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Karelian Onega Petroglyphs in Russia – Unique Rock Paintings of Ancient People

A vast array of ancient rock paintings surrounded by a stunningly beautiful nature.

Karelian Onega petroglyphs in Russia are considered to be a much larger group of petroglyphs in comparison with Norwegian or Swedish ones. A free vote on the Internet by people from several countries (Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway and so on)included Karelian Onega petroglyphs in the list of the 7 wonders of the Finno-Ugric world.

Images of Karelian Onega Petroglyphs

In total there are at least 1,200 petroglyphs made ​​by ancient people.

The scenes depicted by prehistoric peopleon the rocks are surprisingly diverse. They include individual images of people and animals, and geometric shapes, and scenes of military battles, and skiing and swimming scenes, plus scenes of religious nature.

We would like to note also many petroglyphs containing fantastic scenes.

Petroglyphs of Besov Nos (the most popular cape on White Lake with many of the most groups of the most famous Onega petroglyphs) are dating back to the Neolithic period (IV-II millennium BC).

By the water at Cape Besov Nos there are petroglyphs carved on the rocks – two-meter high “Demon,” “Catfish,” and “Lizard”.

The image of “Demon” covers two stones, as if cut in half. There is a hypothesis that about 8000 years ago this was the place for making sacrifices. And supernatural being was fed with blood that sipped into the crack between the stones, separating the image in half.

Interestingly, the image of “Demon” was easily read before, and caused resentment among the monks of the monastery of Murom. Around the 15th century they fought with evil spirits and carved over the image of “Demon” a Christian cross.

Rock image of `Demon` on a granite stoneRock image of “Demon” on a granite stone. Next to it – Orthodox cross / Russia, Onega, Besov Nos / Petroglyph – around 5000 – 6000 BC, Orthodox cross – 15th century

Some images are very realistic and depict local nature – birds, animals, scenes from everyday life.

Rock image of waterfowl Rock image of waterfowl / Russia, Onega, Besov Nos / around 5000 – 6000 BC

Onega images are known for their mythological scenes.  Among them, there are many strange images – different planets (the sun), fantastical creatures. Many seekers of unusual things believe that Onega in those times was visited by … aliens.

Rock images of fantastical looking creaturesRock images of fantastical looking creatures / Russia, Onega, Besov Nos / around 5000 – 6000 BC

Viewing Onega Petroglyphs

The best time to see the petroglyphs is during the slanting rays of the sun in the morning or evening, when the relief of carved by primitive people images on the rocks is the most vivid.

Location of Karelian Onega Petroglyphs

All petroglyphs are located on the shore of Lake Onega. Petroglyphs form many groups on the rocks of the capes of Besov Nos, Gazii nos, Kladovets, and Guri Island – about 20 kilometers of the lake shore.

The most popular place is a strikingly beautiful cape Besov Nos, stretching nearly 1 kilometer.

Petroglyphs are best explored with a guide, a guide or a local – it is not that easy to find them on your own.

How to Get There

You can drive there in a good SUV from the village of Karshevo. Or you can take a boat in the village. It is pretty safe to leave the car in the village. You pay for renting the boat upon your return (you can return it any time, even in a month). You can get to the village from Petrozavodsk (Karelia, Russia). You can also get to the villages of Shalsky or Pudozh.

Pudozh Museum organizes nice trips to cape Besov Nos (pudmuseum @ onego.ru).

Then you take a boat to the cape Besov Nos. Many tourists stop at the Black River for a few days to fish. You will have the best memories from such an experience.

Of course, in Petrozavodsk you can buy a tour to these places – usually tours take 2-3 days.

There are direct flights to Petrozavodsk from Moscow, and also overnight trains.

Nature of Karelia in these places is magical during summer months, so you can stay in these “places of power” for a lot more than one day.

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To discover Russia with Alexey Gureev

фото-фотобанк Лори

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