Pryazha — Territory of Love

Pryazha is a place suitable for travellers in all aspects, for taking a break from a journey, for having some rest or food, and for enriching yourself spiritually.

Pryazha gained its name from its role as a transit hub. Long ago, when there were no steel horses, traders, explorers, and all manner of travellers changed their horses here.It is not the worst reputation for a transit town to be known as a place for changing harnesses, shoeing, and feeding horses. Pryazha quite literally stands at the intersection of all roads. Several routes meet here, including the federal Kola route.

The Pryazha of the modern times combines a centre of Karelian culture with preserved, hundred-year-old peasant houses and a modern area with hotels, guest houses, petrol stations, restaurants, and cafeterias. The Pryazha region is also the centre of Karelian wooden architecture from the 15 th century and later. The proximity of transportation hubs makes it easy to reach local examples of old architecture. Points of interest are accessible even by bicycle and walking routes. The only humour festival in Northern Russia is held in the village of Kindasovo, located in the Pryazha region. The local men are known for their simple-mindedness and foolishness. The tales about a man from Kindasovo are akin to the stories about the men from Gabrovsk and Odessa.

Coming from Petrozavodsk, you reach Pryazha almost immediately after turning left off the route. The beautiful village on the lakeshore immediately captures a traveller’s fancy. Not by accident either, since one part of the village is called the Hill of Love. If you drive through it or take a walk through it even just once, you will fall in love immediately. You will fall in love with your fellow traveller or a random passer-by. Or with Pryazha itself.

Photo by Alexey Yakovlev

Ethnocultural Centre Elӓmӓ works in the Pryazha region, drawing to itself all interesting and living things from the surrounding area. Even the name itself, Elӓmӓ, means Life when translated from the Karelian.

The small but cosy hall of the Ethnocultural Centre is home to an exhibition of plants found in Karelia. The local artist Anastasya Prokhorova depicted the flowers, trees, and berries found in this land.

Elӓmӓ strives to preserve and develop traditional types of Karelian activities. The Centre has a folk room where people can learn how to play traditional Karelian musical instruments, acquaint themselves with various crafts, and learn how to make traditional food! If you wish to hear songs in Karelian, Finnish, or Russian and participate in Karelian and Finnish games and dances, then don’t miss the famous Karelian ensemble Meijӓn Pajo who perform original songs.

You can view our exhibitions or purchase souvenirs made by Karelian craftsmen: magnets, ceramic ornaments, leather goods, puzzles, postcards, books, warm mittens, hats and scarves, and rugs. The Karelians are always hospitable. We follow the Karelian traditions, receiving our guests heartily, joyfully, with all of our hearts. Welcome to Elӓmӓ!