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Not yet international: The Ark of Peace Festival took place at the autumn Onego lake

The Ark of Peace Festival took place at the autumn Onego lake
Photo: Alexander Trubin

Finally, a festival was held at the Petrozavodsk Polar Odyssey Maritime Club.

We say “finally” because initially, it was supposed to take place during the City Day celebrations in Petrovskaya Harbor at the mouth of the Neglinka River. In the early days of summer, the club even set up a boat station there but, due to the pandemic, public celebrations were canceled once again. On September 11, the festival finally took place.

According to the president of the Polar Oddysey Club, Viktor Dmitriev, they managed to get approval to hold the event, but it couldn’t take place at the embankment. The celebration was supposed to be centered around sailing but a sandbar — a small island of sand brought by the river flow — had formed at the mouth of the river. Apparently, it was caused by the construction works on the shores. It completely blocked the way even for the smallest rowing boats. And the water level in the Onego lake had dropped considerably this year, which made it impossible for larger ships of the club to go close inshore. The boat station was evacuated with great difficulty.

The holiday, financed by the presidential grant, was a big success. It’s worth mentioning that many families with kids attended the event. Petrozavodsk residents, longing for mass celebrations, enjoyed watching performances of children choirs and dance groups (including those coming from Kondopoga), viewing the exhibitions of the Maritime Museum, walking on the deck and holds of the legendary Pomor boat St.Nicholas, which had been visited by the first President of Russia Boris Yeltsin in 1998. And of course, they took pictures with Peter the Great, the founder of the Russian Navy.

The most popular part of the celebration were boat trips, however short, on the ships of the club, including its flagship, the brigantine Polar Odyssey, the rowboat Yakuts, and even the drekar Rurik – a replica of the Vikings’ warship. The cadets of the White Sea and Onega branch of the Admiral Makarov State University of Maritime and Inland Shipping, as our navigation school is now called, became the crew for the day. As the guys themselves noted, for many of them, it was the first time they rowed or handled mooring lines. Well, the seamanship art is also changing…

The Ark of Peace Festival is an attempt to revive the international sea festivals Blue Onego held in Petrozavodsk in the 1990s, the most large-scale of them took place in 1995. That year more than a dozen old ships from Scandinavian countries and even Great Britain moored on the city’s embankment.

By that time, replicas of the historical ships built by the club had visited 21 countries all across the world. And now, the organizers hope to revive the tradition: after all, the motto of the Ark of Peace Festival — “We are all in the same boat” — means that all people and countries share the same planet.

The Maritime Festival in Petrozavodsk traditionally takes place in the interiors of the Peter’s era.

Text: Alexander Trubin


The museum is a member of the Association of Private and People’s Museums of Russia.


Museum address: Petrozavodsk, Rigachina st., Building 37B
Phone: +7 (8142) 73-32-77
E-mail: Dmitriev-AV73@yandex.ru, seamuseum@mail.ru
Operating hours
From May to September: daily from 10:00 to 17:00
From October to April: from 10:00 to 16:00 by appointment
Ticket price
Preschoolers: free admission.
Adults: 200 rubles.
Students, military personnel and pensioners: 150 rubles.
Schoolchildren: 150 rubles.


Source: polar-odyssey.org