Valaam Islands

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Valaam Islands


a group of islands located in the northwestern part of Lake Ladoga and included in the Karelian ASSR.

The Valaam Islands include Valaam Island and more than 50 smaller ones. The total area is 36 sq km. The maximum elevation is 70 m. These islands are made up of granites and diabases. Most of the islands are covered by coniferous forests. In the 12th century the Valaam Islands were included in the territories belonging to Novgorod the Great. At the beginning of the 17th century they were seized by Swedish feudal lords, and they became part of the Russian Empire at the beginning of the 18th century. In 1918 the Valaam Islands were captured by Finnish White Guards, but in 1940 they were returned to the USSR.

Located on Valaam Island are an urban-type settlement known as Valaam, buildings of the former Valaam Monastery (founded in the 14th century) and a church built in a pseudo-Russian style in the so-called White Hermitage (1850’s, architect A. M. Gornostaev), as well as buildings of the so-called Red Hermitage (end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries). There are also tourist facilities on Valaam.


Lisaevich, I. I., and Iu. A. Duzhnikov. Kizhi: Valaam. Leningrad, 1966.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.