January 30, 2015

1428 RUSSIA (Republic of Karelia) - Cape Besov Nos petroglyphs

In addition to the Pogost Kizhi, Lake Onega has another well known and very interesting site, placed on Cape Besov Nos (Devil's nose), on the eastern coast of the lake: about 1200 petroglyphs scattered over the 20 km area. The engravings are 1-2 mm deep, depict animals, people, boats and geometrical shapes of circular and crescent shapes, and date back to 4th-2nd millennia BC. The main part of this petroglyphs have been found at the western sector of the site. The bedrock here has many color anomalies, cracks and upheavals which makes the place very attractive. Descriptions from previous centuries tell about the hollow sound coming from the inside of the rock when working around it. One peculiarity of Besov Nos carvings is also the abundance of unique petroglyphs. Also common figures here have unique features which has brought on still more discussion about the meaning.

The central figure of the panel is the Devil (in Russian: Bes), which has given the contemporary name to the cape, peninsula and to the village on the hill. Thus it has been known to local inhabitants for a very long time. Unfortunately none of the legends connected with the carvings have survived. The petroglyphs have been known also to the monks of the nearby Muromski monastery about 30 km to the south. This was established to help fight the "pagan" beliefs and, also, to establish Christianity in the region. The monks have constructed an orthodox cross on the left hand of Devil christening it in such a way some 500 years ago.

About the stamps
The first four stamps, depicting the rabbit (0.25; 0,10; and 0,15 RUB) and the lynx (2.50 RUB), are part of a definitive series about which I wrote here.

The last stamp is part of a series depicting the mascots of XXII Olympic and XI Paralympic Games in Sochi 2014 (all with the same face values, 20 RUB):
• Leopard
• Hare (Zayka)
• Polar Bear (Mishka) - it's on the postcard
• Snowflake and Ray

Western Site at Besov Nos, by Väino Poikalainen - helsinki.fi

Sender: Max Maksimov (direct swap)
Sent from Petrozavodsk (Republic of Karelia / Russia), on 28.01.2014
Photo: B. Konanova

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