Karelian petroglyphs were granted the status of the UNESCO World Heritage Site

This happened today, on the 28th of July, at the assembly of the international committee of the UNESCO. The meeting was addressed by the Head of the Republic, Artur Parfenchikov.

Today, in the framework of the 44th session of the World Heritage Committee, it was decided to include the petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea in the main list of the UNESCO. The meeting was held online and chaired by China.

All the representatives of the voting countries noted the attention paid by the Karelian Government to the recommendations of the international committee of the ICOMOS, and acknowledged the unique value of the petroglyphs of Lake Onega and the White Sea.

In his speech, Artur Parfenchikov reminded that Karelia is famous for its cultural and natural attractions carefully preserved according to the ancient traditions.

− One of such monuments of unique primitive rock art are the petroglyphs of Karelia, − he said.

The Head of the Republic thanked the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for its decision and, considering that the 45th session of the Committee is scheduled to be held in Kazan, invited all participants to visit Karelia to get acquainted with the monuments of primeval rock art and the distinctive cultural heritage of our region.

− The inclusion of the Karelian petroglyphs in the World Heritage List is an important event for our republic as well as for the whole country. This will certainly contribute to the prestige of Karelia in Russia and at the international level, - commented Arthur Parfenchikov on his social network page. He also emphasized that the republic would face serious work to implement the recommendations of the international committee, which would require joint efforts of a large number of specialists.

On the territory of Karelia, there are two largest collections of rock carvings with more than 3,200 drawings. The petroglyphs are located on the eastern coast of Lake Onega in the Pudozh region and in the lower reaches of the Vyg river near Belomorsk. The petroglyphs of Karelia are unique examples of primitive monumental rock art and are among the most important ancient cultural and historical sights of Northern Europe.

Since 2016 and with the support of the Ministry of Culture of Russia and the Institute of Cultural and Natural Heritage named after D.S. Likhachev, the Republic of Karelia has carried out large-scale work to promote the Karelian petroglyphs into the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The UNESCO heritage status involves working-out of long-term development plans for the territory. The Directorate of Specially Protected Natural Areas has established a structural unit for permanent presence at the site of the Onega petroglyphs. The funds have been allocated to strengthen the material and technical facilities and to improve the territory.

The development of the “Belomor Petroglyphs” complex was included in the individual program of social and economic development of Karelia. A protective pavilion has been built over the cluster of petroglyphs "Besovy Sledki", a new pathway leads to Zalavruge, the main place of the rock carvings. It is also planned to build a visitor centre, a hotel for tourists’ accommodation, a café, and a bridge over the Kislyi Pudas River.