The Solovki Islands in the White Sea

The Wedding Ceremony at the monastery

The Solovki Islands in the White Sea are 'historical ground': the christianization of the Russian North started here and the great Monastery is a witness of these times. In our century, a dark side of the russian history took place here: the first GULAG-Camp was installed by Lenin. The monastery served as prison.

500 000 Rubles This history is very much discussed in the moment: there is a new 500,000-Rubles banknote out now, which shows a photo from the islands, and this photo was taken in the times of GULAG.
The financial authorities decided that the banknote will not be changed.
A very strange way to deal with the historic truth..!
It's a tradition, that musicians and guests of the Arkhangelsk Festival are invited to a tour to these islands and I am lucky that I could see this beautiful more than one time. See my last-year's report for more information on these islands!

This year's tour was different: there was no boat available and that's the reason why we flew with two small airplanes. This gave us the chance to admire the beautiful landscape of the northern shores from bird's view.

Flying to SolovkiThe White Sea Shore

What a beautiful view, when you see the silhouette of the monastery and what a contrast when you notice the airport building!

The Solovki Monastery, seen from the planeThe Solovki Airport

I ran out of colour-films and my digital camera needed new batteries, so the following photos are black-and-white only.

We spent the night in a charming wooden guesthouse and some of us took a very refreshing sleep, preparing for the program of the following day: a japanese wedding was announced before most of the visitors would start for the traditional wandering - and - rowing tour around the island.

Well: a japanese wedding is not the right expression: members of the japanese group had expressed their wish to marry on this remote and in their eyes romantic island. As the prior of the monastery told Vladimir Resitzki, there was no monk with the license for wedding ceremonies at the monastery available, but he allowed to celebrate a private ceremony in the refectorium.

So the ceremony started.

depart from the guesthouse

The company left the guesthouse for the walk to the monastery

rural scene

and passed the outer wall of the monastery complex

Solovki Monastery


before they arrived in the inner yard.

Vladimir Resitzki as the master of ceremonies spoke to the bride and bridegroom, offered bread, vodka and a embroidered towel as the tradition demands and expressed all his best whishes for the future.

His speech was translated from russian to english to japanese.

The bridal pair

The bridal pair received the congratulations and enjoyed the flash lights, the perfume of the incense sticks and the congratulations of the fellows.

Return to the guesthouse

Happily they returned to the guesthouse.

Congratulations and the best whishes for the future!

The members of the group started their tour around the island (rowing and walking), and they ran into some adventures, as the driver, who had to bring them to the lakes and who had to wait them, got drunk, raped two women from the islands and fell into sleep. So most of the group had to walk back some 12 km, while we, who didn't join the expedition, waited for them eagerly, as the flight back was scheduled for 6:00 pm.

Luckily everybody came back from the forest and we left the fascinating islands in the evening sun.


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