Review of the history about the town of Belomorsk

The name of the White Sea stands from the snow of its shores, from
the fogs ruling here, and at last, from the white foam, that covers the sea under strong breakers.

(From the book “The Course of sailing directions”, 1883, kept in the Belomorsk Local Museum)



The Belomorsk district is one of the seaside areas of the Republic of Karelia. It is situated in the North-East of Russia and borders with Kem in the North, Kalevala and Muezersky districts in the West, Segezha district of Karelia in the South, and Arkhangelsk region in the East. From the North-East the territory of the Belomorsk district is washed by the White Sea, the sea coastline of 200 kilometers belongs to the district. The area of the district is 12.9 thousand square kilometers; this area has more than 40 lakes and 10 rivers. The largest rivers are the Vyg, the Shuya, the Suma, the Nyukhcha, the Verma, and the Tunguda.

The administrative centre of the district is Belomorsk. It is 376 km far from the capital of the Republic of Karelia, Petrozavodsk. The roots of the town come from the village of Soroca, founded several centuries ago on a small island in the Delta of the River Vyg. But there is also more ancient history of this land…

The first settlements on the territory of the modern White Sea area were founded by primitive tribes in the 6th Millennium BC in the Mesolithic period (discovered by archaeologists in the Western part of the district). The next age – Neolithic – the population of the White Sea territory actively developed the sea coast, according to the findings of the sites and rock carvings (petroglyphs), in the suburbs of Belomorsk.

There are more than 200 ancient settlements and the rich archaeological monument of the groups of petroglyphs – “Zalavruga”, “Besovy Sledki” (Devil’s footprints), “Yerpin Pudas” (Yerpin branch of the river), including more than two thousand figures. Today “The Art Gallery” of ancient people of 4-3 millennia BC is the largest collection of petroglyphs in the European part of Russia.

It is difficult to define the origin of the first population of the district. However, it is well-known that in the first Millennium of our era, this area was inhabited by the Finnish tribes: the Saami and the Karelians. The memory of them remained in many geographical names of the area, like Nyukhcha, Verma, Lapino, Sumposad – the names of these settlements have the Saami roots.

In the XIII – XV centuries, the land along the coast of the White Sea was colonized by the Slavic immigrants from Novgorod and Ladoga, North-Eastern principalities of Russia, Muscovy. The settlement of Soroca was named after the River of Soroca, first mentioned in the written documentaries of 1419. In 1429 monks Savvati and Herman – founders of the famous North Monastery, went to the Solovetsky Islands from here. From 1551 the seaside village of Soroca, as written by a monastic chronicler, was granted to the Solovetsky monastery as a fiefdom by the decree of Tsar Ivan IV (the Terrible).

In the XVI – XVII centuries the area within the present Belomorsk district was the border territories of the Russian state. From time to time the area was invaded by neighbouring invaders. To protect the borders of the state the Solovetsky monastery built Burg in 1582-1585 years in the village of Suma (Sumposad now). That Burg became an important Outpost in the North of Russia for century and a half. The monument of national importance like St. Peter and Paul’s Church in Verma (1625 year) belongs to the same period of the Solovetsky Monastery domination.

In 1702 the famous Peter portage “The Tsar Road” of 182 miles appeared here. The legendary route began from the Pomeranian village of Nyukhcha.
In the middle of the XIX century near the settlement of Soroca, at the mouth of the River Vyg, on the right bank of it, the first Sawmill of Mitrophan and Nicholas Belyaevs, manufacturers from St. Petersburg, was built. The company, founded in 1869, operated more than 130 years.

In 1931-1933 on the territory of the region the Belomorsk-Baltic canal was being built. The canal of 227 km length was built in 20 months.

On the 11th of September in 1938 the village of Soroca and working settlement of Solunin were united into one town by the decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. The town received the town status and was named Belomorsk.

During the Great Patriotic war Belomorsk was the frontline capital of the Karelian-Finnish Republic because of the occupation of Petrozavodsk by invaders. From autumn of 1941 to June of 1944 it made a home for the headquarters of the Karelian front, the headquarters of the Partisan movement, the Government of the Republic. The village of Lekhta in the Belomorsk district was the centre of the Partisan troops.

The population of the Belomorsk district is 17.6 thousand people, including 10.3 thousand people in the town (according to the statistics on the 1st of January 2014). Belomorsk, one of the many small towns of Russia, is inseparably linked with the history of the country.

No matter how many eras have changed, no matter how many events have happened here, on this land, as thousands of years ago, there is the water and wind of the White Sea…