Solovetsky Islands

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Coordinates: 65°05′N 35°53′E / 65.083°N 35.883°E / 65.083; 35.883

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Solovetsky Monastery in 1915.
Solovetsky Islands in 1915 by Prokudin-Gorsky

Type Cultural
Criteria iv
Reference 632
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 1992 (16th Session)
Solovetsky Islands at the map of the White Sea

The Solovetsky Islands (Russian: Солове́цкие острова́), or Solovki (Соловки́), are an archipelago located in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, Russia. The islands are served by the Solovki Airport. Area: 347 square kilometers (134 sq mi).

A 1570 map by Abraham Ortelius shows the location of "Salofki".

As an administrative division, the islands are incorporated as Solovetsky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast, Russia.[1] Within the framework of municipal divisions, they are incorporated as Solovetskoye Rural Settlement within Primorsky Municipal District.[2] The administrative center of both divisions is the settlement of Solovetsky, located on Bolshoy Solovetsky Island. Almost all of the population of the islands lives in Solovetsky. As of the 2010 Census, the population of the district was 861 inhabitants.[3]

Geography[edit]

The archipelago consists of six islands:

The islands separate the Onega Bay from the main volume of the White Sea. The closest mainland is the Onega Peninsula.

The shores of the islands are very indented. They are formed of granites and gneiss. The relief of the islands is hilly (the highest point is 107 m). Most of the Solovetsky Islands are covered with Scots Pine and Norway Spruce forests, which are partially swampy. There are numerous lakes, which were joined by monks so as to form a network of canals.

One interesting feature of these islands is stone labyrinths and other stone settings, especially the Stone labyrinths of Bolshoi Zayatsky Island. Such labyrinths were typical for Northern Europe, but most have perished and now Solovetsky Islands have some of the best remaining examples.

Monastery[edit]

Main article: Solovetsky Monastery

Historically the islands have been the setting of the famous Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery complex. It was founded in the second quarter of the 15th century by two monks from the Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery. By the end of the 16th century, the abbey had emerged as one of the wealthiest landowners and most influential religious centres in Russia.

The existing stronghold and its major churches were erected in stone during the early reign of Ivan the Terrible at the behest of St. Philip of Moscow. At the onset of the Schism of the Russian Church, the monks staunchly stuck to the faith of their fathers and expelled the tsar's representatives from the Solovki, precipitating the eight-year-long siege of the islands by the forces of Tsar Alexis.

"Bombardment of the Solovetsky Monastery by the Royal Navy during the Crimean War". A lubok (popular print) from 1868.

Throughout the imperial period of Russian history, the monastery was renowned as a strong fortress which repelled foreign attacks during the Livonian War (16th century), Time of Troubles (17th century), the Crimean War (19th century), and the Russian Civil War (20th century).

Labor camp[edit]

Main article: Solovki prison camp

After the October Revolution, the islands attained notoriety as the site of the first Soviet prison camp (gulag).[4] The camp was inaugurated in 1921, while Vladimir Lenin was still at the helm of Soviet Russia. It was closed in 1939, on the eve of the World War II. By the beginning of the war, there was a naval cadet training camp for the Soviet Northern Fleet.

In 1974, the Solovetsky Islands were designated a historical and architectural museum and a natural reserve of the Soviet Union. In 1992, they were inscribed on the World Heritage List "as an outstanding example of a monastic settlement in the inhospitable environment of northern Europe which admirably illustrates the faith, tenacity, and enterprise of later medieval religious communities".[5] Today, the Solovki are seen as one of the major tourist magnets in the orbit of the Russian North.[citation needed]

Transportation[edit]

There is regular air service to Arkhangelsk, as well as regular passenger sea connections (only in summer) to Arkhangelsk, Kem, and Belomorsk.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Law #65-5-OZ
  2. ^ Law #258-vneoch.-OZ
  3. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  4. ^ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1975). The Gulag Archipelago. Collins & Harvill Press. p. Vol. 2, Part III, Chapter 2. 
  5. ^ "Cultural and Historic Ensemble of the Solovetsky Islands". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 10 August 2011. 

Sources[edit]

  • Архангельское областное Собрание депутатов. Областной закон №65-5-ОЗ от 23 сентября 2009 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Архангельской области», в ред. Областного закона №677-40-ОЗ от 5 июня 2013 г. «О внесении дополнений и изменений в отдельные Областные Законы в связи с изменением законодательства о градостроительной деятельности». Вступил в силу через десять дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Волна", №43, 6 октября 2009 г. (Arkhangelsk Oblast Council of Deputies. Oblast Law #65-5-OZ of September 23, 2009 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Arkhangelsk Oblast, as amended by the Oblast Law #677-40-OZ of June 5, 2013 On Supplementing and Amending Various Oblast Laws Due to Changes in the Urban Development Legislation. Effective as of the day which is ten days after the official publication.).
  • Архангельское областное Собрание депутатов. Областной закон №258-внеоч.-ОЗ от 23 сентября 2004 г. «О статусе и границах территорий муниципальных образований в Архангельской области (текст в ред. от 15 февраля 2010 г.)», в ред. Областного закона №121-7-ОЗ от 21 апреля 2014 г. «О преобразовании муниципальных образований "Двинское" и "Тимошинское" Верхнетоемского муниципального района Архангельской области путём их объединения». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Волна", №38, 8 октября 2004 г. (Arkhangelsk Oblast Council of Deputies. Oblast Law #258-vneoch.-OZ of September 23, 2004 On the Status and Borders of the Territories of the Municipal Formations in Arkhangelsk Oblast (text of rev. of February 15, 2010), as amended by the Oblast Law #121-7-OZ of April 21, 2014 On the Transformation of the Municipal Formations of "Dvinskoye" and "Timoshinskoye" in Verkhnetoyemsky District of Arkhangelsk Oblast By Merging Them Together. Effective as of the day of the official publication.).

Further reading[edit]

  • Brumfield, William. Solovki: Architectural Heritage in Photographs (Moscow: Tri Kvadrata, 2008) ISBN 978-5-94607-102-5 OCLC 255613915 (in English and in Russian)

External links[edit]