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River cruises to the island of Valaam

Valaam travel agency offers a wide range of river cruises in 2012. This page will provide you with an interesting information about the island of Valaam. While visiting this island during a river cruise you will enjoy the following programme: A hiking tour to Valaam cells, an excursion to the central homestead of the Holy-Transfiguration Monastery. For an additional payment you may reach the Monastery bay and back by OM or Meteor-type motor vessel.


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View a list of river cruises: Cruises to Valaam,Kizhi, Moscow from St.Petersburg
Valaam archipelago consists 50 rock granite islands and is the main sightseeing of Ladoga Lake. The largest island Valaam is located at the distance of 22 km from the coast. The closest town is Sortavala, 42 km to Valaam. The distance between Saint-Petersburg and Valaam is more than 220 km. Every day thousands of tourists visit the island as a part of their river cruise excursion programme.

The whole island consists of numerous cliffs, islands, capes and bays. Straits and small lakes between granite cliffs and dense vegetation reflect all the objects and slender pine mushroom forest adds to the whole picture admiring visitors with its majestic beauty.
The white nights are surprising being even lighter and shorter than in Saint-Petersburg. One can see contours of trees and belfries in the sky, and the lake surface is like a mirror.

The name Valaam originates from the finnish word valaamo which means high mountain land. The monks liked this name as it resembled the name of the Biblical prophet.
The area full of cliffs, canyons and hills resembles mountain region. The monks did not destroy the forest using only the trees fallen by the wind. Some trees here are more than 300 years old. One maple tree was said to be planted by abbot Damaskin in 1855. It dried up in 1985 and a year later a young maple tree was planted instead of the former long-liver.

Valaam Monastery

The island is famous for its Holy-Transfiguration Monastery an architectural ensemble which was built in the XIV century. The Monastery has always been the only governor of the island. The island and the monastery have become the unique landscape-architectural complex. The monastery has built belfries, cells, internal infrastructure. Through centuries Valaam has been a spiritual center of Orthodox Russia and got the name of Northern Athos. The Holy-Transfiguration cathedral, the Assumption Church, the stables house, White and Red cells have been preserved until nowadays.

The history of Christianity goes back to the past. According to a legend, Apostle Andrew went from Novgorod to Valaam by water route demolishing pagan temples of local tribes and erecting a cross on the wild cliffs. Nine centuries later, still before baptism of Rus, the first monks - Sergius and German came to Valaam having followed the route of Apostle Andrew. That was the beginning of Valaam tenement. Many glorious canonized ascetics were brought up here. The monastery was exposed to attacks and ruin. However, Valaam monks never used weapons condemning themselves to exile and martyrdom. At the beginning of the XVIth century Valaam lands passed to Sweden for 100 years, the monastery being completely destroyed. At the end of the Great Northern War the monastery was revived coming to its highest prosperity in the middle of the XIX century.

All the existing architectural monuments belong to this time. AT the beginning of the XXth century the tenement include 13 cells located in various parts of the island and on other Ladoga islands. Unfortunately many constructions have not been preserved. From 1811 to 1917 the island belonged to Duchy of Fnland. Aftre the revolution Valaam happened to be on the territory of Finland which saved the tenement from the fate characteristic to many Russian monasteries. In February 1940, at the end of Soviet-Finnish war, the monastery residents had to move to Finland. The island housed a school of boatswains and shipboys, then a house of the disabled. Only in December 1989 Valaam monastery was opened again.
Travel company "Valaam" offers a large selection of river and sea cruises to the most picturesque corners of Russia.
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