Verman lake fortifications

[After some deliberation I’ve removed maps for the fear that their publication may encourage treasure/souvenir hunters.]

Vasily Ivanovich has kindly shared with me this 1943 1:100000 map showing German fortifications in the River Verman area, where the front along the Verman river hadn’t moved from September 1941 to September 1944. German fortifications are indicated as black circles on the second map. They are a bit west from the river because they probably represent the second layer of defence. Pink line is the modern road to Alakurtti. I’m putting this on the list of places to explore once snow melts in the woods and it dries up a bit.

This is what was left there as of 2009:

verman-fortification-1  verman-fortification-2  verman-fortification-3

(click to expand)

No special permission is needed for foreign travellers to go there.

WWII air field by Lake Pinozero

One of WW2 artifacts between Kandalaksha and Polarnye Zori is the WW2 air strip used from 1942 to 1944 as a base for 22 lend-leased P-40 Kittyhauk airplanes.

air-strip-by-polarnye-zori

The air strips appear to be accessible by car during summer months as there are potato plots of Polarnye Zori residents nearby.

Gennady Alexandrov’s trip to Chapoma and Pulonga

The road ends in Kuzomen. This trip by our friend and colleague, local history expert Gennady Alexandrov, was beyond any semblance of a road, which makes me want to share it with you.

map-ter-coast

Chapoma and Pulonga are marked with red arrows.

The trip starts with hiring a heavy truck and crossing the Varzuga River:

crossing-varzuga

100-something kilometers of a gruelling non-road, and you’ll find yourself in Chapoma. more >>

For fans of military history. Route options that do not require permits.

Military history fans are usually drawn to the Rybachy and Sredny peninsulas, and to the island of Kil’din. These places saw intense fighting during WW2. Remnants of fortifications, guns, shells and other artifacts are still abundant.

1Visiting these places for foreign travellers, however, involves considerable difficulties. Rybachy, Sredny, and Kil’din are among pre-border territories, and a foreign citizen needs a permit from FSB to get there. The procedure involves writing a detailed application that takes no less than two months to consider and can be turned down without even an explanation. Attempting to visit these places without a permit may result in a fine and loss of visa, if not an accusation of spying, with all the ugly consequences.

At the moment we are looking into alternative routes on the Kola Peninsula that do not require special permits for fans of military history. more >>

Visitng off-limit to foreigners and “close-to-border” areas

sredny-n-rybachy-2kildinPresently I’ve been studying rather intensely the situation with entry to restricted area for foreign travellers, namely to the Rybachy Peninsula and the island of Kil’din. As expected, encountering a bureaucratic mess. Not clear at the moment as to who is responsible for permits: FSB (a heir to KGB), or Border Patrol, or Federal Migration Services. The situation is further complicated by a very recent change of areas’ status into that of “protected territories”, which may put nature protection people in charge.

If interested in visiting these places watch for news here, under Attention foreign travellers. Updates on the subject should appear there very soon.

If per chance you know someone who recently travelled there, I’d love to speak with them.