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Ruskeala, Karelia | Courtesy of Alena Leskova
Ruskeala, Karelia | Courtesy of Alena Leskova
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These Photos Will Put Russian Karelia on Your Bucket List

Picture of Dasha Fomina
Updated: 1 November 2017
Russia‘s natural wonders are truly a sight to behold. Together with Kamchatka and the Altai Mountains, the Republic of Karelia is among the most popular destinations in Russia for lovers of the great outdoors, thanks to its pristine lakes, historic sites, breathtaking landscapes and traditional food. As if you needed any more convincing, check out these stunning images from St. Petersburg-based photographer Alena Leskova.

Located in the north-west of Russia, Karelia is famous for its unspoilt nature and wooden architecture.

While 50% of Karelia is forest, the republic is also home to 27,000 rivers and 61,000 lakes, with Ladoga and Onega lakes being the largest.

Spreading over 170 square kilometers, Karelia offers attractions for every taste: there’s the Lake Ladoga area with Valaam Monastery and the spectacular Onega Lake with the world-famous Kizhi pogost and mysterious petroglyphs, as well the ancient towns of Sortavala and Olonets, not to mention the White Sea with its harsh beauty.

Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, and its picturesque suburbs are also worth exploring, if only to visit Russia’s first spa, founded by Peter the Great – Marcial Waters.

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Ruskeala, Karelia | Courtesy of Alena Leskova

Part of Ruskeala mountain park, Ruskeala marble quarries were commissioned by Catherine the Great in the 18th century to supply marble for various construction projects in St.Petersburg, including Saint Michael’s Castle, the Marble Palace, the Hermitage and St. Isaac’s Cathedral. In the 19th century the quarry was abandoned and flooded to become one of Russia’s most visually arresting tourist attractions.