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Babylons of the White Sea

By Linda Tancs

One of the oldest nature reserves in Russia, Kandalaksha Nature Reserve is located in the Kola Peninsula on the White Sea coast. Although the nature reserve itself is off-limits to tourists, the area boasts other attractions, like ancient labyrinths known locally as “babylons” found on Big Zayatsky Island. That’s one of six islands comprising Solovetsky Islands, the main tourist attraction in the White Sea. This time of year is ideal for beluga whale and seal watching. The most accessible place for observing belugas in the wild is on Big Solovetsky Island. The bearded seal, harp seal and Arctic ringed seal are also native to the region. You can get to the islands (located about 100 miles from the Arctic Circle) by a ferry/train combination originating in Saint Petersburg or by plane from Arkhangelsk.


To limit the spread of COVID-19, attractions may be closed or have partial closures. Please keep those affected by the virus in your thoughts and be sure to follow the safety practices advocated by the Centers for Disease Control. Stay safe, and be well.

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