The Republic of Karelia is one of the 86 regions of Russia and one of the main places for outdoor recreation residents of Saint Petersburg and Moscow.
The republic is located on the north and northwest of the country along the Russian Federation’s border with Finland. Karelia boasts pine forests, two huge lakes, beautiful rocky islands, and a collection of low-elevation mountains.
There are 728 named mountains in the republic, the highest of which is Hositunturi (592 m / 1,942 ft), and the most prominent of which is Gora Nuorunen (577 m / 1,893 ft).
— The name “Karelia” derives from that of Karelia, which is a historic and cultural region in southern and eastern Finland as well as western and northern Russia. The Karelians are an ethnic group that traditionally lived throughout this region.
The Karelians speak Karelian, which is an officially recognized minority language in both the Republic of Karelia in Russia and Finland as a whole. Karelian is a Balto-Finnic language and it is similar to Finnish, though it differs slightly in vocabulary, tone, and expression.
The Karelians call their homeland Karjala. However, while the origin of the word is unclear, it’s believed that Karjala derives from the modern Finnish karja, which means “herd.” This may refer to animal husbandry, a common method of subsistence in this region for thousands of years.
Read next my outdoor guide to Republic of Karelia, Russia, on the website of the PeakVisor app — leading AR (augmented reality) app for mountain peaks identification with tens of other great features for outdoor enthusiasts.
Text: Ivan Kuznetsov
Cover photo: people boating in a lake in Ruskeala Mountain Park in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, by Tatiana Moreeva / Unsplash