Karelia: Svyatozero Necklace

After visiting Ladoga Lake surroundings including the marble factory, we continued travelling around Karelia to get acquainted with the ancient architecture of this area – the traditional villages which form the so-called Svyatozero necklace.

On the way, we stopped to see the White Bridges or Yukankoski Waterfall (GPS: 61.753669, 31.408922). To get there, you need to turn from the main road and drive about 10 km along gravel and then bumpy forest road. Some people left their car half of kilometre before the final point, but we managed it till the end with Chevrolet Aveo.
White Bridges Waterfall

The 18-meter waterfall is the tallest in Karelia. It is 8 meters taller than the most famous Kivach Waterfall.
Yukankoski Waterfall

Svyatozero necklace.

Then we went on to discover the villages of Svyatozero necklace. Our first stop was the village of Vedlozero (61.568472, 32.835062). The Church of Ilja the Prophet first mentioned in the XVI century is the main attraction here.
Church of Ilja the Prophet

The village is also known for the fact that in 1928, a strange cylindrical object flew in here and collapsed into Vedlozero lake. Whether the story is true or not, about 50 locals witnessed this event. In 1980, the Committee of Anomalous Phenomena Study sent the expedition here.

Kotchura (61.64859, 33.14464) is not such a famous place as others. Nevertheless, here you can find the cute wooden old chapel of St. John the Divine (XIX century).

chapel of St. John the Divine

It is amazing how such old building still exists in relatively wild conditions. However, it is not unfortunately possible to beat time.
Kotchura chapel

If you go further along the lake to the settlement of Gongalitsa (61.68858, 33.08094), you can see another style, more like a country house.

Make sure you check Kokkoyla, where the chapel of St. Barbara is located (61.600815, 33.3565735).

If you are lucky, it is possible to get the keys from the neighbouring houses and enter inside. The church icon of St. Barbara of the XVIII century is preserved here.

You can climb up and observe the top in the form of spruce cones.
chapel of St. Barbara

And on the way you can collect mushrooms…
mushrooms in Karelia

The settlement of Manga (61.63408, 33.41367) is first mentioned in 1563. The main attraction is the wooden chapel of the Nativity of the Virgin (XVIII century). There is an opinion that it was a church originally, but later Karelians changed it to their own style chapel. Here, we also managed to climb up.

The last restoration was carried out in 1970; therefore, the chapel looks much better, than others. According to some sources, the building is included in the list of objects for restoration to the 100th anniversary of Karelia (2020). It seems strange, because some objects are in desolation.
Manga chapel


We also planned to visit Suryga settlement (62.234367, 34.263073), but did not find anything there. Therefore, after wandering, we stopped at Sandal Camping (62.35659, 34.00297) on the shore of Sandal Lake. This is the wonderful place, and we got some mushrooms again right in the camp.
Sandal Camping

That is how our dinner was spiced with Karelian mushrooms. Moreover, the morning and evening views from camping impressed us a lot.
Sandal lake

Sandal lake

Next day, we visited Kivach Nature Reserve (62.26832, 33.98220) and walked there along the paths a little to watch the waterfall.
Kivach waterfall

Kivach waterfall

The small museum is located on its territory too. Here, you can get acquainted with the local flora and fauna and learn the history of the reserve.
Kivach Nature Reserve

After that, we went to Girvas. Here you can find the old hydropower plant, as well as the remains of lava from the Girvas volcano (parking: 62.48439, 33.66866).
Girvas volcano

Of course, it is not comparable to the Kamchatka lava fields, but is still worth visiting because of the canyon of the Suna River (62.45650, 33.66688) that feeds the Kivach waterfall.
canyon of the Suna River

On the way home, we drove about 500 km to Petersburg with its terrible Sunday afternoon traffic jams. Also, we had a little adventure trying to find the gasoline station. We drove almost 90 km with the fuel alarm. As a result, we arrived at the gas station with almost completely empty tank, only 2 litters left. Do not repeat our mistakes: refuel when there is an opportunity!
empty tank Chevrolet aveo

On the way back, we visited Svyatozero (61.55819, 33.60947), which gave its name to the “necklace”. The Temple of Ilja the Prophet.

We did not have enough time to visit the Museum in Kinerma village (61.52654, 32.82378). The village is also remarkable due to fact that there are only 17 houses in it, and 10 of them are monuments of architecture of 100-200 years old. There are also several villages north of the route: Rubchoyla (61.80161, 33.15711) with the Chapel of St. John the Baptist, Akhpoyla (61.900104, 33.33133) with the Chapel of the Descent of the Holy Spirit and Syapsya (61.91902, 33.37308) with the chapel of Basil the Great.

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