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Belomorsk petroglyphs in Karelia photo

If you plan a boat trip to the Solovetsky Monastery through Belomorsk, you must visit the place called Zalavruga on the Vyg stream in the environs of Belomorsk. It is there, over the marshes, that the big stone plateau is located, where the prehistoric people drawn scores of petroglyphs.

The turn to the Belomorsk petroglyphs is between the village Vygostrov and Belomorsk. You can come to the ruined bridge by car, and then go about 2 kilometers along the forest path. The neighborhood of Zalavruga is very swampy and the stone plateau was very convenient as a man site. It was there that the prehistoric people carved the petroglyphs with stone or metallic implements.

The word petroglyph comes from the Greek words "petra" meaning "stone" and "glyphein" meaning "to carve". Scientists have carefully examined all Belomorsk petroglyphs and dated them to the IV-III millennium B.C., that is, the era of neolithic age. Considering the variety of scenes, as well as the great number of well-preserved items, it may be acknowledged that these petroglyphs have a universal importance.

In the 20 century petroglyphs were found in three places. The only petroglyphs, which are accessible for tourists, are at Zalavruga. Petroglyphs are also on the Belomorsk-Murmansk highway near the White Sea-Baltic Canal. They are called the Besovy Sledki (Devil`s Footprints).

During the construction of the White Sea-Baltic Canal a protective pavilion was erected over the Devil`s Footprints, but now it is in the emergency condition, so the access is prohibited. It is a pity that the Devil`s Footprints are closed for visiting, as the most interesting Belomorsk petroglyphs are on that site. The third place where the Belomorsk petroglyphs were found – Erpin Pudas, is located at a distance from the Devil`s Footprints and generally they are reached only by specialists.

«Archer» is the most famous Belomorsk petroglyph at Zalavruga. There are many scenes of group and lonely hunting of elks and birds, as well as hunting of whales with harpoons.

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The largest number of petroglyphs was discovered at the rocky plateau of Zalavruga, which is above the surrounding swamps
Petroglyph of an archer at Zalavruga near Belomorsk
Zalavruga petroglyphs depicting a herd of elks (on the right) and an archer (on the left)
Zalavruga petroglyphs depicting a group of hunters (lower row) and a hunter chasing an elk (upper row)
Zalavruga largest petroglyph depicting a herd of elks (white outlines), following each other
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting an elk (indented outlines)
The first petroglyphs, which were discovered at Zalavruga and which started the archaeological studies of the region
Petroglyph of a man at Zalavruga
Zalavruga petroglyphs depicting three boats (on the right) and a hunter shooting at the bird from the bow
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting a hunter skiing after an elk
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting a hunter shooting at the bird from the bow
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting an archer and a bird behind him
Zalavruga petroglyph supposedly depicting the dwelling of the ancient man
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting the elk hunting (bottom right) and the whale hunting. In the center is the whale and round it the ropes of the harpoons thrown from the surrounding boats.
Stone plateau of Zalavruga could be an advantageous place as a dwelling site of ancient people, as it was above the surrounding swamps and never flooded
Stone plateau of Zalavruga could be an advantageous place as a dwelling site of ancient people, as it was above the surrounding swamps and never flooded
Zalavruga petroglyphs of birds and elks
Vyg riverbed is another site (apart from Zalavruga) where the petroglyphs called the «devil´s footprints» were discovered
Vyg riverbed is another site (apart from Zalavruga) where the petroglyphs called the «devil´s footprints» were discovered
Stone plateau of Zalavruga could be an advantageous place as a dwelling site of ancient people, as it was above the surrounding swamps and never flooded
Stone plateau of Zalavruga is surrounded by a dense highly swamped northern forest
Stone plateau of Zalavruga could be an advantageous place as a dwelling site of ancient people, as it was above the surrounding swamps and never flooded
Zalavruga petroglyph depicting a mystic animal
Big boulders on the stone plateau of Zalavruga