The Solovky

The Solovets Islands (The Solovky)

The Solovets Islands are a preserve in the White Sea. This is a legendary land where monuments of culture belonging to different epochs are preserved till our days.

Remoteness from the continent and severity of climate did not prevent people from colonizing and reforming these islands. The colonists created there a unique natural and cultural ensemble which is the pride of the Russian North.

The famous Solovets monastery, founded in the first half of the 15th century by two monka-hermits Savvati and Zossima. Originally wooden, the monastery was built on a spot between the lake and the sea. The assumption Church and the Transfiguration Cathedral were built by talented architects. Their majestic interiors, their original and impressive exteriors bear testimony to the leading role of the monastery.

Late in the 17th century the Solovky becomes a Russian outpost in the North. A unique boulder fortress is raised round wooden and stone buildings, whose defense works looked a severe warning to enemy. Settlers began to build a village round the monastery walls simultaneously with the growth of the monastery, but almost only the 19th century buildings are preserves till our days. They are hotels, toilers’ houses, sheds and storehouses of various outbuildings.

From ancient times tradesmen’s huts were built on the islands, anchorites’ hermitages were created. Picturesque roads on whose sides one can see glimpses of shining mirrors of lakes among forests, heaps of moss-grown boulders and luxuriant grass, lead there.One of the Solovets roads ends in a powerful boulder dam which connects the two neighboring islands.

The Solovky canal system is quite unique. It was created in the middle of the 16th century, but late in the 19th and early in the 20th century a part of it was considerably enlarged and used for navigation. It stretches for 10 kilometres and connects the largest island’s lakes. The highest peak of the islands is the Pole-Axe mountain on whose summit the churce-lighthouse was built. From there, an exciting panorama of large tracts of forest, lakes, hermitages and the sealine on the horizon is seen. The various Solovky monuments and their artistic and practical unity reveal a striking originality of the Solovets architecture and talent of their creators.