Monastery cape or “Japan”

By Marina Bevko

Monastic Cape is one of my favorite places in Kandalaksha.

Locals call it simply “Japan”. No one knows for sure where this name came from. “Japan” is part of Kandalaksha surrounded by Niva River on the one side, the Sea on the other and the hills with the forest on the third.

This place is of major historical importance. The first aborigines of the area were the Lapps. The Pomors settled here later. In the middle of the 16th century they founded here the church and the monastery, which were burnt in 1589 by the Swedish. During that invasion there were killed 450 inhabitants of Kandalaksha. They were buried near the monastery. The church and the monastery were destroyed and restored several times afterwards until the monastery was closed in 1742. Till present nothing was left from it or from the church but the foundation. Upon it is a wooden cross to mark the territory. Near it is the ancient pomor cemetery.

That’s not the end of the sights. Another one is the monument to the victims of occupation 1918-1920. If you remember there was a Civil War in Russia in 1917-1922. The British allies offered to defend Murmansk region from German & Finnish attacks. Thus, in Kola landed English, French & American ships. But instead they captured all communities including Kandalaksha robbing, arresting or shooting the civilians. Those were hard times for our ancestors.

As for the modern sights these are the remnants of the wooden hotel. It was almost built in 1990s but due to lack of money the construction works were stopped. Whatever, this hotel perfectly fits the scenery.
Locals like to spend their free time in “Japan”. Do whatever you want: walk around, study history, sunbathe, swim, have barbecue, fish, climb the hills or pick up mushrooms and berries. So many things in one place!

A film about “Japan” >>

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