About the Solovki botanic garden: Solovki botanical garden (Makarievskaya pustyn)

Four kilometers to the north from the Solovetsky Kremlin the Makarievskaya pustyn is located. From three sides it is screened by the high hills, and warm air flows there from the south. As a result, there was formed a special climate making it possible for monks to grow water-melons and some other plants, uncharacteristic for the Russian North.

The archimandrite of the Valaam monastery Makariy came to the Solovetsky Monastery in1819. He lived there in solitude, in the pustyn, and so he decided not to settle in the Solovetsky Kremlin, and chose a secluded place, which since that time was called the Makarievskaya pustyn.

The matter of supplying medical herbs and fruits was very important for the monastery, and so they at once appraised the specific climatic conditions of the Makarievskaya pustyn and began to create there the Solovetsky Botanic Garden. In the course of the 19 century the monastery sent its monks on the missions to different regions of Russia where they collected the medical herbs, which was uncharacteristic for the northern climate of the White Sea region, but which could be cultivated at the Botanic garden of the Makarievskaya pustyn. 

In 1860 on the top of the hill there was built a big two-storey house called the Archimandrite's Dacha. In summer it was occupied by the hegumen of the monastery. And several years earlier, in 1854, there was built the chapel of Alexander Nevsky in the Makarievskaya pustyn. It was erected to commemorate the defense of the Solovetsky Monastery at the time of the attack of the English ships during the Crimea War.

And now you can see the inscription in the chapel telling about those events: 'The Archimandrite Alexander had it erected on this mountain in 1854 the Holy Cross and the chapel in honor of the great prince Alexander Nevsky, his angel, and the mountain was called «Aleksandrovskaya» for saving his life at the time of the English attack of the Solovetsky Monastery on July, 6-7, 1854, during the most terrible cannonade, under the hail of bombs of 36 and 96 pounds, which flew over the heads at the time of the sacred procession around the monastery.'

Apart from plants and bushes in the Makarievskaya pustyn one can admire beautiful trees, a cedar grove, as well as the larch alley, which, by the way, was planted at the time of the Solovetsky prison camp of NKVD in 1933. Communists destroyed many monastic buildings on the Solovki, but left intact the Botanic Garden, moreover, they tended and extended it.

A bit to the north from the Makarievskaya pustyn, there are another three skits on the Big Solovetsky Island: Ascension skit on the Sekirnaya mountain, Savvatievo skit and St. Isaac skit. Sekirnaya mountain is of the greatest interest among them.

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