Lake Valdai is one of the cleanest on the planet. It happened as a result of the melting of glaciers. Today it is a popular tourist destination, surrounded by the Valdai National Park.
Lake Valdai is located in the Novgorod region near the small town of the same name. This is one of the cleanest and most transparent lakes in Russia. Scientists compare it to Lake Baikal and officially recognized it as a natural monument. The reservoir is located on the heights of the Valdai National Reserve.
The height of the lake above sea level is 192 m, the average depth is 12 m, and the maximum depth is 60 m. Valdai Lake is covered with ice from the beginning of December to the first days of May.
The sloping shores and stretches are evidence that the lake appeared during the melting of glaciers. According to one of the legends, a young man of amazing beauty lived on the shore - the blacksmith Valda. Every day he got up at sunrise and went to the lake to wash. As he bent down to draw in the pure moisture, his face reflected off the surface. At this time, water also woke up. Seeing the young man, she began to worry and splash out, repeating "Valda, Valda, Valda …". Therefore, people from the hoists call this water Valdoya.
The first inhabitants of the area were the Finno-Ugric tribes. They gave the name to Valdai, which translates as "life-giving water." The first mentions date back to 1495.
Cradle of waterways of Russia
The national park is located at the junction of the Valdai Upland and the North-Western Lowland within the Great Divide. The first serves as a continental divide for a vast territory. Famous rivers originate from its spurs:
- Western Dvina and some others.
Glacial lakes also have a special value in Valdai. These include Udin, Velie, Seliger, Borovno and Valdai. The relative proximity of the upper reaches of the rivers and a large number of lakes led to the fact that even in ancient times, convenient waterways and portages were organized here for the migration of peoples across Eastern Europe.
A large number of animals, birds, fish and berries have always attracted teams of hunters and fishermen. There were also numerous deposits of flint - a working raw material that was used by ancient people.
Valdai Lake has been called “the cradle of Russian rivers”. It is the beginning of the basins of the three seas and one of the main sources of fresh water in our country. The reservoir is one of the ten cleanest lakes in the world, has a unique undulating relief, a large number of islets.
Features of Valday
The lake has a small number of springs and a tributary. The current is almost imperceptible, and the waters themselves are completely renewed approximately once every 50 years. This stability allows the underwater world to develop well.
Due to the springs, the water in the reservoir is transparent, you can easily see the bottom while walking on a boat. However, the upper layers of water do not warm up, so only extreme sports lovers can afford to swim here. Various types of fish live in the waters:
- crucian carp;
- ruff and others.
On the shores you can find animals and birds listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation. These include the black stork, eagle owl, golden eagle, snake eagle. Local forests are densely populated with animals. You can see serious predators and ungulates in them. There are also representatives of weasels.
Rest on Lake Valdai
On the coastal zone there are tourist camps, campings and children's camps. Many of them offer hiking, cycling and walks in the local forests. Closer to autumn, it becomes possible to pick berries and mushrooms. Popular entertainments include boat trips and rafting. There are excellent sandy beaches along the coast. Almost all of them today belong to tourist complexes and recreation centers.
National status the park restricts the use of motor boats and scooters. Thanks to this, the rest on the lake is calm and pleasant. For those who came to the reservoir for the first time, it will be interesting to get acquainted with the local sights.
What attractions are in Valday
One of the most interesting places is the Iversky Monastery, built in the 17th century. In 1654, the monastery was transferred to the possession of the island, lake and other lands. At the beginning of the 20th century, the monastery was transformed into a labor artel. The revival of the monastery began only in the 90s of the last century.
In 1995, a museum of bells was opened in the building of the Great Martyr Catherine. The church was built in the 18th century. The building itself is made in the form of a classic rotunda. Guests can learn the history of the bells, look at various casting techniques. It is allowed to call on your own. The holy springs are also interesting for tourists. These include:
- "Sokolovskie keys";
- "Mshenskie Springs".
The reservoir has about 20 islands. The largest is Ryabinovy; it covers an area of 119 hectares. It got its name due to the large number of growing mountain ash, which was a cult tree among the Finno-Ugric tribes. The island has a gorgeous forest. The Ryabinushka walking trail will be interesting for tourists.
The second largest is Muravyiny Island. It covers an area of 42, 4 hectares, has its own internal lake, connected by a short channel with the Valdai. The water temperature is always several degrees higher in it. Previously, the island was called Dark, because according to one of the legends a sorcerer lived on it.
Selvitsky is connected with Ryabinovy Island by a bridge. Its size is 11 hectares. It houses the Iversky Bogorodsky Svyatoozersky Monastery.
How to get to the lake?
The nearest airport to the reservoir is located in St. Petersburg. Pulkovo is located 307 km from Valday. Due to the considerable distance, most tourists prefer rail and bus connections.
There are two trains running from Moscow. In summer, you can use the train that follows the route "Sukhum-Pskov". The rest of the time, the Pskov branded train runs. It departs from the Leningradsky railway station and reaches Valday in about 5, 5 hours.
You can also get there by bus. From St. Petersburg they leave twice a day from the bus station. There is no direct bus connection with Moscow. The easiest way to get there is by car, covering a distance of about 370 km. Moving along the Leningradskoe highway, you will spend about 5 hours on the road.
In conclusion, we note that you can choose any summer month for recreation, but at this time there are many pilgrims and ordinary tourists on the lake. At this time, various festivals are held on the coastal zone. For example, in August you can attend the festival of author's songs "Nord-West", and at the end of July - at the bike festival "Capital meetings".