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The Republic of Karelia is located in the North-West district of Russia. Karelia is world-known with its unique unsullied nature: rocks, hills and plains, fir and pine forests, crystal pure lakes and rivers. Fauna of Karelia amazed not less than flora. There are 63 species of mammals, 283 species of birds ? plenty of them entered in the Red Book.

Karelia was a free state in the VII-XI centuries. In the XI century Karelian princedom became autonomy as the part of the Republic of Novgorod. In 1338 Novgorod deprived Karelia of its autonomy and till the XVII century Karelia was under Novgorod?s control. In 1617 Karelia was annexed to the Swedish kingdom but in 1721 it was returned back to the Russian Empire. In the 1920-s the soviet government organized Karelian Labour Commune and then the Republic of Karelia was created. Nowadays Karelia is one of the most beautiful parts of Russia with its mild climate, wonderful and enchanting nature and different monuments of the Old Russian culture.

Attractions of Karelia

Karelia is an excellent region for tourism. Not only the nature of Karelia but different attractions can called tourists attention to the Republic. It is interesting that in past Karelia was a part of Russian state, of Swedish kingdom and of Finland that?s why one can see different monuments of these cultures at the territory of Karelia.

Tourists can visit health-improving resort Marcialnye Vody (Mars Curative Mineral springs) ? the first spa resort in Russia. The resort is located near the capital of Karelia ? Petrozavodsk and was created by Peter I in 1719. The resort was called in the name of Greek god Mars ? the god of war and iron ? because water at the resort is rich in iron. After the death of Peter I the resort lost its importance and found popularity again in 1964.

The other attraction of Karelia is the island Kizhi ? the monument of Russian wooden architecture. The Churchyard of Kizhi includes two churches and belfry, constructed in the XVIII-XIX centuries. The main church of Kizhi is the church of Transfiguration of Jesus Christ that according to legend was built only with the help of bench axe. The blockhouse of the church was erected in 1714 without use of nails. The church is crowned with 22 cupolas and iconostasis of the church consists of 102 icons. Near the church of Transfiguration Intercession church ? a winter temple with 8 cupolas ? and hipped belfry are located. In Kizhi one can also see the church of Resurrection of Lazar that according to legend was constructed in the end of the XIV century and became the first construction of the cloister of Murom. In addition to these churches one can see the chapels of so-called ?necklace of Kizhi?.

One of the pearls of Karelia is the island Valaam and the cloister of Valaam. The friary is dated to the X-XI centuries but the first record of it is dated to the XIV century. There is a legend that Apostle St. Andrew the First-Called preached at that places and placed a stone cross on the rock. At that place the friary was created. By the XVI century the cloister come to desolation but Peter the Great restored the friary. Nowadays tourists can tour Valaam and see the cloister, Transfiguration cathedral, 72-metre-long belfry, small secluded monasteries and others attractions of the sacred cloister.

Among the attractions of Karelia should be noted several waterfalls, the marble canyon Ruskeala, skerries of the North Ladoga, the rock Vottovaara and the national park Paanayarvi where one of the largest lakes in the world is located. After visiting Karelia the severe nature and the beautiful temples of the Old Russia will always remain in travelers? memory.

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