General information

General information

It is located in the south-western part of the Arkhangelsk region at the junction of the Plesetsk and Kargopol administrative districts. Its western FLANK runs along the border with the Republic of Karelia. The territory of the park is configured in a polygon, greater across the longitude. The maximum distance fr om the south to the north is 72 km, fr om the west to the east — 27 km. Kenozero National Park — a specially protected natural area — is a reference to the prehistoric human inhabitation, something that has preserved the centuries-old history and culture of the Russian North. Evidence of this is preserved in natural complexes and objects, numerous monuments of material and spiritual culture, architecture, murals, iconography, archeology, and rich ethnographic material.

Kenozero. Photo by K.Kokoskin

For a long time, the protected seclusion of Kenozero, which depends little on any external factors, has contributed to the preservation of ancient features in language and culture. The Kenozero heroic saga provided the treasured folklore with a huge heritage: here Russian and Soviet folkloric scholars and ethnographers recorded over 3000 texts of epic tales, fairy tales and other works of oral folk art.

The natural and cultural complex of Kenozero essentially enriches the notion of the culture of the Russian North. The quality of composition in the objects of cultural heritage is unrivalled. This is the territory, that preserved to the fullest the organic interaction of pre-Christian and Christian cultures in both the monuments and way of life of the population. The Kenozero National Park is a striking example of the balanced and harmonious coexistence of man and nature, the mutual influence and interpenetration of nature and culture, wh ere the features of a Russian world order in the 17th — 19th centuries can be seen.

 In 2004, it was included in the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.

The unique location of the park on the border of the Russian platform and the Baltic shield, the watershed between the basins of the White and Baltic seas, and the natural characteristics — all which determines the biodiversity of plants and animals. 50 species of mammals, 263 species of birds, 4 species of reptiles, 5 species of amphibians are recorded on its territory; 800 species of higher vascular plants,  many of which are listed in the Red List of Russia and the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List. 28 species of fish and 2 species of lamprey live in almost 300 lakes and rivers, which in itself is atypical for watershed areas. Kenozero plays an important role in preserving the avifauna of Northern Europe, and is therefore included in the catalogue «Important Bird Areas of International Importance in European Russia (Important Bird Areas) (2000)».

Ducks. Photo by I.Shpilenok

Kenozero National Park is an outstanding example of the Northern European cultural landscape, which has preserved traditions and ancient forms of folk art, alongside the use and management of natural resourses on its territory. People still live within the boundaries of these cultural landscapes, and they are the bearers of its traditional culture — the descendants of those who once created this natural and cultural diversity. The historical and cultural elements of the Park's cultural landscapes («holy» woods, chapels, intending crosses, residential and farm buildings, etc.) are all objects of high value — a peculiar landmark of the Park — the most important components representing the territory. The high degree of preservation of cultural landscapes and the concentration of their valuable elements make the Kenozero National Park a unique region, unmatched across the territory of Russia and other countries of the world.

Near the Nikolskaya chapel. Photo by K.Kokoskin

Even before the organization of the national park, Kenozero, unlike many other places had already preserved a significant part of its historical, cultural and natural heritage. It can be assumed that this was encouraged, owing to the beauty of Kenozero' places and by following the traditions at a deep, emotional level, which kept people from harm. Country life according to the precepts of the ancestors was a way of preserving the national identity for this territory. The cultural and natural heritage of Kenozero, after centuries of historical development, luckily escaped the periods of global destruction, preserved the historical basis, integrity, identity.