Russian Rome

Last century’s folklorists and travellers named the Zaonezhye peninsula ‘Russian Rome’ because of its beautiful scenery, churches, chapels, and peasant houses. The tent-roofed churches and chapels that fit well with the landscape can compete with the most famous architectural monuments of the North. The famous Kizhsky ensemble is a gem of Russian woodworking art.

The unique villages of Zaonezhye, most of which have preserved their traditional layout, are more than 500 years old and present to the world examples of the highest carpentry skill. The area preserves a rich spiritual culture, guarded by the local inhabitants, the people of Zaonezhye.

The whole cultural life of Velikaya Guba village revolves around the club located in the very centre of the settlement. This club is a stage, a domain of art, and a place to meet friends as well as a home to Ethnocultural Centre Zaonezhye.

This is also a meeting and work place of artisans, singers, artists, dancers, needlewomen, and local historians. When you come to the club and ethnocultural centre, you will not only be entertained, but also taught — traditional crafts, baking, the Zaonezhye dialect, and even modern dances. In the weaver’s workshop, you can learn how to weave traditional rugs or simply buy them from those who know this craft better than you. Do not be surprised to find an exhibition of a contemporary artist or photographer. Living in this province is no reason to stay away from the art movement. Every summer a troop of artists and photographers arrives in Zaonezhye. They return home with cameras and memory cards filled with excellent sights. Zaonezhye truly is an inspiration.

Besides the indoor exhibitions, the Ethnocultural Centre has opened the first open-air street art exhibition in Zaonezhye, dedicated to the boat kizhanka. The art-equipped square by the beach became the first public interactive place in Velikaya Guba where everyone could make an attempt at arts and crafts and decorate the area around their village. For example, a popular ship was painted by the graduating students of the culture school — it was a gift to the villagers from the art society. Art residences based in the Ethnocultural Centre are becoming an ever popular movement.Come to Velikaya Guba and don’t forget to grab your paints and paint brushes. You will find something artistic to do in this wonderful village on the coast of Lake Onega.