Solovki my love

View of the Monastery
First time I went there when I was 20. Last time I did year ago. That’s it, I been visiting Solovki for last 20 years! Twenty years ago the entire White Sea was special restricted travel zone and off limits even to Russians, not to mention foreigners. In order to get there one would need special invitation either to work or visit locals that he or she have to exchange into permission at a police office. First I went there as an assistant to the Solovetskij Monastery restorers, spending summer month cleaning construction debris and paving roads. Professional restorers were absolute zealots, saints who had worked for years on pure enthusiasm and passion. Next winter I was studying history of Solovki and passed exam for Solovki tour guide ran by local museum. This gave me solid reason to come there almost every summer for couple of years in row. Then the restrictions were lifted and these days anybody can simply buy ticket and travel there. I went there again last August after long break. As you shell see, it took me less then a year to organize my photos and put them on the Web 🙂 Given that my slides of 1983 trip are still stuck in closet, isn’t it great progress?

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8 Responses to Solovki my love

  1. Natalia says:

    Dear Anatoly,
    Your pictures and accompanied notes are very good! I liked them a lot. I work in a government educational institution and we develop educational materials for everybody who wants to study foreign languages, including Russian. I will do one article on the topic of Solovki. I wonder if I can use a few of your pictures for illustration. We do not pay money, but we always refer to the author of articles and pictures which we use. Please, let me know if we can use your pictures.
    Natalia Antokhin

  2. anatol says:

    Natalia, very nice of you, thanks! Please use my photos freely as soon as there is reference to Just curious, which organization you represent and where is it physically and virtually (URL).

  3. Alexander says:

    Ia vas ponimaiu, sam tam byl v 200-om godu…mne priamo grustno pisat eti stroki…

  4. POMAH says:

    Beautiful, insightful photography! I particularly enjoyed your Solovki and Nihon galleries. Thanks for sharing. I visited Solovki last summer and the experience was unforgettable…

  5. Karen Prager says:

    I wanted to send you an email to thank you for your wonderful website. Your photos have been so, so helpful for me in the last several months. I am a senior at Colby College in Maine and I have been writing my senior honors thesis in history on the dissent at Solovetskii in the 1660s. The images have helped me contextualize what I’ve been reaing.
    Your pictures are beautiful.
    Bcevo horoshevo,
    Karen Prager

  6. Connie says:

    I was in Solovki first time in autumn 1992 with the jazzfestival Arkhangelsk Company. I came there for 4 times. But then Vladimir Resitzki died and the festival was not continued.
    I am still very impressed about the bitter and tragic history of Solovki and I will never forget this place.
    you can find some information on my many russian tours, my time in Russia, my love to Russia at
    All my russian life was made possible by the great energy of Nikolai Dmitriev, the Jazz journalist, cultural organizer, the man who became our closest friend and brother and who died April 10, 2004
    there will be great festival in his pamjat and to his honour at

  7. Odne says:

    The pictures from Solovki was very good.
    Best wishes from Norway

  8. Adam says:

    I am reading a book about Solovki Islands written by Polish author Mar Wilk who lived there in 90’s. The book is about past and present, geography and people of this stunning archipelago. He gave very vivid description of many places on Solovki so I wanted to see a map of “ostrova” (the book doesn’t have one). Therefore I made a search on Internet and had found your website. You mention that you traveled many times to Solovki so you must be one of those they jokingly call “osolovyeliy” (the one who is in love with Solovetskiye Ostrova). At least pictures are telling it. Sunsets on your photos look beautiful and exactly as author described in his book. Mar Wilk also wrote about Solovki people, one of them is “poslushnik” Nikola who carved crosses. It’s perhaps his picture on your web.
    I believe you did wonderful job with your website but to make it more complete you should add in as detailed map of Islands as possible. I hope it’s not top secret any more. The map must have included names and all of geographical features like bays, peninsulas, mountains, lakes, capes, streams, rivers, canals and so on.
    Wishing you good luck in your job and travel endeavors, and hoping one day I will be able to visit Solovki.

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