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Defense constructions from WWII in Medvezhegorsk

Since the Middle Ages, over 500 objects of war history are situated on the territory of the Republic of Karelia. Many of them, due to their historical value and attractive qualities, might successfully be used for tourist-excursion purposes. Most of the monuments refer to the WWII period and are a part of common War History of Russia and Finland.

Elaboration and development of international wartime historical tourist routes is worthwhile both for Karelia and Finland. Original defense constructions, fragments of field fortifications, battle fields, samples of wartime military equipment, memorials and monuments can be the objects of demonstration on these routes.

One such object that presents interest for use in tourism, a system of unique military engineering construction, might become the complex of Finnish defense fortifications from the WWII. It is a system of unique military-engineering constructions. Even after being partially destroyed after the war, the Medvezhegorsk fortification produces a great impression by its size and nontraditional methods of construction.

2002. Medvezhegorsk
Medvezhegorsk
© Olga Vlasova

Cut into the rocks and set in concrete two and three-storied fireboxes, hangars for the machinery, premises for the personnel and other constructions are connected by trenches, armored hoods leading outside. All structures were equipped with filter-ventilation installations, plumbing, and a central heating system.

Unfortunately, the role of these Medvezhegorsk defense constructions in the war is not studied enough. For the first time, materials related to these questions were presented at the international seminar that took place September 18, 2003, in Medvezhegorsk.

2002. Medvezhegorsk
Medvezhegorsk
© Olga Vlasova

The organizers of the seminar included the State Center of Historical and Cultural Monument Protection and Use (Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Karelia), Administration of Local Self-Government of Medvezhegorsk Region, and the Medvezhegorsk City Museum. The aim of the seminar was to discuss the questions of preservation and use of defense constructions of Medvezhegorsk and turning them into a museum.

From the Finnish side, famous specialists in the field of War History, fortification constructions, and building and museum use of War History objects took the floor at the seminar.

September 18, 2003. Medvezhegorsk
Medvezhegorsk
The international seminar "Defense constructions from WWII in Medvezhegorsk"

From the Karelian side, the historians from Petrozavodsk State University, Insitute of Language, Literature, and History of the Karelian Scientific Centre of the Russian Academy of Science, Monument Preservation and Museum Science specialists took part in the seminar.

The Director of Medvezhegorsk Museum, S.I.Koltyrin, held an excursion to the Medvezhegorsk fortification area; after the excursion the participants of the seminar agreed unanimously that the objects presented both historical and museum value. It was also stated that the objects had been preserved relatively well.

At the conclusion of the seminar it was decided that coöperation between the Finnish and Karelian specialists in the field of use of war history objects should continue.


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