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Russian Tourist Destinations: Seliger Lake the Pearl of Russian Nature
April 18, 2007 15:42

A pearl of Russian nature, Seliger Lake, is situated in the centre of the country between Moscow and St. Petersburg, amongst the forest territory of Valdai Hills. Seliger is a big and beautiful system of lakes linked by effluents, with a lot of small islands and is surrounded by forests, including pine woods rich in mushrooms and berries.

There are nearly 200 islands in the lake area; however, even scientists cannot give a certain number of islands in Seliger. The biggest island is Khachin with 13 inner lakes, and there are also very small lakes hardly reaching 10 metres in diameter. The landscapes surrounding Seliger seem ideal for fascinating adventures, fishing, hunt, and active rest. Here dwell more than 30 types of fish: first of all it is bream, pike, pickerel, cat-fish, perch, and roach.

Geographers deem that the lake has existed since the Ice Age (70-11 thousand years ago), and the multiple hills, lakes, bogs, and boulders are the traces of the ice shelf. The lake is considered very clear – its water transparency is 5 metres.

The modern names of the local lakes, rivers, and forests derive from the first dwellers of this area – Finns. Translated from Finnish, Seliger means “clear lake”, or “jagged lake”. The first records of Seliger date 11th-12th centuries; in those times the lake was most frequently called Sereger. This region has witnessed many important historical events – princely civil discords, Batyi`s horde, and the long and stubborn fighting against Polish and Lithuanian invaders. Peaceful silence, beauty of the lake, nature untouched by human hand, and clear air filled with forest smells are what attract citizens of big cities to Seliger from year to year.

However, Seliger can boast not only nature but its sightseeings and history which one can learn from an experienced local guide. Ancient churches and monasteries are situated along the lake shores and on the islands. Some of the monasteries are open for multiple tourists and pilgrims. The functioning monastery Nilova Pustyn` (Nil’s ashram) is considered to be the spiritual centre of the region, and is one of the greatest cultural monuments of the Orthodox culture. It is also possible to get to the top of the monastery’s bell tower and feast your eyes on the picturesque panorama of the lake, islands, villages, and churches on the lake shores.

Trips to Seliger lakes are one of the strongest impressions of travelling to the Seliger Region. All tourists coming here normally use two kinds of transportation: water transport and cars. Motor ship and bus lines link Ostashkov with many other towns located on the lake shores. Motor ship trips are incredibly popular here, but the other well-spread means of transport in the area is the bus. For the tourists travelling by car there are 3 stations of technical maintenance and several new filling stations; besides, it is planned to build a number of motels and camping. The natural and historical-cultural potential of Seliger attracts more than 300 thousand of tourists annually.


Natalya Lavrentyeva

Tags: Russian tourism Seliger Lake Nilov Monastery Valdai Region Ecotourism 

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