After breakfast, your guide will meet you and take you to the grandiose Solovetsky Monastery, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is how UNESCO describes it: “Founded in the 1430s, the Solovetsky complex is an outstanding example of the tenacity, courage and diligence of monks of the Russian Orthodox Church in the inhospitable environment of Northern Europe. The complex is unique in its integrity and safeguarding of its religious, residential, domestic, defence and waterside constructions, its road network and irrigation systems of the Middle Ages harmoniously blended with the surrounding natural and cultural landscapes as well as archeological sites that reflect the ancient and medieval culture of the islands for six thousand years. The Solovetsky complex represents all periods of the history of the archipelago and the Russian North in general”
You will visit churches and cathedrals, a gallery of the fortress wall, stone chambers, a water mill, a bell tower and other attractions of the ensemble. You will learn about the history and architecture, as well as the military glory of the monastery, founded in the distant 1420-1430s, discovering the reason why a huge fortress was built in such a distant land.
Today you will also learn about the tragic times in the life of the archipelago - the period of the existence of the Solovetsky Special Camp made famous by Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “The GULAG Archipelago” . It was the largest forced labor camp of the 1930s. We will visit a new exposition about the camp and a monument to the Solovetsky prisoners.
After checking into a cozy hotel near the pier of the island in the village of Solovetsky located next to the monastery, you will have a trip to an unusual engineering structure - a dam leading to the island of Bolshaya Muksalma. This dam, built in 1866, is one of the most grandiose hydraulic structures in Russia, serving as a link between the islands of Bolshoy Solovetsky and Bolshaya Muksalma, which is home to the monks of the Sergievsky skete. The dam was built exactly to supply the skete with provisions. The length of the dam is 1220 m, the height is about 4 m, the width ranges from 6 to 15 m. If the weather permits, you can cover the distance of 10 km from the village of Solovetsky to the dam on a bicycle, slowly enjoying the surrounding landscapes and breathing in the sea air with full breasts. After visiting the dam, you will return to your hotel.