KARELIA & ARCHANGEL
Date: 12 August - 24 August, 2013
Lecturer: Alex Koller
Cost: £3285 • Course Code: KARE-13
For centuries the far-flung lands of Karelia and Archangel served as a refuge for hermits who later established great monastic communities. Traditional lifestyle has proved tenacious in Russia's distant northern territories, and common to the whole area is an outstanding natural beauty, from the lakes and islands of Karelia to the seemingly endless forest tracts of Archangel.
Our journey through the Republic of Karelia will introduce participants to many unexpected communities, not least the ancient monastery on the island of Valaam and the old town of Sortavala on the shores of Lake Ladoga.
From Kemj on the White Sea we will make the short voyage to the great pilgrimage site of Solovetsky Monastery, which blends the grandeur of a religious shrine with the austerity of a northern fortress.
From Solovky we fly to the city of Archangel, founded by Ivan the Terrible. As well as acquainting ourselves with the old town, we will visit the open-air Museum of Wooden Architecture at Malye Karely with its 18th century survivals from the peasant villages of northern Russia. Not far away lies the White Sea village of Kholmogory: after Ivan the Terrible granted trade privileges to the Company of Merchant Adventurers in 1555, the settlement became a centre for English merchants.
This tour navigates some of the most isolated – and most rewarding – corners of Russia, visiting towns and villages rarely frequented by westerners. Designed for the adventurous traveller, our itinerary involves some early starts and long journeys with accommodation varying in standard from the basic hotels of the Solovky Islands to the greater comfort of the hotels in Archangel and St Petersburg.
Tour Director Alex Koller, PhD (Cantab), is an expert in art history and architecture. Alex has lived and studied in Salzburg, Oxford and Cambridge. In addition to his interest in art history, Alex is a linguist, numbering German, French, Italian and Russian amongst his languages.
Day 1Depart Heathrow 0920 on British Airways for St Petersburg, arriving 1535. Overnight in St Petersburg.
Day 2By hydrofoil to island of Valaam on Lake Ladoga: Valaam Monastery (Russia's oldest monastery, with lunch in monastery). Transfer by boat to Sortavala for overnight stay.
Day 3Through picturesque Karelia lowland (marble quarries, boat trip on lake) to Petrozavodsk for three nights.
Day 4Whole-day excursion by boat to Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega: masterpieces of wooden architecture (including 22 domes of Church of Transfiguration and Russia's oldest wooden church).
Day 5Petrozavodsk (founded by Peter the Great): Museum of Natural History, monasteries, churches and monuments followed by tour of surrounding countryside.
Day 6Via Kondopoga (impressive wooden Church of the Dormition) and Kivach (waterfalls) to Kemj (cathedral) for overnight stay.
Day 7Transfer by boat to Solovky Islands for three nights. Afternoon: Solovetsky Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site and location of fervent monastic activity since 15th century) and museum.
Day 8Boat trip to Zayatskij Island (tundra vegetation, pre-historic labyrinths) followed by optional visit to Sekirnaya Gora (former concentration camp).
Day 9Whole-day excursion by rowing boat on monk-made canals and lakes with visit to botanical garden.
Day 10Depart Solovky by air for two nights in Archangel.
Day 11Archangel: fort-like merchant houses, monastery, cathedral, old port area of Solombala (church and cemetery).
Day 12Museum of Wooden Architecture at Malye Karely (farmsteads, houses, windmills), Antonievo-Siiskii Monastery, Kholmogory (16th century centre for English merchants), churches at Zaostrovje. Depart Archangel by air for St Petersburg for overnight stay.
Day 13Lower Park at Peterhof. Depart St Petersburg 1655, arriving Heathrow 1730.