Duration 5 hours
2019 25.05-31.10
Further information: Tourist Agency «Valaam», Irina Smirnova tel.+7 921 223 19 93 valaam@sortavala.ru
Licence TD 0006965 du 20.05.03 Certificate N° POCC RU. ÀÞ 34. MOO958 du 18.04.2005
Ladoga Karelia

ValaamLadoga Karelia is a historical province, which belonged at various times to Sweden, Finland, Russia. It is believed that the patron saint of this land is St. Apostle Andrew the First Called. According to the old Valaam monastery tradition in the 1 century St. Andrew preaching the gospel visited the archipelago and having destroyed the pagan cult sites set up a stone cross on its rocks.
The land of Karelians is first mentioned in Scandinavian sagas as Kirjalaland and Kirjalabottnar. The strong and energetic Karelian people transformed their territory into a highly civilized area which stretched from the Baltic to the White Sea. The sagas contain information on Lake Ladoga and marvelous landscapes of the territory, they tell of audacity and astonishing strength of its inhabitants and of surprising animals.

ValaamIn the vicinity of Sortavala, the central town of Ladoga Karelia, are located spectacular thousand-year cultural landscapes and hills with ruins of medieval fortresses or remains of their stone walls. One of them is a fortress hill Paaso, the historical centre of Sortavala, its pride and its fame. It is highly probable that in 1187 just from an ancient harbor at the foot of Paaso the Karelians set out for their legendary and victorious seaborne raid to Sigtuna, the main stronghold of the Scandinavian warriors... The descendants of that strong Kirjala tribe are still living in the Tver region though mainly assimilated into the Russian population.
At the time of establishing cultural and other links between Novgorod the Great and Karelia there has been founded an orthodox monastery on the Valaam Islands, also known in the Christian world as a “monastic republic” and the "Northern Athos". Monks of Valaam later founded new monasteries in Russia penetrating as far as Alaska. Among the Valaam monks glorified by the Church was Saint Herman of Alaska, canonized in 1970 by the Orthodox Church in America as the first Orthodox saint of America.

ValaamIn the 17 century Ladoga Karelia was part of the Swedish Kingdom and received a strong influence of Scandinavian culture. In 1812 Russian Emperor Alexandre 1 joined the province to the Grand Duchy of Finland and its towns and villages began to acquire Finnish features.
In 1920-30 under the independent Finland there used to function in Sortavala an efficient system of "landscape tourism", its pivot being the most valuable landscape components around the town and of the whole Ladoga Karelia. After the cession of the territory to Soviet Russia Sortavala has lost much of its value. However historic monuments and sites of Old Finland, popular with the tourists in the 1930-s now are again placed in the spotlight. Besides, cultural landscapes of Ladoga Karelia are considered as memorable places of an ancient and recent history of the Karelians and the Finns. Heritage areas of the territory include medieval fortress hills, archeological sites, abandoned settlements, old travel itineraries, picturesque scenery, all this being an important resource of the territory and its tourist wealth.

¬алаамThe Valaam Islands with now active Transfiguration Monastery is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Republic of Karelia. The spiritual significance of the famous Orthodox center and natural beauty of the place have long attracted pilgrims and visitors from all over the world. Boat cruises to Valaam are typically arranged from Saint-Petersburg, the other way of reaching the islands is via Ladoga Karelia with Sortavala as your starting point. It is the nearest town in the mainland, located 43 km from the archipelago. Travelers are transported to Valaam by hydrofoil or by motor ship. The trip will give you an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery of coastal hills and groups of numerous rocky islands, so called the “skerries” zone.


Price 57И/ per person

Departure from Sortavala at 9.00 and 11.00
Departure from Valaam at 15.00 and 17.00
Duration 5 hours: 2,5 h. tour of the main monastery (by foot) + 2 h. visiting the small monasteries (УsketesФ), concert, lunch, English-speaking guide.

Departure from Sortavala by hydrofoil (50 min.). Arrival at the Monastery Bay of Valaam.

Tour of the Monastery of the Transfiguration of the Savior: the Cathedral, the church of St. Paul and Pierre, chapels, memorial signs, orchards and alleys.
Concert of church singing (20 min.)
Short transfer to the Great Nicon Bay (by boat, 15 min.)
Lunch in the refectory for pilgrims.
The second excursion "New Jerusalem", including Ressurection and† Gethsemane †Sketes.

Visiting the church and the "Tomb of Christ" (20 cent.). The ћount Zion and the Mount of Olives.
Departure for Sortavala from Nicon Bay.
Longer tours to Valaam are available too.

What else can you see on Valaam?

Natural sculptures of the island can be named one of the most remarkable phenomena of Valaam. Wind, water, ice and time have turned some stones and blocks of the rocks into wonderful masterworks, shaped by Nature itself. They resemble the human profiles, faces with clear features or a strange animal...


In 1920-1930 Finland built on the Karelian Isthmus a defensive fortification system against the Soviet Union. It is known as the Ђ Mannerheim Lineї. Some batteries of this Line were deployed on the Valaam archipelago. These fortifications still attract tourists and produce a strong impression.années 1920-1930 la Finlande pour se protéger de l'Union soviétique a construit sur l'Isthme de Carélie un système de fortifications défensives, nommé Ђligne Mannerheimї.† LТarchipel Valaam a fait partie de ce système, on y a installé des puissantes batteries côtières. Ces fortifications† même aujourdТhui font une vive impressionЕ

Further information: Tourist Agency «Valaam», Irina Smirnova tel.+7 921 223 19 93 valaam@sortavala.ru
Licence TD 0006965 du 20.05.03 Certificate N° POCC RU. ÀÞ 34. MOO958 du 18.04.2005
© ќ.ј.яровой, ».ј.—мирнова