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    Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea

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    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    • Solovetsky Islands: Sacred Places in the White Sea
    © Sputnik / Ilya Timin
    In 1436, one of Russia's most famous and holy monasteries was founded by three monks in the Solovetsky Islands. One of the major pilgrimage destinations, the Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery complex extended its commercial activities in the 15th and 16th centuries, becoming an economic and political center of the White Sea region.

    The Solovki, or Solovetsky Islands, are an archipelago located in the White Sea, just 165 km from the Arctic Circle. Washed by the waters of the Onega Bay, the six islands of the archipelago have a total area of 347 square kilometers. Take a look at this outstanding example of a monastic settlement in the Russian North in Sputnik’s photo gallery.

    Prehistoric people inhabited the Solovetsky Islands as early as the Mesolithic period, when the climate was better than today. In the 3rd millennium BC, villages, sacred sites and stone labyrinths were built on the islands.

    Since the 15th century, the archipelago has been the site of fervent monastic activity. In 1967, the Solovki State Historical, Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve, one of the largest nature reserves in Russia, was established here. Today, the islands are home to more than 250 historical and cultural monuments, and included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

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