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Valdai National Park
November 26, 2020 22:19


The Valdai National Park is located in the north of the Valdai Upland, on the territory of three districts of the Novgorod region - Okulovsky, Valdai and Demyansky. From north to south, the park is 105 km long, and from east to west - 45 km.

The Valdai Upland is the cradle of many Russian rivers: the sources of the Volga, Dnieper, Western Dvina, Volkhov, Msta are located here. Scientists have discovered a gigantic network of underground water-bearing caves on the Valdai Upland; this area is the main source of fresh water in Russia. In order to preserve the natural resources of Valdai, on May 17, 1990, the Valdai National Park was established. The forests of the National Park are home to bears, wolves, lynxes, foxes, moose, wild boars, hares, badgers, martens, beavers, otters and minks. The most common birds are black grouse, hazel grouse, capercaillie and ducks. Lakes and rivers are rich in various types of fish - pikes, bream, burbot, tench, crucian carp, smelt, pike perch, vendace, roach, perch and ruff live in the park.


The landscapes of the Valdai National Park are quite varied - hills and boulders alternate with flooded meadows, lakes, birch groves and pine forests. To make it easier for nature lovers to navigate among the local beauties, the park's staff have developed tourist routes of various lengths - eco-trails, as well as walking, car and bus excursions. On the territory of Valdai Park, 82 archaeological monuments have been discovered (ancient sites of the 7th-6th centuries BC, ancient settlements, mounds and hills). There are 9 old estates with parks and 22 monuments of architecture and wooden architecture of the 17th-19th centuries. The beautiful Church of the Great Martyr Catherine, built at the end of the 18th century by the Russian architect N.A.Lvov, has survived in the city of Valdai. The building of the church, protected as an architectural monument of republican significance, now houses the Museum of the History of Valdai and the exhibition "Valdai Bell".

Iversky monastery

The Iversky Bogoroditsky Svyatoozersky Monastery, which is an architectural monument of the 17th – 18th centuries, stands on an island in the middle of Lake Valdai. The architectural complex was built in the image and likeness of the Iversky Monastery on Mount Athos. The monastery was named Svyatoozersky because before the construction of the monastery, Patriarch Nikon conducted a rite of consecration of the lake, dropping a cross and the Gospel to its bottom.

Lakes of Valdai Park

There are about 200 lakes on the territory of the Valdai National Park, and 56 of them are large - with an area of more than 20 hectares. The glacial lakes Borovno, Valdai, Uzhin, Velie and Seliger are called the pearls of the Central Russian strip.

Lake Valdai

The largest lake in the national park, with an area of 19.7 sq. km (excluding islands). The average depth of Lake Valdai is 12 meters, but in some places it reaches 60 meters. In the middle of this picturesque lake of glacial origin, there is Ryabinovy Island, which divides Valdai into two stretches. There are also a couple of large islands in the lake: Birch and Patochny. Lake Valdai is inferior in size to other lakes in the Novgorod region, but its beauty is often compared to Baikal. According to scientists, the word "Valdai" comes from the dialect word of the Finno-Ugric tribes that inhabited this land, and means "bright, living water." In the warm season, many tourists from all over the European part of Russia come to Lake Valdai, doubling the population of the city of Valdai. Vacationers swim, fish, eat fresh blueberries, cloudberries and lingonberries in the forest.

National Park Visiting Rules

To visit the national park, you need to get a permit  at the Park Administration (city of Valdai, Pobedy St., 5) or at the state inspector in charge of the parking. For visiting the territory of the Valdai National Park, the fee is 100 rubles per one person.  

Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Valdai Russian nature Russian national parks Lake Uzhin  

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