The term of the Russian North unites following regions  located in the north of the  Russian Federation European part: St. Petersburg, the Leningrad Region (St. Petersburg and the Lenigrad Region are distinguished to the separate part of our web site), the Arkhangelsk Region including Nenets Autonomous District, the Murmansk Region, the Vologda Region, Komi Republic and the Republic of Karelia. Vast area of the Russian North borders in the south on regions of the Russian north-west (the Pskov and the Veliky Novgorod Regions) and central part of Russia (the Tver, the Yaroslavl, the Kostroma, the Kirov Regions) and also on the Urals (the Perm Territory), in the West – on Finland and Norway, in the east – on the West Siberia (Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous District and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous District — Yugra), in the north it is washed with the White Sea and the Barents Sea. In XIII-XV cc. all these vast territories were a part of Russian merchant the Novgorod Republic («His Majesty (or Sovereign) Lord Novgorod the Great»). In 1478 the Novgorod Republic was routed by the Moscow Principality and all territories of Novgorod were included into the Moscow state.

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City of Petrozavodsk, the capital of Republic of Karelia, was founded in 1703 according to Peter I order when cannon-moulting plant was built on the shore of the Lake Onega during the Great Northern War (1700-1721) of European states coalition against Sweden. Petrozavodsk is not too large city and 2 hours is quite enough time to visit all local places of interest: the monument to the founder of city Peter the Great built in 1872 for the 200th anniversary of Russian Emperor, the picturesque embankment of the Lake Onega with an open air museum of contemporary European art — sculptures presented to Petrozavodsk by its twin towns (sister cities) from USA, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Finland, Latvia. You will see the classical style ensemble of administrative buildings at the Round Square (XVIII c.), the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built in the Empire style (1832) which is the main Orthodox church of Petrozavodsk.

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Every year dog sledding races for short and middle distances “Through the Sampo Land” are arranged in Karelia (last years the event was held in Petrozavodsk) in January since 2012. Participants from different regions of Russia and also from other countries (Czechia, Finland, the Baltics, Belarus) arrive to Karelia for this event. The author of idea and the main coordinator of these races by sledges of Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, Samoyed dog and other north-breed dogs is famous Russian traveler Victor Simonov. This traveler specializing for dog sledding journeys reached the North pole several times and took part in the first stage of pending unfinished dog sledding expedition Karelia – North pole – Greenland together with another well-known traveler Fyodor Konyukhov). Traditionally the programme of festival includes entertainment, performances of national music groups of the Republic of Karelia, funny competitions with prizes for spectators, free of charge dog sledding for children.

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Souvenirs & insider tips

The Doll House opened in 1999 by local artist Tatiana Kalinina is the only private gallery in Petrozavodsk with its special home atmosphere of kindness, love and happiness.  Tale, reality and mysticism are closely intertwined here. Visiting the gallery you will get acquainted with the mysterious world of dolls. Here you have an opportunity to purchase very good souvenir from Karelia: domovoi and divik (protective house spirits of the Slavic folklore), angels and other funny author’s dolls created by talented local designers.

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Destination map

  • the first Russian health resort (Marzialniye Vody)
  • over 73,000 lakes and rivers
  • 50% of the territory are forests

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