National Park of Vodlozero

 

National Park of Vodlozero

Region of the Russian Federation: Republic of Karelia, Arkhangelsk Region

Status of Territories composing the Property: Vodlozersky National Park

Area: 520 683 ha

Status: inscribed in the Tentative List of the Russian Federation in 1996

The high degree of Vodlozero Region natural and cultural complexes integrity is stipulated by the fact that till recently local people lives here in complete harmony with nature as the peoples of the Northern Europe have done for hundreds of years. The park territory is characterized by a series of unique natural features. It is one of the last undisturbed wetland taiga complex of considerable size (about 600,000 ha) and composite structure in Europe. The Vodlozero forests set the standard for lowland taiga in western Eurasia and it is a very important breeding area for common and rare flora and fauna species of the taiga zone. Scientists have recorded 414 species of vascular plants, as well as a great number of the moss, lichens and mushrooms in the park.

The forests are home to over 50 species of mammals including the brown bear, wolf, fox, wolverine, lynx, European mink, wolverine and badger. The park also contains the most southern European population of reindeer. The avifauna of the park is quite unique. Out of a total of 176 bird species recorded in the park, 36 are rare and endangered. A high level of biodiversity singles out the ichthyofauna of the Vodlozero.

The National Park of Vodlozero includes places where the world's most ancient rocks (3,400,000,000 years old) outcrop to the surface. The uniqueness of the crystalline bedrock lies in the abundance of huge bodies of underground lava, dormant volcanoes and volcanic channels. These bare rock outcrops in the park are beautiful representations of the ancient annals of the Earth. Glacial land and water formations occupy many areas throughout the park. 54 geological sites of exceptional beauty have been identified in the park.

In the National Park of Vodlozero on a limited territory the complex of compactly located archeological monuments is presented. It includes more than 50 sites of early human settlements belonging to two cultures, Karelian and Kargopol, which is especially important for the study of contacts between ancient tribes in the region.

Numerous wooden dwellings are examples of more recent cultural artifacts from the 16th to the 18th centuries. Among them are religious works, items of civil architecture, ancient portages and staging posts on the way from Novgorod towards the White Sea. One of the most remarkable examples of wooden architecture “Ilyinsky Pogost” (Elijah’s Churchyard) is dated back the late 18th century.