The photogenic Solovetskiy Fortress is the heart of the small village of the same name, both literally and figuratively. Its massive walls and most of its churches date all the way back to the 16th century. You can wander freely inside at no charge.The monastery was closed by the Soviet government in 1921 and returned to the monastic community in...more
There is a cemetery for the victims of the Solovki Special Purpose Camp ("Solovetsky Lager' Osobogo Naznachenia", commonly referred to by its abbreviation: SLON) not far outside the Solovetskiy Monastery.It is a very modest plot of land, roughly surrounded by stones. There is a wooden cross as well as a stone with a plaque bearing the inscription...more
Many of the ancient labyrinths of the Solovetskiy Archipelago are on Zayatsky Island. Guided tours to Zayatsky Island, including transportation by boat, can be arranged at the Excursions Bureau. Because it was still early in the summer (late June), there were few foreign tourists and we had to take a tour in Russian, but we ended up meeting some...more
Kayut-Kompania is a "stolovaya" (canteen) that holds the distinction of being the Solovetskiy Islands' only non-hotel-affiliated restaurant.
The service had a special touch, with the owners' little girls acting as waitresses. It was endearing to watch them take their job so seriously! The food was excellent, inexpensive and surprisingly varied. Instead of choosing from a list of complete dishes, we could put together our own meal by selecting individual items from the menu.
The third time we went there, the staff had gotten to know us as those weird "non-Russians" who kept carrying a pocket-sized dictionary to translate the menu, and the little girls could not hold back a smile...
Favorite Dish: The vegetable stew was a great side dish to any meal we took.
In the summer (roughly, June to August), a daily ferry service connects the village of Rabocheostrovsk and the Solovetskiy Islands. Departure times are 8 a.m. from Rabocheostrovsk and 5:30 p.m. from the Solovetskiy Islands.
The ferry fills up quickly, so if you want a good seat, try to be among the first to get on board! On our way to Solovki in particular, the ferry was packed with people.
Because the ferry ride lasts 2½ hours (meaning the ferry docks at Rabocheostrovsk at 8 p.m.), it is a good idea to plan for a night's stay at Rabocheostrovsk's Prichal Hotel after you return -- conveniently located beside the ferry terminal, it's the only hotel in town (literally!) and they serve breakfast in the morning.
Predictably, most people visit the Solovetskiy Islands in the summer, when the weather is relatively warm (10-15 degrees). However, tourists aren't the only creatures showing up in droves here in the summer -- mosquitoes and midges want a piece of the action (or, at the very least, of your skin) as well!
Therefore wear clothes that cover your entire body and carry some insect repellent as well. The attached photo says it all.
Luggage and bags:
There are no ATMs on the Solovetskiy Islands, and credit cards are seldom accepted. To avoid the unenviable situation of running out of money, plan ahead of time and bring an adequate amount of cash with you.
It helps to make a budget, then gather a bit of extra cash in case you buy more souvenirs or take more expensive tours than you expected.
Miscellaneous: There are no ATMs on the Solovetskiy Islands, and credit cards are seldom accepted. To avoid the unenviable situation of running out of money, plan your budget ahead of time, gather the amount of cash you will need, then take a little extra in case you buy more souvenirs or take more expensive tours than you expected.
Behind the Solovki Tourist Complex there is an abandoned prison. It was never used, having been built just before the authorities decided to close down the Solovetskiy prisons.
From the outside, you can get a peek at the abandoned interior, which lies in ruins. However, if you can find the one unlocked door (with white 3-2-1 numbers painted on it), you are in for a very, very creepy experience. Some people eventually told us we weren't supposed to go in, so make sure you don't get caught either!