Cultural heritage

Vodlozerie is an area of compact inhabitation of local ethnic group of Russians in the North. System of settling which was forming through the ages on islands of Vodlozero around ancient churchyards was optimal for use of land, fish and timber resources. It was a unique "insular civilization" which presents striking historical example of harmonious co-existence of man and nature on the one hand and gives live reference point on future for activity of development of national park as live natural, social and cultural organism on the other hand. Past period of park's functioning has shown that without return of living cultural tradition there is no sense to talk about protection of nature and cultural heritage of Vodlozerie, ecologically balanced sustainable development of territory. That's why a work on development of traditional culture which has begun at the earliest stage of national park's formation has become a key direction today.

Special significance in work of national park is devoted to renewal of circle of traditional festivals of Vodlozerie as necessary events for revival of spiritual and cultural life of territory, to return to cradle and bring up a growing generation of local school children to love its country, culture and history. Calendar of traditional festivals should become a basis for organization of pilgrim trips, tours and programs on a territory of national park. Renewal of traditional festivals should be accompanied by revival of local sacred objects (chapels, crosses, etc.) and return of memory about gone villages.

Still Elias day, patronal festival of Ilinsky churchyard is a main event of festive calendar of Vodlozerie. In festival take part not only inhabitants of Kuganavolok and Pudozh region but also pilgrims from Karelia, central and north-west Russia. Holiday as usual is accompanied by religious procession, common meal, concert of folk music and peal. Exactly in Elias day archpriest Andrey Vereshagin has presented gratifying letters from archbishop of Petrozavodsk and Karelia Manuil to people who especially worked on rebirth of Ilinskaya church - Valeriy Egorov , Irina and Yuriy Greckiye.
Peter's day in old times was a patron saint's day of Prechistenskiy churchyard, which was situated insouthern part of Vodlozero. After building of Peter and Paul chapel in Kuganavolok in year 2004, this holiday has returned again to Vodlozero land. On 12th of July 2007 in Peter and Paul's day synod of priests finished a service of Divine Liturgy. Inhabitants and guests of village Kuganavolok took part in festive service and religious procession. Most of old rural festivals - Transfiguration and Assumption, Exaltation of the Cross, memory days of St. Nicholas, St. George the Warrior, miracle men from Solovki and other are revived today and once again form festive circle of Vodlozero. "Nicola vernal" is old festival of village Ragunovo. To the festival of this village emigrants who live in Petrozavodsk and Pudozh now have collected money to repair village chapel.

"Tihvinskaya" is a festival of the Virgin of Tihvin icon. In old times this festival was especially respected the same way as a chapel of the same name in village Varishpelda. Since 2003 this village holiday celebrates annually. After building of a church in Kuganavolok one more festival has added to traditional holidays of Vodlozero - day of a memory of Saint Diodor Yur'evgorskiy which celebrates on 11th of December.

Festival of peals took place in Vodlozero in August of 2007. Bell ringers from Petrozavodsk churches took part in festival; "Vodlozero school of bell ringers" began to work. During the festival concerts of peals took place in Ilinsky churchyard, Kuganavolok, Varishpelda, Gost'navolok and Ileksa. Religious procession around Vodlozero went off on sailing boat "St.Elias" where belfry was placed.