Not without reason Karelia is called the land of woods and lakes. Many tourists visit the republic every year, much many Karelians travel over their native land. There, north-eastward from the town of Pudozh, there is a protected woodland, little-developed, remote and almost unpopulated area.
In 1991, in April there was established the first national park in the north of Russia. The event so significant was of great importance for nature protection in our country. Territory of the park covers east of Karelia (Pudozh region) and a part of Arkhangelsk area (Onega region) and in total it occupies 5 thousand square kilometers.
Vodlozero national park is one of the world's largest wild nature reserves. Fauna of the park is presented by 38 species of mammals, 5 species of amphibians and reptiles and 22 species of various fishes. Such variety has eventuated from weak influence of human activity on the nature of park through the centuries. Many threatened species of animals and birds find refuge in huge territory of the park. Birds of prey recorded in the Red Book of Russia and Karelia, such as white-tailed sea eagle, fish hawk and golden eagle wheel in the air often there. Meetings with brown bear, elk, lynx, marten, glutton, badger, muskrat, fox and wolf are usual here. The park also became a shelter for northern forest reindeer.
Deep and rough river Ileksa and 438-kilometer long lake Vodlozero are considered the largest waterways of the park. Actually the park's name derived from the name of the lake. Lake Vodlozero is rather popular among fishermen and is famous as one of the most fishy places in Karelia. Any fisherman will be glad to taste excellent fish soup made of the best fish: pike perch, bream, cisco, ide or burbot which are found in the cleanest waters of reservoirs of the park. As a whole, more than 10% of territory of the park is occupied by rivers and lakes. Therefore, if one takes a bird's-eye view at the open spaces of Vodlozero, one of prevailing colors there will be deep, quiet, mysterious and alluring dark blue.
Bogs are the integral part of nature of the park. They are of interest to scientists of all over the world. Uniqueness of Vodlozero park appears in the variety of bogs which cover more than 40% of its teritory. On bogs of the park there grow lots of cranberries and cloudberries, and herbs: cowberry and marsh tea. On some bogs of the park there grow plants and rare sphagnous mosses included in the Red Book of Karelia and Russia.
Territory of the park is a huge tract of virgin taiga. Vodlozero park is famous for two- and tree-hundred-year-old larches, pines and fur-trees. Majestic large forests of the park were never exposed to cuttings and did not suffer from large fires.
It's a miracle that protogenic nature, virgin woods and pure lakes, as well as the richest cultural heritage of the past remained in territory of Vodlozero national park. In territory of the park there had been discovered many monuments of architecture of the XVIII-XIX centuries: barns, chapels, country houses. Ilyinsky Pogost (country churchyard) called the most poetic monument of ancient russian architecture is the park's pride. The pogost consists of the Church of Prophet Elijah and the Assumption of Virgin Mary, the belltower and log fencing. April 16, 1798 is considered the official date of construction of the church, however records about the pogost date back to as far as the XVII century. Subsequently the church underwent reorganizations and restorations. In 1995 Ilyinsky Pogost was given a new lease of life when the church became operating and has turned into a true spiritual center of Vodlozeo area.
Vodlozero national park is ready to receive lots of tourists every year and offers them various kinds of recreation: travel over the rivers and lakes, natural and ecological tracks. Besides, experts of the park have developed specialized programs for researchers, students and schoolchildren.
For more information please see http://www.vodlozero.ru.