Solovetsky Islands (Solovki), are an archipelago located in Onega Bay of White Sea (Arctic Russia). The archipelago covers a total area of approx 347 km2 (134 ml2) and has total population around 900 (most living in Solovetsky). As administrative division, Solovki are incorporated as Arkhangelsk Oblast's Solovetsky District. As municipality, they are incorporated within Primorsky Municipal District as "Solovetskoye Rural Settlement". The administrative center (and largest settlement) Solovetsky is located on Bolshoy Solovetsky Island.
An interesting feature are the unique stone labyrinths (especially those on Bolshoi Zayatsky Island). Such elaborate labyrinths were common for Northern Europe. As the most of them perished, Solovetsky Islands now have some of the most beautiful remaining structures.
The islands are best-known for the religios complex Russian Orthodox Solovetsky Monastery. It was established in the 15th century by two monks from Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery (Northern Russia's largest and strongest fortress). By late-16th century, the abbey became one of the most influential and wealthiest landowners in Russia.
In 1974, Solovki was designated architectural and historical museum and nature reserve. In 1992, the islands were included in UNESCO's World Heritage List as an example of a monastic settlement which illustrates the faith, tenacity and enterprise of late-medieval religious communities. Currently, Solovki is among the major tourism travel destinations in Arctic Russia.
Solovetsky Islands cruise terminal
Most cruise ships to Solovetsky Islands dock (anchor) at Solovetsky - port town on the western coast.
Solovetsky Islands tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Bolshoi Zayatsky Island (stone labyrinths)