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Karelia: Panfilov Varak
July 9, 2016 10:18


Panfilov Varak ("mountain" in Karelian), where in the middle of the twentieth century pegmatite, quartz and mica were mined, is situated on the outskirts, far from the settlemenst, near the Strait of Great Salma.

This is a low hill, covered with pine trees, and with a flat wide top cracked in two gorges that seem miraculous at first glance. In fact, this is a pegmatite quarry. Here and there on the rocks the scars from blasting are visible: the career was developed by accelerated pace. It appeared in the 30-ies of the twentieth century.

According to rumors, shortly after the start of works the prisoners of the Gulag were sent to the quarry. Pegmatite is a nondescript mineral, similar to granite and it was a strategic raw material: industrial porcelain and an excellent electrical insulator was produced from it. Working conditions at the quarry were heavy. The residents of Pomerania featured the local workers by their specific tan: bronze forehead and cheeks, and a white spot where the face was covered by a respirator.

The raw materials were first exported by sea. The road to the quarry, that can be passed today, was built only in 30 years. In the end, the development was ceased because of the obvious unprofitability. Today, the streams flow on the slopes of career, and its bottom turned into a small lake. The wind does not penetrate the gorge, so the water is smooth. Cranberry and crowberry (siksa) grow here under the pine trees  and the views from the top are wonderful – tourists enjoy the sea and to taiga. 

Local Pecularities

Today, tourists can travel close to Panfilov Varak by land and by sea, although there is no paved road there. So arriving by sea is more convenient. It is possible to moor to the rocks that were left from the cargo pier.

There is an old park with a place for a fire and homemade benches on the shore.

It is the best way to climb the mountain from here.

There is an unusual small house not far from the road to the right and higher. It is a secret place even for the local people who do not know who and why constructed it. Some people say that it was built by workers, others - by tourists. Tourists may spend a night in the house: there are bunks,a table and even a stove with a chimney inside.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Karelia     

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