Karelia: A Russian Fairytale | Kizhi, Petrozavodsk, Old Villages, Finnish Architecture and Bears

Karelia: A Russian Fairytale | Kizhi, Petrozavodsk, Old Villages, Finnish Architecture and Bears

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- Karelia is one of the most unusual regions in Russia. In its history, it has been a county of Novgorod, a duchy in the Swedish kingdom and even a labour commune. In this video I will show you rock paintings that are at least 5000 years old, and there are even erotic scenes. We will see the island of Kizhi, one of the main reserves of old Russian wooden architecture and the huge Onega Lake. We'll see the White Sea and Solovki. We will also compare Soviet and Finnish constructions in border towns.

We will pick Karelian berries and meet alpacas. This year Karelia has become one of the top destinations for tourism in the European part of Russia. As soon as the coronavirus restrictions were eased, tourists flooded in to Karelia. Probably half of my friends have been there

this summer and people choose this region for a reason. This spring I had planned to go on a camping trip to enjoy Russian nature and I did, but in autumn. The Government of the Republic of Karelia invited me on a four-day trip.

Petrozavodsk is the capital city of Karelia. The city was built on the site of an arms factory, which was founded by Peter the Great in 1703. Workers started to settle around it, and soon a small settlement with a population of a few thousand people was formed here.

In 1777 it was given a town status. Karelia and Petrozavodsk are very close to Finland. Locals often visit Finland and its influence is quite strong here, including in relation to some historical buildings. For example, in the centre of Petrozavodsk there are quite a lot of old wooden buildings. They aren't all demolished like in other regions. Of course, they had a lot of problems with demolition

but buildings have been saved, they are looked after, cared for and they look good. You can see the wooden architecture even in the city centre. This is what we enjoy in Finnish cities too. As we know, wooden architecture is very respected in Finland. We don't appreciate it in Russia. Here, they call them rotten wood piles and they'd rather tear them down. So, it's surprising that there are wooden houses in Petrozavodsk. And some of them even look good. Here's an old church that's rather interesting, and it's interesting not only because of its beautiful wooden building, but there's also an amazing old pre-revolutionary cemetery.

These crosses are all old. As we were told, they were all raised 10 years ago, repaired, painted and cleaned, and as a result an old cemetery is preserved in the wood. I think it's an interesting sightseeing spot. And look, here we have a usual house, with a wooden too. Look how small and plain is this tiny house with white window frames and old roof but it looks nicer than a modern block of flats just behind it. It's a sweet little house.

It'd be nice if they built a proper road here. Here we have old post boxes, another stunning old house with cool gates, cool frames. I think it's a museum. "Lazarev House - a cultural heritage site." We just happened to be in for a great event, the replacement of the pavements. The only thing I don't really understand is how people are going to walk during these works.

For some reason, they don't offer any temporary solution. Alright then. It would be nice they would also remove all those strange fences. For some reason people in Petrozavodsk like strange fences and they are everywhere.

Now we go on and see that they're all different. As we know fences are completely useless elements in urban environment. Not only do they spoil the view, but are also dangerous. You see here is this fence, here's a different one, and there's a third one starting there.

I hope that the Mayor of Petrozavodsk will watch this video and decide to make the city even better, and the first thing to do is to remove these useless, stupid fences. And next, friends, we have the stunning old Russian sauna, called Banya building. There's a competition among them here! Look, there's a sauna called Steam here, and there's the Olympus Sauna. There you go. I don't know how great the saunas are, but the fact that they're in a Soviet pre-war building, that remained to this day is great. Talking about the influence of neighbouring Finland, I really wish that you would see paving stones or some cool historical details that we have not yet found.

Maybe we will see something like that soon. Here's a historical fence, by the way. Just as I was talking about architectural details and here it is. Here we are looking at an old fence, I don't know if it is a pre or post war one. There's a 3-storey building but just look at this fence and all of its details! It seems that the fence over there was in a bad state, so they decided to restore it in a way they're familiar with. And this is how they do it today. It's a perfect example of degradation.

It's strange why they couldn't repeat a simple fence, why they had simplify it. There's an old lamppost inside here, and you don't seem many like this one now. The lantern itself is new, but the construction that's not particularly beautiful, is still an important historical detail. There really used to be lampposts like this one before.

It's a simple inexpensive construction, there are just welded angles that go up like this, thinning towards the top. Lampposts like this were put in Petrozavodsk, because there was no money for the luxurious ones, which could be put in the central streets of Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities. But here, in the courtyards, there were simpler lampposts. And the fact that it has survived here is very cool. This is the main pier of Petrozavodsk, from where the motorboats depart for Kizhi and other places of interest. Ticket for Meteor speedboat costs $39

for adults, for a round trip, and $30 one way. But why would you need a one-way ticket? You can't stay there overnight, so you have to get a return ticket. So it costs $23.40 for children under 16 and $39 for adults. Wow. To go to Valaam it'll be $79 for adults and $60 for children. But we're looking for Kizhi, which is $39 there and back by Meteor,

and another $8 for the entrance ticket there. People sometimes say that I don't praise Russia often enough. Actually this is not true. It is very difficult to admire the outskirts of Omsk, for example, when you walk knee-deep in mud and there is only despondency and gloom all around you. But that does not mean that there is nothing wonderful about Russia. Sometimes you come to a place and realise how amazing it is. Let's take a trip to the Kizhi island. It is a place where the original wooden Russian architecture has been preserved, with its special atmosphere and incredible landscapes.

On Kizhi island there are many historical and religious constructions, which have survived the Soviet period without serious destructions. Kizhi church has been recognized as an architectural monument back in 1920s, so the churches weren't plundered and exploded, icons and ornaments weren't taken away and sold. In addition to the existing churches, chapels, houses and other interesting buildings were brought here from all over Karelia. - The island is small, just 5.5 kilometres long. The widest part is 800 meters long. The church, by the way, was built in the narrowest and very inconvenient place. Our pearl, Kizhi churchyard has always been situated on this island.

In modern Russian the word for churchyard "pogost" refers to an old, abandoned, cemetery, but in ancient times "pogost" was a central village, and usually there were two churches and a bell tower. Why are there two churches? One church is enough for prayers, no? But our ancestors always wanted a church to be something special. And they certainly knew how to build one. They're tall, they're very impressive. But they couldn't use them here in the wintertime. It's too cold here and it's difficult to heat such a large building and that's why there's a tradition, to put a small heated winter church next to a big unheated summer church.

Ah, great, here's Vitaly Skopin! He has a lot of stories about restoration process. - Hi, what do you do here? - I am the deputy director of restoration, restorer and client. - That's great. - And I'm the restorer, Vitaly Skopin. Our guys worked here. - The Church of the Transfiguration was built in 1714. It was built on the site of an earlier hipped church

that was burned down by a lightning strike. Throughout its history, the church was closed many times for repairs and restoration. The first renovation took place less than half a century after its completion. And later it was repaired a few more times. Sometimes the works were so serious that it changed the overall appearance of the church.

The most recent major renovation began in 2009, and was completed in 10 years. The point is that by that time the church had been in a state of disrepair for decades and some of the timbers had rotted away almost completely. Because of that, the building had sagged badly and was at risk of collapse. The logs were raised and hung on special metal structures. This allowed the craftsmen to dismantle and restore only the rotten sections. The work done is amazing. It's not very often in Russia that one finds an example of a truly high quality restoration.

What is genuine and what is new here? - The ends of the logs that look old, they are from the early 18th century. The ends that look clean, that's what we did. There's almost 70% of the old material that's been preserved. - So this one here is old and this one above is new? - Yes. - And this is brand new? - Yes. They're a bit different in colour now. It usually takes a long time to even out the colour of the wood inside, but outside you have to inspect it again after a few years.

- There's no impregnation here? - No. - Look at the quality of the work. This log is clearly an original one from 1714. Do you see the log facing? Legend has it that it was done by the craftsman Nestor who built the church.

- The one who built the church with a single axe and threw it into the lake after? - Yes. And the great-great-great-grandson did this one. And now he needs to replicate Nestor's cutting. Can you tell which is which? - This looks amazing. - If you look closely, at the centres of these trees, the density of wood is such that if you count the number of rings, these pines are about 220-240 years old. - So the church itself is about 300 years old. And the trees have been growing for another 250 years before that.

So, tell me about this perimeter fire fighting system. - Yes, so it is a dry pipe, which was made for the period of restoration of the Church of Transfiguration and in general it provided fire extinguishing just in case. - There's water underneath, isn't there? - There's a dry pipe. There is a pumping station and a fire-boat on the other side. - There's a fire boat of Ministry of Emergency Situations, which can extinguish the fire in case of any accidents.

- There is an iconostasis here. Four icons were restored by our Russian craftsmen. It looks like the historical one and not like a newly built one. It is very important. - This is the iconostasis and the whole decor, everything is made out of wood. - You are looking at the layers of the 18th and 19th century, which is important, because we couldn't adjust the project to the match a specific date, but the main goal was to keep as much of the historical material as possible.

- Is this a safety roof here? - Yes, this is it from the inside and now we are going upstairs. Here you see just the 19th century planks, which have been preserved. We can't turn them over, but there are marks from that period on the inside. And here's the perfect work that Vitaly and his colleagues did. It is practically impossible to tell the difference. - Friends, we are in the dome of the Church of the Transfiguration.

Its diameter is 5 meters and it is the largest dome among all wooden churches in Russia. There's so much space you can live here. And there is a window in it that you can look through, which gives a stunning view of the surroundings. Unfortunately, this view is not available for tourists, so now you will have such a unique experience. Only the restorers and museum staff

come here, but they kindly let us in. Oh, it's hard! As someone who once put together an IKEA wardrobe, I don't think I'd have any trouble closing the hatch. Are you sure it's from around here? Oh my... -Do not swear in the house of the Lord! - I think that's an unnecessary piece! - No, there's no such thing! - I think I'm stuck here. Are there any historically valuable things in here? - All of it! - If I press the wrong thing the whole church will come down like a house of cards! - Done! Historic event, I can write a manual now. This is the first time a man with crooked hands has been able to close this hatch. Friends, I'm going down an ancient ladder.

It may even be from the 18th century. There's a board with semicircular holes on it, like steps. And I want to tell you that this ladder is much more comfortable than the modern ones. It's very comfortable to walk up! They wanted to take it away to a museum, but those who work here insisted and it stayed here.

There's another hatch here. We'll close it now. Switch off the lights when you leave the house! Today Kizhi is not just a church, but a whole museum of wooden architecture. For example, here there's a peasant hut of the 19th century that was specially brought here. In addition to the church, in Kizhi there are many old huts, which were transported to the island from other villages. In one of them there is a museum, allowing to plunge into the life of past centuries. Here you will be shown how Karelian peasants lived, and you will learn to bake traditional pies, or simply be treated to these pies.

- So here's a hut. This is the place where the hostess used to cook food for lunch, for breakfast, for dinner, all at once, early in the morning. - Whoa, what's this? Chebureks, those deep-fried turnovers? - It's a traditional dish. You're not the first to ask if it's chebureks. It is a traditional, dish for the rich, baked on white flour, called keitempera or wedding pies, pies for a son-in-law. It was the kind of pies that were always cooked in every home at least once a year or during the time when the bride was getting married.

- Wait, do you know the Vepsian language? - Fluently. - Can you say in Vepsian, subscribe to the channel and like the video? - Awesome! It's like a sweet cheburek without the stuffing. - It's similar to twiglets! - Let's go over it again, is it suchinis? It's just a flatbread that's just fried in a pan without oil, without anything and inside is just lean porridge. - We can use all sorts of cereal for porridge. - Tell me, so you have this house, can any tourist come here or what? - You have a tour option at the ticket office and you can order it in advance. - So, you can say at the ticket office that you want to have a workshop in decorating or something like that and come here and you will feed them and make them tea? - Yes. - How much does it cost?

- The tour with tea is $4, and with a workshop it's $5.20. - Per person? - Yes. - So you pay $4 and you eat as much as you want? - We offer two pies and a sweet pie each. Two kalitkas (Karelian pastry) and a pie. - And for $5.20 you can have a workshop as well? - Yes, you can taste and learn everything.

You take them away with you, of course, and taste them. - Friends it's just an incredible place, I've never been here before. This is the first time in Kizhi. And it's just crazy how beautiful it is. It's impossible to describe, it's sheer delight. These ancient temples, which are hundreds of years old, these logs, this amazing work of the restorers who have saved it all, literally bit by bit, with such attention and love. All this history, all the events that took place here. The nature is just breathtaking here too. This is a case when there is an incredible creation of nature,

and a person, in my opinion, has made this place even better. I mean usually I always say that man comes and spoils everything, but here a man was able to create a true miracle that can compete with the miracle of this stunning nature around. It's just utter delight. I'm sad I had lived for 36 years and had never been here before.

Just look at the fence here, these old lichen-covered stones, these paths and the lake shore. It's an incredible-looking shore. There's the clearest water in the lake. It's just some kind of real-life miracle, a miracle of nature and a miracle made by a man. It's very beautiful. I like how delicately they've done everything here. You see the path is just covered with gravel and that's it.

That is there are no tiles, no fences. And there's ducks walking around! The grass is trimmed. There is nothing to stop you from admiring this beauty, this wooden church. We are now near a rock on which the ancient people knocked out the image of bunnies. Actually, it is not the ancients, it is Sergey Gapanovich. We are waiting for him now and he will come and tell us more about this wall. But it is actually a very good precedent when a new point of attraction is created. Russians are very bad at it. We are usually very good

at taking pride in and selling some historical legacy, an ancient temple, or some natural wonders, but to do something new, to do something from the ground up that would be a cool attraction that is worth going to see, is extremely rare. In this case, this site with bunnies is just awesome. You should come here to have a look and take pictures. We are going to discuss with the author how it could be done here. - How did this all happen? - Accidentally, as usual.

- How many bunnies are there? - Now it's 600, and it's going to be 1,000. - 1000 bunnies! Did you do all this yourself? - With people. A person can visit the website, support the project and that covers some expenses. Before the pandemic, I did it with my own money.

- And what's the fate of all this now? - Every bunny has a number and it's assigned to someone. So you can even go to the website to see whose it is. - So you can have your own bunny here? How much does it cost? - Around $65. - So you can have a bunny for $65? - Yes, for many centuries to come. - How long does it take to make one hare? - Just the job without preparation, an hour and a half. - How long have you been doing all this for? - It's my third year doing this.

- The authorities aren't helping you now? - No, not at all. - But nevertheless, locals here, who deal with tourism, told us right away that we should come here. This has already become a new tourist attraction. - Look, it's free, it's unique for Russia, it's unique for the world, because you won't find anything like this anymore. It was important to me that it was free.

It is very expensive to travel in Karelia, I mean you go to one place, to another, to the third one, and in the end it turns out to be a lot. We counted, and it's cheaper for us to go elsewhere to travel. - And the inscriptions were here before, right? - No, they started appearing recently. Some fools drew something there last year, but I found a Karelian witch and she cursed everyone and everything.

- The best protection against vandals is to find a Karelian witch who curses everyone. Dear Lena, I don't know who you are, but for some reason Stas devoted to you first, then some Bunny, which means it looks like your partners are changing. Please! There's not enough space here for all your partners, there are other bunnies here.

Find yourself another rock. Sergey, can you carve out a bunny for Lena, so that they'll settle down and stop? - No, I can only make a grave-stone for Lena. They stole all my planks. There was scaffolding here, there were planks, now there's nothing. Oh dear. - Another thing about all these inscriptions is that if a normal, decent girl sees that her boyfriend drew something as bad, she will tell him to go away straight away, so this whole vandalism story is strange. And here we have a hare with a skull on it. It's a warning for vandals. I first thought it was just glued here, or made of concrete, but no, it's all carved into the rock. You can even touch the inside here. It's amazing work.

Kuzova archipelago consists of 16 small islands in the White Sea near the town of Kem. People come here to hike, to fish and to have a rest on seashore, to swim, go scuba diving and see monuments of ancient Sámi. We have landed on a German island, opposite it is a Russian island, but it is better not to go there, since like any Russian place should, there are bears living there. - We observe 6 climatic zones on this island during the trip. Almost. Below you can see green meadows: these are zones where succulents grow, this is a plant that can feed on salt water, and below is a zone of where edibles grow, things that we add to salads: sea parsley, sea onion, golden root, peas, willow-herb. Everything is edible in these coastal meadows. Then naturally you see an area of taiga,

i.e. forests that are mostly spruce. In places that are sheltered by winds, all the way over there, there are deciduous groves, which means that you get the climate of the middle zone as well. Under your feet, on the granite there are lichens. This is what the arctic tundra looks like. You can see such stands of crooked woods, and it looks like forest tundra, but it is not. And there are also green glades everywhere,

when we will ascend there will be more of them, it reminds tundra. So it is such a unique archipelago which concentrates a lot of beauty in one place. When they made an expert assessment of these islands, according to the assessment 42% of territories here on the archipelago are of the highest category of aesthetic value. I did not even know that such a thing exists. It means that everywhere you turn it is very beautiful. - Have we climbed 70 meters up? - About that, about 60 meters, I think. We will be going up this way. It's 126 meters up there.

There are some stairs along the way and there will be two places where we have to use physical strength. I hope no one has any fear of heights. Let's go for the excitement! - Here we have our dear Kir climbing up. Kir, why aren't you filming? Can't you climb and film at the same time? It's always harder for cameramen, because while we're enjoying the beauty, they choose the right camera angle.

- Further up here the path is quite narrow, so hold on to the rock with your right hand and shift your centre of gravity here and walk normally. I don't see any particular height-fear in Kir's eyes. It's a brown cap boletus! A wonderful mushroom! Come and pick mushrooms with us! - There's plenty of such goodies here, no one picks them.

Even the tourists downstairs are bored with mushrooms. Let's go to the highest point! Careful, it's slippery here, watch your step! - Well, that's it, the highest point Kir! - From here we have almost all-round view. The Russian island is a bit higher, but there's deep taiga there, it's impossible to get through. Brown bears live there too. - Wow! - Two of them! What can you see from here? You can see the coastline, Kem town, and the northernmost part of it - Northern Rombak, nearest to us is Toporukhi and this set of archipelagos end with Kem sea cliffs.

And there are 24 kilometres of islands. To the north there is the open part of the sea, the White Sea basin. There is a long chain of islands in one line. This is Solovetsky archipelago. It is 24 km far from here. We are exactly in the middle between Kem and Solovki now. And if you look to the south-east, there is such a long strip of land over there - Zhuzhmui Islands, which are 45 kilometres away. So even in bad light the visibility is 45 kilometres

from the highest point from here. - Solovetsky Islands or simply Solovki are the most famous Russian archipelago. Humans stepped on this earth as far back as 6,000 years B.C., in the 15th century a monastic settlement appeared here, and a hundred years later the islands were used as a place of exile. In 1920, the Red Army liquidated the monastery, and later the Solovetsky Special Purpose Camp appeared there. For 10 years of camp's existence,

7.5 thousand people died there. That is an average of two people a day. Religious activity returned to Solovki in 1990, and 2 years later the islands were among the first in Russia to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List. They were surpassed only by the centre of St.Petersburg, the Kremlin and Kizhi island, that we have already visited. By the way, until 1930 Solovetsky Islands were part of Karelia, but then they joined the Arkhangelsk region, to which they belong now.

- This construction, here in the North is called Seid. Seid is a Sámi word, seita is a spirit, so the Sámi, like pagans, believed the stones were animated. There were over 800 of them found here. It's one of the largest clusters of these constructions. A distinctive feature of the seids is the principle of unstable equilibrium. That is, if we were to dig out this pebble from here, it would simply roll down. That's the trick. We don't know what it is, or why... So you see the principle of unstable equilibrium.

Why on this archipelago there are so many stone buildings? Because look there, you see Solovki? It's is the richest hunting and fishing grounds of the region as a matter of fact. The development of the White Sea began in the West from that side. So, when people were sailing coaster, they reached this point - it is the last point before going to open sea. And before dangerous travel, and it's very dangerous there - it is the White Sea, it is the basin of the 3rd category of difficulty... and so, sacrifices were made. So they put up an altar, roughly speaking, and made food sacrifices: fat, bones of seals, fish and so on.

That is why they've done it here. Because it is the extreme point in relation to the open sea and the Solovki. If somebody needs a rope we'll go by the rope. Although it's not that sharp, so you can go by foot all! - Plus it's not far to fall. - There's really nowhere to fall. Oh, there he is, there's the hare running. There he sits by the rock.

- That's where I filmed the bear. I felt a bear standing behind me, I turned around and turned the camera on. He stood there, on that rock and went ooh! and then climbed up that one: aaah! And what could I do? Confused, I didn't know what to do, he went down and swam past over there. And I forgot to press record at first! And when he swam, I pressed record, so I have a video. There was a flock of ducks swimming, he went towards them, but they were swimming away.

- Was he swimming fast? - The current was strong, he wasn't swimming fast. - Could a man swim away from a bear? - Well, I don't know, I don't know. - If he gets scared, he'll swim away. He wants to live. That's a terrific hut there! - Yeah, it's a surveyor's hut from the '50s. It was filmed in the movie Young Russia. This is where Lomonosov was whipped, and this hut was actually in the frame.

This is where people dry seaweed, for themselves you see. - You can come here with a tent. - Yes this is a nature preserve that has territories for tourism and recreation development. There is a separate project in Karelia, and we rent part of the territories. We are involved in this project and we organize tours and other things here on the island. Plus we organize camping sites and there are toilets.

For example, this camp is actually stationary. You can buy yourself a tour programme, come here for 5 days, for 7 days. There are tents here and you will be given a sleeping bag. There's a mobile sauna. There are cooks who will make you 3 meals a day.

- And how much does it cost? - It varies, but on average it's $325 per person for a week. - So you can live here and swim in the White Sea. - Yes, of course, you can swim. The only thing is that it is difficult to develop tourism in this legislative situation so far. We are bearing all burdens. We pay rent, we do fire protection, cleaning of islands and so on. So we do both: pay rent and develop tourism. We would like not to pay rent, for example.

If the state would somehow loosen these mechanisms, I think such territories would become very popular. So far there are these difficulties, but we are working with them, it's okay. - Our Victoria. Can we jump in? We are in a small village on the White Sea, Rabocheostrovsk. It is this village that became part of the film The Island. Behind me, there's a set. The film crew searched for a long time for a small abandoned Skete.

Eventually, they found it. There was an observation tower and a barn, which have been turned into a church. There are no domes or crosses now, but this is all actually a set left over from the film. They filmed here 15 years ago and it's still there. And if you've seen the film The Island, you'll recognise these places.

And so this place has become another attraction, a tourist magnet, because even filming locations, film sets may also be a tourist sightseeing spot. So if you happen to come to Rabocheostrovsk, or if you suddenly decide to swim to Solovki or look at some neighbouring islands, find time to come here and talk about really stunning views. And the locals have made a bridge, a bench and a table here. You can probably have a picnic, someone even left a small BBQ there. All in all, the place is incredibly beautiful, cool, and one of the famous attractions of this small village. In the locality of Zalavruga, near Belomorsk, it is possible to see petroglyphs - petroglyphs of ancient people. Their age is estimated at 5-6 thousand years.

These are some of the first works of art. Local petroglyphs were discovered twice. The first time was in 1936 when the expedition found 216 separate drawings. And then in 2005, thanks to a new method of research, many new figures were discovered. In the end it turned out that there were many more petroglyphs. - Of course, if there's an interaction between man and animal shown, it is predominantly the man liked to carve out the tactics of hunting this or that animal. Here we can see an autumn hunting in water.

For example, here you see a boat, the head of a totem animal, presumably an elk, then comes the keel, the hull itself, and, in this case, humans are depicted as sticks. That is, it's hunting during the migration. A certain group of people trace the herd and understand that in this area the animals will cross the waterway. They call a settlement, line them up along the bank of this river, but when the animals enter this river, the people start chasing them down the river. And people start hunting these animals. It is easier to hunt ungulates in water than to chase a deer or an elk through a forest all summer and not catch them. One of the most famous in the world, these three archers are the oldest images of archers in the world. We see 3 hunters and the last one and the one next to it,

have a hunter's backpack. But the first hunter doesn't. The thing is that the first hunter is a young hunter, who is trained to hunt sea and forest animals. He doesn't deserve this rucksack, so he goes ahead and tramples the path. There is a white whale in the sea, and just here we see a beluga whale, its tail, trunk and fins, and a beluga whale child - here it is - its tail, trunk and fins, a small one. This scene is interesting because it is on a natural slope. Well the very structure of this beluga's whipping resembles scales.

But of course the white whale has no scales, and here it is for the artwork. And during the rains this puddle overflows and water begins to run down the white whale. Due to its texture it should create an impression that the beluga whale comes to life and starts moving. Those are ancient human animations, cartoons. Shall I show you an intercourse of two people? - Yes, of course. - First there is a tree, branches down, that is a herringbone, and under the tree there are two people. And the first one: head, torso, leg, arm, and the second one: head, torso, leg, arm.

And they are connected by the sexual organ, that is love under the tree. And here is the scene of the conception of the child, in a straight line there are two pregnant women, and further in a straight line there is the woman who is giving birth. The woman is shown as giving birth. Below is another person depicted: head, torso, leg and arm reaching out to this woman. The woman here is in labour.

So friends, we got to Kostomuksha. It's quite a big town with 30 thousand residents. It's almost on the border with Finland. You can feel the Finnish influence here. In the 1970s Soviet Union together with Finland started to build the mining and processing plant on this territory, and the settlement around it received the status of a town in 1983 and was called Kostomuksha. Finns had a hand in building not only the plant,

but also the town itself. So now we can see here Finnish streets with good architecture and good roads. Unfortunately, one cannot say the same about Russian streets. Behind my back there are two houses. One house is Finnish, the other is Russian. It's a typical house built from panel blocks. And you can see the difference very clearly. Even though they were built approximately at the same time, and the Russian one was actually built a bit later that the Finnish as I know, you can see very well that the Finnish house is clean and neat, just like abroad, something foreign to us. And we have our regular nine-storey buildings, which look like very bad. Why so? What is the magic?

I hope Kostomuksha will help us to answer this question. Here's the Central Square, and there's the House of Culture, which again, as you can see right away, was built by the Finns. How is it obvious? First of all, because this is all panel construction, you can see here all these panels, out of which all this was built, you can see that for some reason the Finns have small joints in between panels. And if you compare them with our nine-storey buildings, and look at these Finnish houses, you see that the Finns have 3 times fewer joints.

Even panel construction looks nicer because of that. Then, for some reason, the Finns have these concrete panels for 50-40 years, and they still look clean and neat. With us, however, everything is shabby. Some shabby balconies, panels with leakages, and so, these houses look completely untidy, completely different to the Finnish ones. Here again, you can see these Finnish houses, which look very good. Look, we're coming up close and can see that all the window frames are still the original ones, it's amazing.

All the windows, all the frames, everything's in place. They've got a 1.5 centimetres joint between the panels and the panel itself is looks great with the tiles. If we talk about the layout, this is a standard neighborhood, which is very similar to Zelenograd, because the houses are far away from each other, the town is green, there are a lot of parks, trees and lawns. Now, of course, they don't do that now, but back in the 70s, it was a worldwide practice and Finns followed it too. There are a lot of this type of districts in Finland and they are very similar to the ones here, because they were made of the same materials and they were made just as nice. So, in this way, Kostomuksha is somewhat of a Finnish town.

Look, there is a gym here. As always, it's all clean and tidy. Reality check! We turned around and saw that we aren''t in Finland after all. There's a really creepy public transport stop here. It's shabby, with some kind of advertising,

crooked and slanted. Can you imagine if a Finn comes here feeling like they're home, and the boom, "no, man, you're not home!" This is what it looks like here. Oh wow, look, there's a safety island! I wonder how old it is. Is it from the time when this town was designed and built? I think so. I don't believe they built it recently. It's just unbelievable! Unbelievable how it could have happened!

Yeah, well, here we go back to Russia again. Everything is littered with advertising. It's a patchwork of tiles, everything's degrading. There's patches here and there. Over there the Finns did this Culture Centre and it's all fine, it still looks fabulous. Here it's just a patchwork quilt. It looks like they've haven't been repairing anything here or decades. The sign marks a pedestrian zone and everything's jammed with cars. There's some parking, advertisements, some kind of supermarket, so it's a complete mess.

And here you can look at the map of Kostomuksha. What do we have here? Cafes - there are a lot of different ones. Still it would be good if they marked where we are with a "you are here" point, as it's not very clear. So here we have a Finnish nine-storey building. What is interesting about it? First of all

the window size is not typical for Russia. At the same time, look, you see, they had some ventilation holes. Some people changed windows for plastic ones. The joint between the panels is just one finger wide and the panels are covered in a marble crumb. It is very nice and after 40 years, the building looks very tidy and easy to clean. It looks clean and beautiful. The entrance has been reconstructed, there's a metal door and I think the Finns would have a glass door instead. And here is a block where lifts and stairs are.

Well, this is how the building looks like. Note that from afar, it looks more or less tidy in spite of everything. Around it, of course, everything looks a mess, because this is not Finland, but Kostomuksha, so there is no asphalt here, but pits, filth, and people park between the trees. But they have beautiful nature here and it would be possible to equip yourself a nice area. What else makes it all different from Finland? First of all, you see, people have already started to change the windows. While the windows used to be big and beautiful, n ow people are putting in plastic windows, and the façade is already deteriorating. This is not possible in Finland.

There the whole façade will be the same. And of course the courtyards. What is missing in the yards? Well, in Finland, every yard will have a picnic area. Almost every yard. It could be some kind of gazebo, some kind of outdoor grill or something. They love to grill meat or something else, so there will be places for people to get together and have a picnic. Unfortunately we don't have that. In the centre there is a sports school for children and youth that is accessible from two houses through these see-through galleries. These galleries haven't been demolished and

remain here to this day. In other words, you could go down to the ground floor without leaving the house and enter the gym through that gallery. The whole entrance group was preserved. I wonder why they didn't make grills here. Well, friends, behind me is a standard Soviet panel school. Feel the difference. And the difference is simple. You can see the size of the joints, the stairs are falling apart, and this is even though it's a secondary school named after Russian famous author Pushkin.

And you can see what it looks like here. Back there the joints where of 1-1.5 finger's width here whole 3 fingers can fit and tiling is already falling apart, looking sloppy. Now let's have a look at the Soviet panel-houses and see what's going on with them.

We've just come out of the Finnish district and you can see our five-storey buildings here. You don't even have to come up close, you can already see these house joints, looking like an old country road, some kind of leaks, everything is falling off the panels, these tiles are flying off. Why does nothing like that happen with the Finnish houses? We are just comparing panel houses. The panel houses built by the Finns 40 years ago

and Russian panel houses built around the same time. Another thing that bothers me is that we are now on the main boulevard by the looks of it. So that's like the local high street and it looks like the war ended the day before yesterday and they just haven't managed to rebuild it yet. There are some ditches, craters from shells, there is no pavement here at all, some kind of complete general destruction. What is going on here I don't understand. Russians often like to be proud of their weapons, that they have some amazing guns, tanks, rockets, which can destroy the whole world and everything is so reliable and beautiful, but, unfortunately, we cannot be proud of our houses, because it is obvious that they were built of mud and straw, built with crooked hands. The difference in quality of construction, quality of finishing materials, and quality of work is very evident. They talk about some kind of mentality, bad climate etc.

But Kostomuksha was built by Finns and by our people. Houses are next to each other, 50 meters away. One house even now, 40 years later, looks neat, beautiful, nice, while the other one just looks like a complete mess. This is not the typical concrete pavement in courtyards, by the way. Concrete pavement

is often used in America, where there are concrete roads, concrete highways, concrete pavements. How is concrete fundamentally different from asphalt? First of all, concrete must have joints, so if you drive in America, you can feel the small joints just a tiny bit. Secondly, concrete, unlike asphalt, can't be fixed as patches. If you have any destruction, you can repair asphalt covering fragmentarily, but the concrete covering doesn't allow it.

If there's a pothole, you have to redo the whole thing. Concrete, on the other hand, is more durable and long-lasting. Therefore, there are several approaches, but in general asphalt is used all over the world. Only some countries make concrete pavements and roads.

Oh, and there are Finnish five-storey buildings. Let's cross the road and see what a Finnish five-storey building looks like. Even from afar, you can see that the Finnish five-storey building looks good. The entrance is completely see-through, which is how it was when the house was built. As you can see there is nothing wrong with it. Nowadays, they put up metal doors,

and they often explain it by safety. People for some reason think that a metal door is safe, but it is actually the opposite. People think that in these doors windows will be smashed and so on. Well, as you can see in this house, not a single window is smashed, all of them are in place. And in terms of security, this entrance is much safer. Why? Because first, by approaching the entrance, we can see everything that is happening there, we can see that no one is standing there with a bat, that there is no junkie lying around, no one is waiting for you here with an axe. We see the whole staircase and the same thing when we come out of the building.

When we go out, we open the door with a metal door, we don't know what is going on outside. Everything is transparent here. It is this transparency that gives security. Such entrances are much safer than the solid metal doors that are installed.

So friends, don't be afraid of see-through entrances, there is nothing wrong with them. They're beautiful, practical, convenient and safe. Friends just look at how much cleaner and neater the fronts look here. The joints are again the size of a finger, everything is neat, nothing falls off, there are no drips. There's marble chips, nice neat joints, all the panels fit properly, nothing's falling off - beautiful. Even the stairs aren't falling apart either. Nothing is falling apart. How do Finns do it?

Maybe they just have a different attitude to people and think about them when building houses? It is just amazing. When you look at the building from outside it is obvious that something is not right, it's not Russia, only Finns could have done this. I had a project about cities close to country borders, where we travelled and compared different areas, including Russia and Finland. I didn't compare Karelia with Finland (I'll have to do it at some point), but we were comparing the Leningrad region with Finland and the difference is spectacular. And here you can literally walk across the street without crossing the border to see how it may look with the right approach. Even decades later, a city can look different. Here we are, my friends, looking at the kindergarten that the Finns built.

Even decades later, it still looks great, with good architecture, good quality of construction, nothing shabby, nothing broken. It's a miracle! - Look, you can even see the wooden windows. - Yeah, yeah. It's a panel-builder's paradise. There are even paneled churches here. When driving in Karelia, you can often see cars parked along the roadside and people go out and pick something in the moors, some berries. Indeed, if you go to the Karelian forest, you will see heaps of berries. People pick them and then there are collection points for berries.

And it turns out that near Kostomuksha there is a huge factory where they bring berries from all the nearby regions, and here they are washed, cleaned, sorted, processed, and it turns out that the largest production of berries is located near Kostomuksha! If you live in Moscow, St. Petersburg or so on, you must have tried the berries from the factory, as they are bought by yoghurt, desserts, juices and jams producers. They are also selling them as export. Now we are going to see how it all works, because here's the Karelian forest, and just over there we have a factory that deals with berries.

By the way, this factory was built by the Finns, like most of the buildings in Kostomuksha. - That's where the pickers are. Locals and tourists who come here to pick berries, bring them to the collection point, a purchase point and we buy them. - How much does it cost? - It's around $1.30 per kilo. A good average picker collects up to 100 kilos a day. That is, you can earn up to $130 a day. - Are those lingonberries? Or is it a mix of berries, there are some other ones here too? - In North Karelia lingonberries always grow together with blueberries.

- And how are they sorted? - You'll see later. We sort them electronically. The berries are warm, they first have to cool down before they freeze. You see, there's a label on each crate, with the supplier. And then there's fresh lingonberries.

The temperature in this chamber is 0-2 degrees Celsius, which cools the berries, removes excess moisture from the surface and prepares them for freezing. Then there's the silk freezer. Sometimes we do not have time to defrost, here the temperature is close to -40 and berries freeze and become crumbly here. Why do you have to to freeze at this temperature? So that the ice crystals inside are small, and that's what vitamins are.

So we don't break up the cellulose and let all the vitamins stay in. This is a purification facility. Frozen berries come into the line there, and then there are a lot of different degrees of purification, sorting, there are a lot of cameras, and from that flow you see there are berries falling, and that's where every pixel is analysed. Objects are analysed by different parameters: colour, shape and we sort by air. There is also an X-ray detector at the end of the line here, to see if there is a stone or something.

Here, at the end of the line, we have first class berries, which go to Germany, Italy, Finland, Russia every day. - Cloudberries are the most expensive berries we have here. - Yes, the purchase price is $6.50 per kilo. There's always juice that comes with cloudberries. You can't automate the process of cleaning it, so it's always juicing. It always oozes juice. We actually buy them

cleaned, but our job is to get it to the point where it can be used in the jam industry. Then we put the cloudberries with juice into these boxes with bags, freeze them and get this kind of berry bricks. These ones are ready to leave the factory. - How many cloudberries are there a year? - The world market for cloudberries is 703,000 tonnes. Of those, 50-70% go through this facility. - So you're a cloudberry monopolist? - Yes, something like that. There's a lot of export, unfortunately. Especially for cloudberries.

I'd like to develop the Russian market as well. - And how much of the cloudberries are exported? - 90% - 90% are bought by the Finns? - Finns, Swedes, Norwegians. - And then they sell them to Russian tourists? - They have their own large consumption, but 30% are Russian tourists, who come skiing in the week after New Year and take a jar of Finnish jam with them, and it's actually ours. Well there isn't a single producer of jam, who wouldn't have bought cloudberries from us. - So friends, we have reached the Kormilo farm. It is wonderful place 50 km from Kostomuksha. It's not easy to get here, the road is unpaved, but it is flat and good.

The farm is in such a small paradise. It's situated on the shore of the lake and there are these little cottages, some are bigger, some are smaller. My cottage is meant to be for a single-family, so we'll go inside now. But apart from that there's a farm. There are alpacas, horses, cats, dogs, pheasants, chickens, and there were even squirrels, but they ran away. - Here they come, these cute dogs! Oh, good for you, you didn't get dirty so you can be filmed. These are samoyeds, we are sure that they will never hurt anyone. There is no kinder animal.

My friends from Moscow came to us for a rafting trip, and they brought these guinea fowls, so they could hunt and kill them somewhere on the rafting trip. But my youngest son and I set the alarm for 2 am, and I gave them moonshine in the evening so they'd sleep through the whole night - and we stole these guinea fowls, hid them, and made it look as if they escaped. I don't know what to do with them now, so they're here. - And the best part is, there's amazing woods all around. There's a long road going in different direction, and it's just unbelievably beautiful. All these pines, stones, lichens, hills. Real Karelian nature, which we all love and it's a real pleasure to walk and relax here.

- Our farm is a kind of compromise or as everyone calls it now - glamping. Ours is not really a glamping site, but the idea is the same. People living in cities miss the nature, t hey want to go to the forest or seaside, they want to live on a farm, but they don't want to be deprived of conveniences. - This is a house for a single-family. What comes with it? It has an area with a perfect lawn. How do they get perfect lawns here? Because there are live lawn mowers, horses. - The horses have heard you! - What breed of horses are they? - We've been looking for a very long time for a horse breed that is not aggressive and we finally settled on these horses. They're called tinkers and they're from Ireland.

They have such an easy-going personality that we feel safe for our guests, they will never hurt anyone. - The horse is incredibly cute. A stunning horse that walks around and nibbles on the grass here. There also seem to be some goats and sheep. But judging by the tracks, the lawn here is being mowed in good order.

There is a table and a grill, so you can cook yourself, grill kebabs, steaks, fish, whatever you like. There is a nice lake behind me, you can take a boat and sail around. You can also go fishing. Let's see what the house looks like inside. We go inside, it's all made from wood. Here you have to take your shoes off. And here's the actual room. I made a bit of a mess, but that's all right. This is the bed.

Look at it! An amazing wooden master bed. Table, kitchen. The kitchen has everything you need: fridge, microwave. Most importantly a real working fireplace and upstairs... that's not all friends! I can imagine what a thrill it is for the kids to climb upstairs and there are two more beds like this upstairs where the kids can sleep.

And the best part is, you have animals coming right into the house. I think if you like animals, if your children like animals, then this is the place to go, because the animals are very kind. There are 8 cats and kittens, they are totally tame and clean and go straight into the house.

The dogs are gentle and playful, they are amazing. The alpacas are willing to meet new people. And the horses are the kindest I've seen. Again, I open the door and... Oh, what a cute kitty, let's film you! Let's show ourselves! Gorgeous kitty! A fabulous cat that comes into your house. It's a pure ball of joy and happiness!

What a good kitty. Wait, kitty! We need to film stories clip for Insta! - How much does it all cost? The house I live in. - A single-family house costs $39 a day. - And what's included in the price? - A barbecue, a boat, a lodge, a gazebo.

- And the food? - Food is separate. It is possible to eat at our place as in full board or to pick and choose. Breakfast is $3.25, lunch is $3.90, it's quite affordable. Pick and choose whatever you want, help yourselves with the food! Everything's homemade.

- Guys, this is something you don't have, so just enjoy. Pike cutlets. Cabbage, morels, potatoes and vendace. One can only envy. The farmstead owner's pride is his samovar museum. The family gathered this collection for 21 years. All of them are polished to shine. And most importantly, if you want to drink tea from an unusual samovar, you should come here. One of the samovars costs $6485.

- This is a Malikov samovar. It is very famous among collectors. None of Malikov's samovars are like any other. - How much is it worth? - Now? Around $6485.

- Wow! A samovar costs as much as a Lada Kalina. - I think it's better than many Lada Kalina. A lot of countries make samovars. That's Germany, England, Ceylon, this is an English samovar, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, China, the Caucasus, India. - I like the one that looks like an egg. - That's expensive too, by the way. It's a very rare samovar, probably worth $3890. It's called an Easter egg or a yurt. You can talk about samovars for ages!

- Morning run, friends! I got up at 8:00 this morning, and of course it's a blessing to run through such amazing places. Happiness beyond the reach of the city. Amazing air, sunshine. It's like 10 degrees warm. It's so cool in the morning. It's so good! I'm looking at these lingonberry bushes, with dew glistening in the sunlight.

There are pine trees. It's very beautiful. Voknavolok is an ancient, rune-singing village. It was built in the 17th century and since then all the old traditions, legends and runes have been gathered and kept here. There are over 200 houses in the village, and about 500 inhabitants. The Karelians constitute about 85% of the population so some still communicate with each other in the local dialect of the Karelian language. In a big city

it would be much harder to preserve it. - The kids probably have PE outdoors now. That's a whole class in PE right now. There's a total of 30 students this year. Nine grades. No last 2 high-school grades yet, but it's still considered a secondary and high school. There are 3 big buildings, built here in 1998-99. There were international projects when the Finns helped us build it. What is unique about the school building itself? First of all, every log is cut down by hand.

If you take a closer look, the processing wasn't done by machines, but by hand, all with axes. - And who built it? - Finns. - Well done, Finns. - Yeah, thanks to them.

- I wish we could build something like this somewhere too. - There's no need to build a second one like this. Our school is the only one of its kind in Russia. There can be no analogues. It's very Karelian, in the Karelian style. The walls inside aren't covered with panels either. It is actually very hearty, there is a special microclimate, children feel very comfortable there. Unfortunately, we can't go inside, because of the very strict restrictions imposed since yesterday.

- What are tourists to do here? - Here in Voknavolok? Traditionally, there are the usual guided tours through the village, when the guests ask their questions, the locals hold workshops for the guests, make various souvenirs, traditional Karelian cuisine, a folklore group holds interactive programmes for the guests with games and round dances. The guests also visit interesting natural reserves. The Kyonas rift is nearby. Kalevala National Park is quite close to us. It is called "barn square". It is the only historical part of the village, that remained to this day. I want to tell you a little bit about these buildings. These barns were used for storing different utensils and food. In the summertime youth and children could sleep in them,

when there were a lot of people in the house. Three of the barns had been brought from neighbouring villages and they're also around 150 years old. They were brought here to save and create a historical ensemble here. We are going to visit this house, it is called Vooncentala. It is interesting in that we don't have an exact year of when it was built, it was somewhere around 150 years ago too, but we know that in 1894, the famous photographer Inha Kondrat was here. He took about 200 photos and created a photo epic. There are some remakes but the village is reconstructed with old photos. We tried to recreate according to those 1894 photos.

And in summer time we have some activities for guests with folklore group. -If you come here, do you have to call in advance and book? - Yes. - What do people live off? - We have a trout farm, a fire station, a nursery on growing seedlings of pine and spruce.

This is to reforest deforested areas. The women work at the school and at the retirement home and at the nursing station. Actually there is a big problem with jobs. Some survive on mushrooms and berries. In autumn they actively pick berries,

sell them and then live off them. - I'll definitely come back to Karelia again! To the places I've been before and to the places I didn't have enough time to get to. There&#

2023-03-18 18:28

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