by Olga BORISOVA, journalist
The Solovki State Historico-Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve was established in 1967 on the basis of a unique architectural ensemble of the monastery of the same name-a masterpiece of Russian medieval architecture. In 1992, the whole complex of local ancient monuments formed a part of the UNESCO World Heritage, and in 1995 it was registered in the State List of valuable objects of cultural heritage of the peoples of the Russian Federation.
The amazing place we are going to speak about is a man-made miracle in the midst of a beautiful, but unfriendly northern nature that attracts travelers from all over the world. The Solovki Archipelago, consisting of six big and a number of small islands in the western part of the White Sea about 160 km away from the Polar Circle, hosts one of the biggest cultural and educational centers of our country. It comprises over 1,000 objects of the 2nd-1st millennia B.C.-20th century, about 18,000 museum pieces of the main reserves and over 65,000 pieces of the subsidiary scientific stock.
Among the most ancient archeological monuments of the museum-reserve are remnants of sanctuaries and sites of fishers and hunters, which show that the first inhabitants of the islands were tribes of ancestors of the Sami people*, who also lived on southern and western coasts of the White Sea. Perhaps, it is they who constructed mysterious "northern labyrinths"—spirals of 3.4-25.4 m in diameter laid out on the ground using small-sized boulders. There are 35 similar structures on Solovki, 13 of them on Bolshoi Zayatsky Island (similar figures have been found in Ireland, France, Scandinavia, which makes many scientists believe that there once existed a single nation in the north and west of Europe).
On this small island (only 1.5 km2 in area), there are also located 35 symbolic stone layouts—dolmens**, rows of dikes, polygons, pyramids, etc., as well as hundreds of mounds. Acco ... Read more