement.

This small museum is located in the building of the administration of Povenets. Relics preserved from the time of the "All-Union Construction" will be told and shown here. Especially valuable are the personal belongings of the Canal Army soldiers, of whom the prisoners did not have so many. Posters motivating people condemned to death to shorten their prison term by overwork, texts of speeches of drummers from the category “I drank, stole, and I am grateful to the Soviet government that gave me a chance ...”, photographs, archival documents.

If you get to Povenets, be sure to look at the LBC gateways. It is in Povenets that the main gateways are located, which can raise and transfer ships higher or lower. This structure is called the "Povenets Staircase", it can raise the ship by 69 meters.

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