Arkhangelsk Oblast is home to many wonderful and special places: deep rivers and clear lakes, captivating northern forests and the harsh White Sea, coastal villages lost in the snow, ancient churches and majestic monasteries, and outstanding examples of Russian wooden architecture with intricate carvings.
The first place that most visitors see is Oblast's capital, Arkhangelsk, combining features of an old and new city. In some districts of Solombala, you can still walk along wooden pavements, used instead of asphalt, like in the 19th century.
You can enjoy a wonderful view of the Northern Dvina River from the city's embankment, while if you walk along Chumbarova-Luchinskogo Prospect you can look at the wooden merchant houses.
Not far from Arkhangelsk, you can find Malye Korely, an open-air museum of wooden architecture, with hundreds of ancient buildings brought here from all over the region: churches, mills, barns, and peasant huts.
In the south of Oblast is the old town of Kargopol, famous for its graceful churches and unhurried Russian way of life. The town of Solvychegodsk is not only famous for its churches but also for its therapeutic mineral springs. It is home to the magnificent Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin with its fussy baroque style and unique arching tiles. The Solvychegodsk Museum of History and Art is located in a church on the picturesque banks of the Vychegda River. This is a real treasure of Russian culture: the museum has a rich collection of unique shrouds with images of saints, embroidered using the golden Stroganov stitch. You can also look at church books with precious covers, designed with jewelled multicolored enamel.
The nature of the north is particularly beautiful, restrained, and peaceful. Among the clear lakes and ancient forests in Kenozerye and Pinezhye you can feel the soul of ancient Rus long lost in fairy tales and folk stories. A trip to Kiy Island in the White Sea will allow you to get away from the noise of civilization and city bustle.
The Solovetsky Archipelago is the pearl of the Russian North. You could spend a whole week here and still not see all its attractions. Every Russian person has seen a photograph of the Solovetsky Monastery at least once because its image is depicted on the 500 ruble note.
You can also find churches and monastic hermitages, ancient stone labyrinths and the crystal clear Svyatoe Lake.
Gandvik, the ancient name of the whole Arctic Ocean, including the White Sea. Cold and dangerous, but also inspiring. The Northern people have always respected the sea that has provided them with food. Local inhabitants have a special character: quiet and hard-working fishermen and whalers whose ancestors had to risk their lives. The White Sea is a true test. There are crosses along the whole coast giving thanks from those who returned after a storm and in memory of those who were unable to master the elements.Further north lies the endless space of the Russian Arctic. Winter is ruled by white silence, the Northern Lights dance in the sky and fierce winds blow. However, summer is full of life. You can see colonies with thousands of load-voiced birds, walrus rookeries and polar bears, the master of this land.