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Valaam Monastery of Transfiguration in Karelia photo

If you want to have a rest in the open, far from civilization, but don’t want to spend several hours flying to Siberia, then Karelian region is just what you need. It has won-derful opportunities for eco tourism, most beautiful northern landscapes: pine woods, numerous lakes and rivers with islands. All Karelian lakes are dotted with hundreds of islands, lending them the special beauty. As a rule, the shores of the lakes and rivers are rocky, and everywhere you can see cliffs and skerries, as well as huge boulders, overgrown with mosses, in a word, severe northern beauty can be seen everywhere.

The largest in Europe Ladoga Lake is near Petersburg. It is just from it that the Neva flows on which banks the city of St. Petersburg was built. There are over 660 islands on Ladoga Lake, but the most beautiful of them is Valaam Island located in the north-west of the lake.

Valaam is the largest island of Valaam Archipelago including 50 islands. The patriarchal Monastery of Transfiguration of Our Savior (subjected directly to the patriarch) is on Valaam Island. The monastery was laid down in 1407 by Russian monks, but because of frequent invasions of the Sweden it came to complete decay by the 18th century. In 1715, when the territory of Ladoga Lake was annexed by Russia as a result of the Northern War, the monastery was restored. Since 1918, when Finland got independent from Russia, the monastery was under the authority of Finnish Church, and only in 1940 it, finally, became Russian again.

The central monastery ensemble is very monumental. It is located on the high hill and can be seen from many places of the island. The Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Savior surrounded by the buildings of brethren’s cells is in the center of the monastery. Also, there are several skits in different parts of the island: Nikolsky, Of All Saints, Gethsemane, of John the Baptist, of the Christ`s Resurrection.

It will be most convenient and fast to get to Valaam from the city of Priozersk. You can quickly reach it from St. Petersburg, and go aboard a ship there. If you want to see the picturesque shores of Ladoga Lake (they are most beautiful in the north-west), you can go on to the cities of Sortavala and Pitkyaranta and go aboard a ship there.

Alternatively, you can have a trip to Valaam directly from Petersburg (ships depart from the English Embankment), but, you must take it into account that Valaam is 215 km from Petersburg. Hydrofoils cover this distance for about 4 hours, so the trip may take a day, but everything will be done in a hurried manner. Also, you may go there by a regular ship. But in this case, the trip will last for 2 nights (on the way) and one day will be allotted for visiting Valaam Monastery.

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Photo Gallery
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The main pier at the foot of the Valaam monastery, where all pilgrims arrive
Miraculous Valaam icon of the Holy Virgin in the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
St. Nicholas skete at the entrance to the main Bay of the Valaam archipelago
Beautiful Northern nature of the Valaam archipelago
Holy gate over the entrance to the Transfiguration Cathedral in the Valaam monastery
The lower warm chapel of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
Reliquaries with relics of saints in front of the iconostasis of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
Relics of St. Sergius and Herman of Valaam, founders of the Valaam monastery in the Transfiguration Cathedral
Iconostasis of the Upper chapel of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
The upper aisle of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
Icons in the iconostasis of the Transfiguration Cathedral were painted by painters in the image of Raphael`s paintings
The Central icon "Spas in forces" in the iconostasis of the Transfiguration Cathedral of the Valaam monastery
High belfry of the Transfiguration Cathedral, visible from many points of the Valaam archipelago
Churches and outbuildings of the Valaam monastery
Chapel of St. Vladimir`s skete on the left Bank of the Monastery Bay of the island of Valaam
Cross of worship at the entrance to the Monastery Bay on the island of Valaam
St. Nicholas skete at the entrance to the Monastery Bay on the island of Valaam
The Resurrection skete on the island of Valaam is located in a place called " New Jerusalem»
The iconostasis of the upper chapel of the Resurrection monastery is made of faience at one of the factories of the Urals
The Lower chapel of the Resurrection monastery is made as a cave in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
These places on the island of Valaam are called the New Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives
Gethsemane Skete on the way to the Mount of Olives on the island of Valaam
Ascension chapel on top of the Mount of Olives on the island of Valaam
View of the Small Nikon Bay from the top of the Mount of Olives on the island of Valaam
Rocky shores of the Valaam archipelago
Rocky shores of the Valaam archipelago
Rocky shores of the Valaam archipelago
Some Apple trees in the monastery gardens of Valaam island are more than 150 years old
A memorial sign about the visit of the Valaam monastery by Russian emperors
Cruise ship, which can sail from St. Petersburg to the Solovetsky Islands
Rocky shores of the Valaam archipelago