The myths of Karelia: who is Hiisi and where to find him?
- Posted by: Enjoy Russian
- Category: Interesting Russia
Russian North is a region where the “fairytale-reality” lines are blurred
Once you leave Petrozavodsk (the capital city of Karelia) and head off to Western Karelia, closer to Finland, you start noticing Finnish names of lakes and rivers, villages and mountains, springs and waterfalls. Every single spot has its own stories behind it and the place near the village Hiidenselga is not an exception. Enjoy Russian school students usually do not go there, choosing some other popular touristic routes. But if you feel you are more a traveler than a tourist, you will definitely like this place.
Contradictory facts about the forest spirit Hiisi
According to the legend, the name of the village – Hiidenselga (about 230 km from Petrozavodsk) – is translated as Hiisi‘s back. On the one hand it’s clear that Hiisi is a forest creature who just settled down in this village. He came out of Ladoga lake and has hidden his head into the mountain leaving only his back on the surface. But on the other hand, in Baltic-Finnish folklore Hiisi could be not just a harmless creature. Some say he was a giant, other say he was a troll, who was angry about almost everything he saw and could steal something from people.
A place in Karelia where the spirits dance
All in all, Hiidenselga is worth visiting.
- Hiisis‘ back is one of the greatest viewpoints from which you can take a look at the Northern part of Ladoga, see famous Vaalam monastery, skjers of Ladoga.
- Easy way there. Getting up to the hill (which is about 200 m high) will take you about 10 minutes.
- No tourists around. You just enjoy the rocks, pines and forest paths as they are, without fences, posters etc.
- You can get into the deep dungeon here, but only the locals know where is the entrance. So prior to your trip to the hill ask someone in the village to show you the way.