The Republic of Karelia is situated in the north-west of Russia.
Most part of the territory of the republic is an undulating plain with pronounced traces of glacier activity. The wavy surface of the land still keeps the traces of the ancient mountains. Karelia is often called a “stony lake and forest land”, and the name stresses the main elements of the landscape.
More than 49 per cent of the area is covered with forests (the main species are pine-tree and fir-tree), 25 per cent is water surface. There are more than 60 thousand lakes and 27 thousand rivers in Karelia. The largest are Lake Ladoga (17.7 thousand sq km) and Lake Onego (9.9 thousand sq. km.). The largest rivers are Vodla (400 km), Vyg, Kovda, Kemi, Suna and Shuja.
The variety of natural conditions, connected with great extent of the territory from the north to the south and man’s industrial activity, changing the landscape, alongside with historical features of fauna formation, causes a conjoint expansion of species with different requirements to the environment within Karelia, and determines the mixed structure of fauna.
A shrew is the tiniest animal in Karelian taiga; its weigh is 2-3 kg. A moose is the biggest animal; its weigh can be up to 400 kg. Brown bear are very numerous. A wood reindeer is also one of the largest animals in Karelia.
The most interest specimen of fauna is a beaver. It is famous first of all for its building skills. It digs channels, erects huts and dams about dozens lengthwise, and sometimes even hundreds of meters. It’s easy to see its traces of activity, but the master itself is almost always out of a sight: it works on nights and comes out on land very seldom.
here are more than 260 species of birds in Karelia, among of which about 200 are nestling. In summer it is occasionally possible to see a golden eagle and erne in flight. Thousands flocks of scoters, brand gooses and other birds can be observed during feeding and rest along the White Sea shores. Numerous gooses inhabit Onezhskoe Lake.
Karelia is rather popular with foreign tourists for its unique architectural, cultural and historical objects located on Kizhi, Valaam and Solovetskie islands that are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Karelia is the place of birth of a famous Karelia-Finnish epos "Kalevala" - a literature monument of world significance. Ancient Karelian and Vepps settlements are kept under ptotection here.
Petroglyphs found in Karelia, rock carvings created by ancient hunters and fishermen, are more than five thousand years old. These are the samples of ancient written language and culture.