Mysteries of Zayatsky Island
Duration: 2 hours
Tour Code: SVK-001
Tender to a nearby island to see a collection of ancient stone labyrinths and rocky mounds whose exact purposes remain a mystery.
After departing from the ship by tender, you will soon arrive at Big Zayatsky Island, one of the six Solovetsky Islands. While walking among its boulders and large gnarled bushes, you will notice a collection of stone labyrinths, sanctuaries and hundreds of stone mounds. All of these structures were built at least 5,000 years ago during the Neolithic Period.
The purpose of the intricate labyrinths on the western part of the island and who built them is unknown. Nevertheless, the labyrinths are visually fascinating. Made of rows of boulders that form interconnecting spirals, each one has a single entrance, which also serves as the exit. Some researchers believe that the labyrinths were meant to represent the border between the real world and the underworld, but it’s only speculation.
When Peter the Great visited the island for the second time in 1702, he ordered a wooden church to be built honoring Saint Andrew. As there were no trees, the church was built on the mainland, disassembled, and then shipped to the island for reassembly. You will see the church and a few its outbuildings on a boulder-strewn stretch of land near the water’s edge. Afterwards, you will tender back to the ship.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 90-minutes of moderate walking which includes some uneven surfaces and steps to negotiate. The tour is not available to wheelchair guests and not considered suitable for those with mobility concerns. Weather appropriate clothing to include a wind/waterproof jacket; an umbrella; sunglasses; insect repellant; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. Shorts are not permitted in the church and women must cover their heads. Zayatsky Island’s nature is strictly protected by law and visitors are admitted only in guided groups and must stay with their guide throughout their visit. No independent visitors are allowed. It is prohibited to remove any items from the Island.