Zaonezhye Vkontakte@kizhi

Karelia, the land of woods and lakes, is really an unique area, where these main components of its nature are combined with very special, inimitable ones. This area is Zaonezhye on the northwestern coast of Lake Onega.

Zaonezhye is the inlay of long and narrow cliffs grown with green moss and blue lakes and fjord-like bays of Onega.

Zaonezhye is an unique piece of land with peculiar climate, vegetation, complicated landscapes and picturesque scenes, unique bogs rich in herbs and berries.

Zaonezhye is the main «well» of Karelia, having numerous springs of sweat water, valuable mineral springs that make the area equal to famous spas of Northern Europe.

Zaonezhye is a specific zoogeographical region, national, cultural and historic rarity of the worldwide significance.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи":]


The main type of vegetation in Karelia is forest. Spruce forests are dominant, and they account for ½ of the wooded area. The area of the wetlands in Zaonezhye is significantly lower that that in the rest of Karelia and account for 10-15%. Meadows are quite common in Zaonezhye. Among them there are a lot of abandoned, overgrown arable land and hay fields.

The fertile soil, mild climate, abundance of moisture, diverse ecological conditions contribute to favorable environment for the development of a variety of rich vegetation. Although the main species of trees, bushes and grass here are similar to those in the adjacent territories, it is amazing how much the forests, meadows and bogs of Zaonezhye differ from the usual northern vegetation communities.

Zaonezhye is classified as specific floristic area of Karelia due to its botanic, geomorphological and climatic characteristics. Zaonezhye can boast many rare plants.

Many plants growing here are in different Red Books. For example, lady's slipper, water lobelia, rockrose are in the Red Book of the USSR. There are over 100 species of Zaonezhye plants in the Red book of Karelia.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи":]

The fauna of the land vertebrates

Zaonezhye Peninsular can boast a specific variety of fauna. There are 233 land vertebrates, including 190 species of birds, 36 of mammals, and 7 of amphibians and reptiles. The limits of distribution of many species of northern and southern origin, of western and eastern varieties of the fauna overlap in Zaonezhye.

The woods of Zaonezhye have preserved a rich fauna of game, especially of elk, alpine hair, fox, that have very high population densities. Also bears, badgers, martens, lynxes, and otters can be found here. There is abundance of forest game birds, especially wood grouse, black grouse and hazel hen. The islands and coastal area abound in colonies of gulls, the most common being river gulls, herring gulls and terns. Numerous river and diving ducks, sandpipers nest here. Among them there are a lot of rare and vulnerable species: black-throated divers, loons, wigeons, water pheasant, lesser black-backed gulls.

The list of rare and vulnerable fauna species on the territory of Zaonezhye is very long and contains 38 species of land vertebrates. Osprey, golden eagle, white-tailed eagle, perigrine falcon, swan, barnacle goose are included in the Red Book of the USSR. Kestrel, Aesalon columbarius, gray crane, eagle owl, great gray owl, snowy owl, black goose, lesser white-fronted goose, weasel, flying squirrel, roe, otter, adder, blind-worm, spotted newl are included in the Red Book of Karelia.

Ecological tourism

Zaonezhye peninsula and the Kizhi skerries are among the most picturesque and interesting regions from the point of view of educational tourism. A lot of individual tourists visit this area and their number is increasing. In order to preserve the most vulnerable and valuable natural communities and monuments and to prevent anthropogenic effects, the Kizhi Museum has identified and coordinated shelters for water tourists, arranged patrolling the area by security and officials of nature protection sector of the Museum. In future, we are going to have special service of the forest protection or game warden service to provide the conservation of the Kizhi skerries and to identify a net of natural monuments of regional significance in this area.

Ecological routes of the Kizhi Museum

We also find it worth organizing ecological tourism that includes visiting and sightseeing interesting natural objects in the vicinity of Kizhi Island an in the whole Zaonezhye Peninsula. This can help to finance conservation activity and to smooth negative effects on the nature. Ecological routes are supposed to be laid considering all protected sites and maintenance of natural monuments of the Kizhi Museum.

Ecological path of the Kizhi Island

The ecological path tour on the Kizhi Island was developed in 1994. In 2006, “Ecology and natural resources of the Republic of Karelia for 2004–2010” Program con-tributed to the improvement of the tour. The tour goes along the southern part of the island up to the highest point (Naryina Hill) and then it comes back to the pier along another route.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи":]

Following the ecological path, you will get acquainted with natural objects of the Kizhi island and learn a lot about it.

Were published the following reference media:

  1. «Экологическая тропа острова Кижи. Путеводитель» (in russian).
  2. "Ecological path of the Island of Kizhi".

You can order this guide-book in English and in Russian in our E-Shop.

The virtual tour "Nature of the Kizhi island" was elaborated on basis of the real tour of the Ecological path.[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи":]

"Kizhi archipelago: nature and a human"

In 2007 an unusual tourist product – ecological excursion on Kizhi archipelago was offered to the visitors of the Kizhi Island.

In the whole, the excursion may undoubtedly be interesting for those who are fond of nature and history. Nowadays the problem of mutual relations between a person and the surrounding nature is still actual. Looking into the past, one should note that our ancestors were able to live in the natural environment, were able to use its riches showing concern about nature, and perhaps this fact will force modern people to reflect on their attitude to nature and their contribution on preservation of natural environment.

The tour lasts for 5 hours.

"The Nature of the abandoned village"[текст с сайта музея-заповедника "Кижи":]

The itinerary lies on the territory of former village of Podyelniki which existed here during several centuries. The village of Podyelniki is, probably, the most surprising and fantastic place in the Kizhi skerries. Here, as nowhere else, the monument of Russian wooden architecture – the Chapel of Paraskeva Pjatnitsa and Varlaam Hutynsky looks harmoniously in the natural environment.

We invite you to take tour, to get acquainted with the nature of this fascinating corner of the Kizhi skerries and to try to imagine the life of local peasants which lasted here during three last centuries.

The itinerary is about 2 km long.

// Nature of the Kizhi Skerries

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Музеи России - Museums in RussiaМузей-заповедник «Кижи» на сайте Культура.рф