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Incoming tourists can get the information about tourist sights, itineraries and accomodation in Sortavala and nearby regions in Visit-center of Sortavala city.

Karelian villages Kinerma, Sholtozero and Rubchoila invite you to experience real  country life with its splendid air and imperceptible charm without city ruffle, noise and high technology.

Kemsky

General information
Historical and cultural peculiarities
Natural and climatic peculiarities
Places of interest
Tourist potential

Cities


General information

Kemsky region (area - 8,1 thousand square km, population - 19,9 thousand people) is located mainly in the basin of Kemi river and sides with the White Sea. Meridionally it is crossed by rail road and a highway of the federal significance, which provide the region with an exit to the north and the south of the country. Latitudinally the region is crossed by Kemsky high road, which leads to the border. The administrative city of the region – Kemi city is a sea port of the White Sea and the best place for departure to Solovetskie islands, which are 45 km away. Kemi city is also economical and cultural center of the region. It was founded in XVI century as the courtyard of Solovetsky monastery.

Kemsky region forms the territory of Karelian littoral area. This is a cliffy coastline of the White Sea with numerous islands and rivers. The most ancient settlements were located at river mouths. The local population is Pomorians, which form a separate ethnic group of Russians in the North.

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Historical and cultural peculiarities

According to the latest archeological digs, the ancient site of primitive people on the territory of Kemsky region (in the valley of Kemi river) is dated back to the late IX century. The ethnicity of the local population is still unknown. Scientists found a so-called "Saami pantheon" 20 km away from Kemi on Kuzova islands. These are seids – the sacred stones of Saami. There is no such a large gathering of seids anywhere else.

The labyrinths were also found on the islands. Their purpose is still a mystery. This is a perfect object for tourist show.

Since XII century the systematic settlement of the coastline of the White Sea by Novgorodians was going on. The riches of the north attracted not only Novgorodians, but also Swedish and Norwegian Vikings. Sine XV century the lands belonged to Marfa Boretskaja of Novgorod. In the beginning of XV century (1429) the Solovetsky monastery was founded on Solovki, later it became spiritual and economical center of the White Sea territory.

Step-by-step a separate ethnic group – Pomorians – formed on the coast of the White Sea. They had their own mode of life and culture. The heritage of the Pomorians on the territory of Kemsky region can be found in the ancient villages of Gridino and Kalgalaksha, in which there are lots of architectural monuments.

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Natural and climatic peculiarities

There are lots of bogs, rivers and lakes in Kemsky region. From the west to the east the region is crossed by Kemi river. It is the second longest river in Karelia. Its length is 385 km. The river starts near the border with Finland. On the territory of Kemsky region the river has a steep rise. Earlier there was about 35 rapids and waterfalls on the river. The largest was Unzha waterfall, which was 11.8 meters high. After the construction of the cascade of Kemi hydroelectric power stations the river turned to be a chain of storage pools and the waterfalls disappeared.

Some small rivers, which flow into the White Sea (Letnaja, Pongoma, Kuzema and Vonga), are used for rafting, canoeing and fishing.

Kuzova archipelago, which has the status of a landscape reserve, was organized for saving of the landscapes, flora and fauna of the White Sea. It is also used for active rest of locals and tourists. The archipelago includes the following islands: Russian and German Kuzova, Oleshin, Verkhny, Sredny, Zhivoi, Setnoi, Lodeinyi, Kurichja Niloksa, Tchernetsky and Tupiliha. The archipelago is one of the most beautiful on the White Sea. Lots of sea birds are nesting here (auk, tern, eider and others). Erne and kestrel, which are enlisted in the Red Book of Russia and Karelia, can also be met here. The waters are inhabited with seal and white whale. The region is rich with forests, animals, birds and berries.

The climate of the region is maritime with a chilly summer and warm winter. The region is rich with fish, game bird, forests, and peat.

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Places of interest

Church of St. Nicholas (late XIV century) makes the look of Gridino village very peculiar. The village is located at the mouth of Gridinka river, 3 km away from the White Sea. The village is difficult of access – one can get there by sea or from the railroad station in Engozero.

Gridino and Kalgalaksha villages are in the northern part of the region, and one more interesting village – Panozero – is situated in its eastern part. There are lots of architectural monuments in Panozero too.

There is a museum of Pomorian culture, 3 architectural monuments of the federal significance (one of which is the unique Cathedral of Assumption (1717) and more than 30 architectural and historical objects of republican significance in Kemi city.

Kemi has the status of a historical city and some of its places of interest are worth tourists’ attention. However, the city is very close to Solovki (45 km). Historically the city of Kemi is the most comfortable departure point to these famous islands.

On the way to Solovki tourists have a chance to visit Kuzova islands (the sacred place of ancient Saami). The islands are famous not only for their historical and cultural objects, but also for nature (the reserve of Kuzova archipelago).

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Tourist potential

Thus, Kemsky region has great opportunities for the development of cultural and sports tourism. There are three tourist centers in the region: Kemi city, which had rich cultural heritage and developing tourism infrastructure, Panozero village as an example of interference of Karelian and Russian cultures and the villages of Gridino and Kalgalaksha with their museums of Pomorian culture.

Key lines of the development of tourism:

  • improvement of the quality of tourist services on the territory of the region and in the pier zone of Rabocheostrovsk village;
  • improving safety and increasing control for sea conveyance of passengers to Solovki;
  • development of sports and water tourists;
  • realization of the project on saving of Panozero village as an example of historical heritage of Karelian and Russian cultures;
  • realization of the project on the use of tourist potential of Kuzova islands;
  • perfection of organizing of tourism in the villages of Gridino and Kalgalaksha;
  • completion of reconstruction of The Cathedral of Assumption and perfection of tourism on its territory;
  • establishing regional tourist information center.

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