Wandering Camera

Album 198
(Translated by
Victoria Terarsenian)


As you may recall from the previous album, we got to the city of Sortavala and waited for the boat to bring us to Valaam. The Valaam Archipelago is located on Lake Ladoga and can be reached by boats from the cities of Sortavala and Priozersk, as well as by cruise boat from St. Petersburg.

After about an hour we sailed from Sortavala, one could already see the numerous rocky islands of the archipelago. Our tour to Valaam will consist of two parts. This album covers the major tourist attractions. The other one takes you to Valaams less well-known corners.


Valaam is an arichipelago consisting of one main island, also called Valaam, and numerous little islands. These islands are partly connected by bridges and some of them are accessible by boat. The islands shores are mainly composed of granites and diabases.
There are several different theories about the origins of the name Valaam. Sometimes the name of the island is attributed to the name of the pagan god Baal (Veles). According to the second theory the Finno-Ugric word valatka, meaning Ladoga white-fish gave its name to the island. The third one takes into considerations Finnish word valaamo which can be translated as the high lands. There are 10 lakes on the island. The highest elevation is 42 meters.
We reach the land at the Monastery Bay. Here is the view of Nikolsky Skete on Nikolsky island (see more pictures in the next album).
The main attraction of the island is Spaso-Preobrazhensky monastery devoted to the Transfiguration of Our Savior.
There are all kinds of sheds and boathouses along the shores.
This chapel must be of modern origin
General view of the place with a little pier on the right.
Here the one can see people getting off the boats.

As far as I know there is only one hotel on the entire island. Legally, since the island is protected as a historical and natural reserve, the ships are not supposed at the pier for more than six hours at a time.

There are quite a number of motorboats, as well as cruise boats by this pier, even though a second landing pier exists.
A collective taxi operates from the landing pier.

However the demand for the taxi is not as high as its fare almost 30 rubles, whereas in St. Petersburg the same ride would cost only 8 to 10 rubles.

Alternative transportation :)

Souvenir stalls

The monastery garden
The picture of the cross, chiseled in the rock by the shore.

Its difficult to make out the wording

Jesus Christ


Its only ten minutes walk from the pier to the Monastery.

Here is Znamensky Chapel to honor the icon of Our Lady of the Sign.

It was erected in 1862 to commemorate the visit to the island by the Emperor Alexander II.

And here is the obelisk commemorating the visits by the other royalty guests.

(click here to zoom)

Monastery entrance. The admission through the first gate is free and it is open to the general public. The second gate is intended for groups only.
There, behind the second gate stands the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Savior, built in 1887-1896 by the architects G. Karpov and A. Silin. Intensive reconstruction activity is going on inside the cathedral.

The monastery cloisters surround the cathedral in a form of two walls, through which the gates are cut.

The first monastery was built on Valaam in the 14th century.

The construction works reached its peak during the reign of Peter the Great, and then again at the end of the 19th century.
After the October revolution Finland gained independence and the island became a part of its territory in 1918.
After the Finnish-Soviet war of 1939 Valaam became a part of the USSR.

A Navy school was housed there in 1940.
In 1941 the Nazis occupied Valaam. It was liberated in 1944.

From 1952 to 1984 a boarding house for disabled soldiers and elderly people was located there.
Historical and architectural reserve was established on Valaam in 1979.
In 1989 the right of using the cathedral and some nearby sketes was again granted to the diocese. Only by 1991 all of the clerical and administrative buildings were finally returned to the monastery.

Now, lets leave the monastery and stroll around the island itself. This is captured in the next album.




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