Mount Krestovaya, Babylon labyrinth and other sights in Kandalaksha
Kandalaksha, the closest town to the capitals above the Arctic Circle and the starting point to the surrounding mountains and rivers, remains a popular tourist destination.
People are drawn here by its picturesque unique northern nature. It is even surprising that in such a tiny town you can find so many attractions and architectural monuments.
How to get to the city and what to see first of all you will learn in this article.
Where and in what area is it located?
The southernmost city of the Murmansk region is located in a place where the river Niva gives water to the White Sea. This is 246 kilometers from the regional center. The settlement is surrounded by the territory of Zasheikovsky forestry.
How to get there?
By car you should go to Kandalaksha by highway M18 “Kola”.
From St. Petersburg – 1101 km (through Kirovsk, Priladozhsky, Pryazha, Kovdovskoye). In the first case the road will take 19 hours, in the second – 12 hours. Distance from Kandalaksha to Murmansk – 244 km.
In the direction of Kandalaksha – Polar Circle trains and electric trains run. The train will take 2 hours and 17 minutes and the train 2 hours and 42 minutes. This variant is more budget friendly.
In order to see train schedule from Murmansk you can here:
Population and history
The first official mention of the city is dated 1517. Northern settlement was formed in the course of Novgorod Boyars’ fishing colonization.
- In 1526 the first church of St. John the Baptist was opened. In 20 years there was a cloister. In 1554 Ivan the Terrible gave the monastery a charter for the surrounding land.
- In 1589 the Swedes almost destroyed the settlement, but people bravely restored all the buildings. The main sources of subsistence were fishing, hunting and salting.
- 1855 – during the Crimean war the inhabitants managed to defend the town from the British. Kandalaksha literally “rose from the ashes”. Sawmilling began to actively develop: woodworking, manufacturing of fishing boats and barrels for salted herring.
- 1930 г. – Aluminum and mechanical plants are opened. Powerful hydroelectric power plants are built on the Niva river.
- 1938 – Kandalaksha becomes a large sea port. A year later, railroad tracks connecting Karelian and Murmansk railroads were laid.
What to see: photo and description
Cross Mountain and ski slopes on the official website
The mountain gets its name from the cross, installed at the top point. Its height is 321 meters. The main purpose of the cross is to remind us of the price paid by Christ for the salvation of the soul.
The ski resort is located just 2 kilometers from the city. The views from the highest point are breathtaking. Beginners and children train at the bottom, and from the top come down experienced skiers. The slope is beautifully lit, although there is no polar night and the daylight hours are shortened to one hour.
It is located near the eastern shore of Lupcha Bay (in the northwestern part of the Kandalaksha Bay). It has 5 berths, and the total length is more than 584 meters. The port was founded in 1915: for the first time an American ship with cargo for building a railroad docked at the wharf.
State Reserve and Museum of Nature
The reserve combines land and water areas. The bay, which is part of it, is recognized as a territory of international importance. The famous children’s writer Vitaly Bianki worked here.
There is a museum in the administration building with expositions devoted to the sea floor, waterfowl and rare plant species.
The path goes along the White Sea and after 4 km leads to the cozy harbor with the wild beach in pine forest and with the stream full of fresh water. You can walk either along the trail itself or along the shore along the littoral. You can find out about organized excursions here.
The object is called the “enigma of Kola Peninsula”. It was constructed more than four thousand years ago. The name comes from the language of the ancient Pomors, and literally translates as “winding”. Scientists believe that our ancestors used it for ritual worship.
You can take a tour along the ecological trail and know interesting facts about the labyrinth on an individual guided tour.
The place is interesting by the ancient Lapps’ capitol, nicknamed “Ringing Stones”. When stones come into contact with each other, they produce an unusual ringing sound. Geologists explain the strange sounds by the microscopic cracks in the stones. According to legend, once upon a time a whale washed ashore, and the Sámi word for whale is “valas”.
The Municipal Museum of History was founded in 1963. The institution carries out a huge military-patriotic work. Particular attention is paid to the preservation of monuments and cultural heritage.
The main city museum is a people’s museum in every sense: exhibits, documents and photographs were collected by the whole city. One of the permanent exhibitions tells about the period of the Great Patriotic War.
The old “Japan” neighborhood at the mouth of the Niva river
The most remote district from the city is 460 years old. The official name is Zarechnaya, but the folk name “Japan” has caught on more (to get there is almost like reaching the country of the rising sun, although the comparison, of course, is somewhat exaggerated). Once there was a monastery, but only the foundation with a bowed cross survived.
Both on the way to the naval and on the right hand side of the road you can enjoy beautiful views of the river, you can see private houses and buildings of the townspeople.
Friendship Alley and the seal monument
The alley, located between the central square and the waterfront, appeared in the city in 2017. It is a pedestrian zone with paths and places to rest. In the center of the recreation area is a figure of a harp seal. The sculpture was made by local artist Valentin Myzdrikov.
Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist
The history of the temple began in 1526, and then it was subjected to numerous reconstructions. It survived the attack of the British during the Crimean war and several major fires.
St. Nicholas Church in the village of Kovda
The object attracts fans of wooden architecture monuments. The upper tier looks like an eight-walled log cabin, topped with a dome and a cross. The walls are decorated with carvings depicting a snake and a kokoshnik. The area of the inner hall is 70 square meters.
To admire the northern landscapes, to see a full-flowing waterfall and to learn about the Pomors and the past of these places, you can on a tour with a professional guide “From Kandalaksha – to the waterfall of Kolvitsa”.
The map shows all the interesting places in the city. You can download the map here.
Where to stay in a hotel?
For the comfort of tourists work hotels and hotels.
The advantage – you can check in even with pets. There are flat-screen TVs in the rooms and a library in the lobby. In addition to food from the restaurant, a cooler and microwave are available on the floor. A restaurant, 24-hour food and beverage delivery, and free Wi-Fi are provided.
You can also choose and book an apartment here:
You can watch an interesting video tour of the city:
Cities in the Murmansk region attract tourists who love to solve the mysteries of history. This is a symbol of the Kola Peninsula and the White Sea.
This article uses photos from the sites: autotravel.ru, travelask.ru, mifrai.livejournal.com.
Attractions of Kandalaksha
We present you the most interesting and memorable places to visit in Kandalaksha Murmansk region. Among them may be museums, monuments, theaters, temples and even industrial enterprises! After visiting them you can also write your review and share your impressions with other travelers!
The Kandalaksha aluminum smelter is the most northern of RUSAL’s plants. It concentrates on the production of products for the electrical industry. It is the only aluminum smelter in the world that is located above the Arctic Circle. It has been in operation since 1951. The plant is 250 kilometers from the ice-free port of Murmansk, and there is a port in Kandalaksha. Power to the plant gives Nivskie hydroelectric power. Information
Kandalaksha Commercial Seaport was founded in 1915 and is located on the east coast of the Kandalaksha Bay. The port has year-round navigation. The main cargo of the Kandalaksha Commercial Seaport is coal of energy grades from TALTEK Group companies. At present, the stevedoring company mostly works with export… Information, link to off-site
Kandalaksha History Museum was founded in June 1971. Exhibits of the museum tell about the history of the region from ancient times to the present. The exhibition presents: stone tools of the Mesolithic and Neolithic eras, religious objects, relics of war years, the evidence of defensive and offensive battles in the direction of Kandalaksha. Annually more than 8 thousand people visit the museum. Information, link to the official site
Kandalaksha Nature Reserve Museum was opened in 1957. The exposition contains more than 200 exhibits. There are dioramas “Sea bottom”, “The Birds of the White Sea”, “The Birds of the Barents Sea”. During its existence, the museum has been visited by more than 200 thousand people. Information, link to official site
Church of St.John Baptist’s Birth was built in 2005 not far from the previous church place. Its history began in 1526, when the church was built and consecrated in honor of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist by St. Theodorit of Kola at the mouth of the Niva River on its right bank. From this place the town of Kandalaksha began. The temple was subjected to many… Information
On February 6, 1938, not far from the town of Kandalaksha, the dirigible USSR V-6, which was on its way to aid Papanin’s polar expedition, crashed on the Neblok Mountain due to unfavorable weather conditions. Unfortunately, it was the last flight. The airship collided with a mountain which was not on the navigational chart. Thirteen of the 19 crew members perished. At dawn on February 7, one of the search… Information
Monument to Hero of the Soviet Union A. V. Spekov, Soviet frontier guard and participant in the Soviet-Finnish War, was erected in 1959 in Kandalaksha, on the street in the railway district that bears his name. On frosty night from January 24 to 25, 1940 border guard Spekov and 12 his comrades were on guard duty. In the early morning the premise where the frontier guards were kept was attacked by the White Finns. … Information
The Monument to the Victims of Intervention and the White Guard of 1918-1920 was erected in 1930s on the tip of Monastyrsky Cape. After the revolution the Entente troops (the English, French, Americans, Serbs and Italians) landed on the Kola Peninsula to help fight the enemies of the Soviet state. But the Allied Command behaved passively, only holding the originally occupied ri… Information
The monument to the T-34 tank was established on the Central Square of the city on October 5, 1974. This battle tank of World War II is a reminder of the terrible summer of 1941, when tank crews of the 1st tank division fought on the outskirts of Kandalaksha. On June 17, 1941 it was transferred to the Polar region, where it fought against the Germans’ 36th army corps near Alakurtti from the beginning of the war until July 8. 3 … Information.
Memorial locomotive SO17-2874 was mounted on the station Kandalaksha on the 20th of September 1984 as a tribute to the courage and selfless labour of her colleagues during the Great Patriotic War. This locomotive has nothing to do with the war – it was produced in 1948 at the Ulan-Ude plant, but hundreds of locomotives of this and other models helped to forge the Soviet people’s victory and contributed to the… Info
Metallurg Palace of Culture is the center of cultural life in Kandalaksha and its only concert venue for theater, dance and music groups. The hall can accommodate 360 spectators. Information, link to the official site.
Archaeological monument stone labyrinth is a cultural heritage site of federal importance. It is dated II millennium BC. It is a large system of intricate passages, laid out entirely of stone – this is the place where ancient people conducted their magic rituals. But there is still no unequivocal opinion as to the purpose of the labyrinths. In one of the after … Information
The Kandalaksha nature reserve was founded in 1932 with the aim of saving the species of common eider, the value of the down of which was high abroad at the time. The reserve is located on the coast of the Barents and White Seas. Its area is almost 60 thousand hectares. The main part of the territory falls on the water area of about 40 thousand hectares. The Reserve includes about 500 islands of the most diverse… Information, link to official site
The Kandalaksha Bay is one of the four largest bays of the White Sea, along with Mezenskaya Bay, Onega Bay and Dvinskaya Bay. The Kandalaksha Reserve is located in the bay. There are a lot of small islands of skerri type in the bay. The depth in the western part does not exceed 300 meters, while the inner part is mostly shallow. The bay is a place of mass… Information
Memorial to the Defenders of the Arctic Circle is located in the city cemetery. It was opened on October 17, 1979. In 2007 it was completely reconstructed. It includes three military burials: north, south and central. Buried 1034 people. Immortalized more than 800. Warriors who died of wounds in hospitals are buried here. Among the buried hero of the Soviet Union Borisov Ale.
A plaque stating that Evacospital No. 1440 was located in this building during the war is located on the building of School No. 1. Here were located the neurosurgical departments, where they operated after injuries to the skull and face, the eye department and the jaw department. The hospital housed 2,000 people. Information
The adoration cross, which gave its name to the mountain, was erected in the 16th century by the Venerable Theodorite of Kola. The main purpose of the cross is to be a sacred reminder of how, and at what cost, Christ opened to us the possibility of salvation. The cross was erected on the site of an ancient Saami temple, where pagans performed their sacrifices and worshiped the pagan gods. In June 1915… Information.
The Reconciliation Bench opened on July 8, 2016 on Friendship Alley. The bench has a concave seat, which will prevent quarreling lovers from sitting on it without making up. Involuntarily, a man and a woman will move to the center and end up next to each other. The Rotary Club was the driving force behind this unusual bench. Information
Vladimir Braersky rated the memorial “Excellent” for Victims of Intervention and White Guard 1918 – 1920
The monument was originally located where the administration building is situated now “Kandalaksha Kommunist” ¹ 93, 10.07.1939The Kandalaksha town council decided to build a stone monument to the victims of the intervention instead of the existing wooden one. The monument was designed by architect Mulhanov. The monument will be a column on a pedestal with the total height of 5,65 m. It will be composed of tattered torn stone and lined with granite cement. There will be marble plaques on the monument, on which will be written the names of the buried partisans.The cost of the monument is determined in 8.000 rubles.Now the preparation for the construction of the monument has already begun”.