If you already have seen enough palaces and cathedrals of St.Petersburg you might enjoy 1 day trip to Ruskeala, located appr 300 km from St.Petersburg in Karelia region.
Ruskeala was controlled by Russia, Sweden and Finland at various times.
When Catherine II ascended to the Russian throne, Ruskeala was recaptured by Russia. Then Saint Petersburg turned into a big construction site. And Ruskeala became a major supplier of amazing varicolored marble for the Russian capital and other towns.
While quarrying marble, people drilled narrow holes, filled them with powder and exploded.
In winter smooth marble blocks were loaded on sledges and brought to the river. Once the shipping season started, these blocks were embarked on ships and sent to Saint Petersburg.
Ruskeala marble was used in the decoration of famous St. Isaac's Cathedral and St. Michael's Castle in St. Petersburg.
There were some breaks in the marble extraction process, but the quarries continued to the very end of the 20th century. The Ruskeala marble was used in building few metro stations -“Primorskaya” and “Ladozhskaya” in Leningrad (Saint Petersburg).
Due to the usage of dynamite or excavating marble some quarries got cracks, it wasn’t safe anymore to continue exploitation of the quarries and they were inundated.
The park was built to protect this unique natural and industrial monument of Russia.
The heart of the park lies in the Marble Canyon. A huge bowl, carved by people in marble, stretches 456 meters from north to south, and is 109 meters wide. Filled with the purest emerald-green water, it is framed by slightly sloping and steep rocks, reaching a height of 25 meters above the water mirror.
Due to extensive marble extraction large Marble Canyon, numerous mines and adits were formed. With Marble Canyon growing bigger, some underground adits were encountered, but there are still many manmade caves and underground grottos.
Ruskeala pit is another must-seen place in the mountain park that was formed at the site of an exploded mine about 50 years ago.
In some areas of grottos ice remains even during summer, and in winter the whole bottom of the pit gets covered with ice. The administration of the park offers its visitors to go right on the bottom of Ruskeala pit!
In winter Ruskeala Marble Canyon is illuminated with multicolored lights which make this scene truly unique and unforgettable! The trails and quarry are lit in colored lights that shine off the water/ice and the marble walls. There are trails throughout the park which are perfect for a romantic walk or for photo opportunities.
In summer those who want to discover the secrets of flooded adits can go diving!
This is a place of open – air music festival “Ruskeala Symphony” which took place in August and becomes more and more popular due to fantastic location and famous participants and performers.
Look at pictures and enjoy this amazing place. I also invite you to see this beauty with your own eyes!!