Smolensk Lakeland National Park

Smolensk Lakeland

Smolensk Lakeland is a national park in the northwest of Smolensk region. It is named after 35 glacial lakes full of fish. The present park is both a nature reserve and a tourist area with equipped recreation sites, camping sites, and hotels. It is visited by hikers, bicycle tourists, fishermen, connoisseurs of the history of the Great Patriotic War and the culture of the ancient Slavs. In addition, the reserve has all the conditions for observing animals in their natural habitat.

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Video: Smolensk Lakeland

History of the National Park

People have settled on the territory of Poozero since time immemorial. Cult red boulders on one of the islands in the lake Dgo, kurgans of the Balts and Krivichi remained from the ancient pagans. The park was created in 1992 to preserve broadleaved forests with unique flora and fauna, lakes and clean rivers of the Western Dvina basin. In 2002 the project received international recognition: Smolensk Lakeland was included in the list of UNESCO biosphere reserves. In 2014 the park joined the Belarusian program for restoration of the bison population in the central part of the country. Infrastructure over these decades has been slowly but surely developing, although even now the conditions for recreation on the shores of Smolensk lakes are far from ideal: there are problems with communication, ATMs, medical care and food.

Lakes of the national park

The main recreational areas of the park are arranged near the glacial hollow lakes. Lake Baklanovsky is the deepest, up to 28 m, and the most beautiful lake is Sapsho: it is often compared to Lake Baikal. There are 6 islands with ancient tombs on it. The western part of the lake was adjacent to the possessions of the famous traveler Przewalski. In the northern part there is a shallow spit, where you can walk waist-deep in water for a long time. You can swim in the lake in mid-summer – from late June to early August, but in other seasons, the nature of Poozero is very spectacular. Crimson Island is especially beautiful in autumn when deciduous forests are colored in red tones. Near Love Island, or Gorokhovy, there is a boat station where you can rent boats and catamarans. The most unusual lake of the reserve is the Dead Lake: in the reservoir, located right in the forest, there are absolutely no fish.

Recuperation in Smolensk Lakeland

In the village of Przhevalskoye, the administrative center of the park, a sanatorium has been built to treat diseases of the stomach, liver, and endocrine system using local mineral waters. In disorders of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system help brine and mud lake Mutnoe. Rest, treatment and cosmetic services in Przhevalskoye are not too expensive. Guests are placed in the building or guest houses, they are provided with meals in the dining room. All the time on the territory of the sanatorium they have to wear identification bracelets, and guests can be carried out only for a fee of 100 rubles per person.

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Animal and plant life of the reserve

At the end of March in Smolensk Lakeland the snow melts and, together with frogs, vipers crawl out of their hiding places. In early April, hedgehogs wake up, storks and gray cranes arrive. In the end of April, when the leaves of linden and hazel-trees unfold and the first mushrooms, morels and lady’s trumpets, appear in the reserve, fully-fledged spring is in full swing. At the same time, vigilant tourists need to worry about protection against ticks. You can watch the bison all year round. Their enclosure is located near the village of Gorodishche. Four adults were brought from Belarus, two more bison were born in the reserve. They usually avoid humans but are guaranteed to come out to the feeding troughs at 10:00 and 18:00.

Fishing and other entertainments

Until June 10, all fishing in Poozero is done with a fishing rod from the shore. After that time, spearfishing, spinning, and paddleboat fishing are allowed. Crayfish are caught from July 1, after molting, with crayfish traps. According to the type of catch, the lakes are divided into 4 groups. The bream is found in Sapsho, Baklanovsky, Dgo, crucian carp – in small lakes, only perch – in Strechnoi, perch with roach and pike – in Petrakovsky. The most diverse aquatic fauna is on lake Dgo, in it bream, perch and pike are especially well caught. On the lake Rytom, there are a lot of bream and redfin. For underwater hunting is perfectly adapted lake Chistik with clear water. From May to September there is a canoe trip on 4 lakes and diving tours are organized on weekends.

Information for tourists

Weather conditions in Smolensk Lakeland are unstable: in winter you can expect both Siberian frosts and hints of thaw. In summer it is either hot, or rainy and cool; since April thunderstorms begin and the wind direction often changes. Ticks are especially plentiful from May to July. For the majority of guests parking of personal vehicles is paid, from 150 per day, but if you register on the territory of the reserve, you can leave your car for free. Communications from the country’s leading mobile operators are available intermittently. Medical care can be found in large villages if a paramedic is on site. The nearest hospital is in the town of Demidov.

Tickets to the park

Visiting the park is paid – 100 rubles per person, with a 50% discount for residents of Smolensk, pensioners and disabled people of group III. Free are children under 14 years old, invalids of the I and II group with accompanying persons, inhabitants of villages of the nearest region, large families and scientist-researchers. Purchase of ticket is compulsory even for persons with disabilities, they can check it at any time. The ticket offices are located in Przhevalskoye village in the directorate and in Smolensk in the park office on Pamfilova Street. Here you can buy the souvenirs made of wood and birch bark.

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How to get there

It is about 120 kilometers from Smolensk to Przhevalsky, the center of the reserve. You can take a bus 3-4 times a day from the local bus station through the town of Demidov. Travelers who prefer a private car, it is more convenient to get through Smolensk and Demidov. Reserve staff warns that guests from Moscow, trying to turn to Smolensk to Dukhovschina, risk getting stuck in the swamps. The only passable road is through Demidov, located 40 kilometers southwest of Przhevalsky.

Where to stay

On the shore of Lake Baklanovsky there is a two-storey Environmental Education Center with 3-4-bed rooms and conveniences on the floor, designed for 80 guests at a time. Cost of accommodation is 400-500 rubles per day, in the highly demanded double room with a toilet and a shower – 1000 rubles. Bathhouse is heated for extra charge. Dining room works only by prior request. You can rent barbecues, boats, bicycles and skis.

In a camping summer camp on Baklanovsky it is possible to rent a wagon. Children under 7 years old stay at the camp for free. In the village of Petrakovo you can rent a guest house for 10 people for 3000 rubles a day. You can stay in Przhevalskoye itself in “Rodnik” hotel with conveniences in your room for the price of 1600 rubles per day with breakfast and free parking. Owners of private houses willingly give rooms for rent.

Rest in the countryside

Camping in the recreation area is strictly prohibited and cooking and pitching tents is allowed only in the specially designated areas. Picnic sites with toilets, rain shelters, benches, barbecues, and garbage disposal sites may be rented for 150 rubles. Sites are in demand, they are often rented for 1-2 days or a few weeks for corporate events and professional camps. Visitors should check the rental schedule posted on the park’s website beforehand, as outsiders are not allowed on picnics at this time.

Proximity to the reserve dictates its own rules for recreation. You can buy firewood on the spot, catch fish during a limited time, and walk your dog on a leash. They pick berries and mushrooms only for themselves, not for sale. Hunting, use of motorboats, passage to the reserved zone is forbidden.

Smolensk Poozero Tours

The main type of sports activities in the reserve is walking along the ecological footpaths which are from 1.5 to 4 km long. The longest route “To the sources” that tells about the history of the Slavic tribe of Krivichy begins in the village Stary Dvor and ends at the observation point on Sapsho Island. There are trails called “In the kingdom of the brown bear” and “Visit to the beavers” devoted to the habits of local animals. The latter runs from the village of Boroviki and the “Chaika” camping site to the muddy Rotten Lake, where you can see beaver huts and dams. Independent walking along the trails is free, with a guide – from 100 rubles per person. Many-hour tours are ordered by organized groups: 5 hour sightseeing tour of the reserve or 7-hour route “Along the front line” costs from 3-5 thousand rubles. In winter hiking on snowshoes is possible.

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Cultural and sports entertainments in the park and surroundings

In addition to fishing and swimming, guests of Smolensk Lakeland will be offered to visit the rope park and the equestrian yard in Przhevalskoye. Here you can not only ride horses, but also learn to ride as professional riders. In the village Anosinke there is a museum of birch bark created by local enthusiasts. In mid-July, the park hosts a festival of re-enactors “Sloboda Partisanskaya”. In the Baklanovsky Center for Environmental Education there is an exhibition “Wetlands”. The cost of the ticket is 100 rubles.

Smolensk Lakeland

Smolensk Lakeland

Smolensk Lakeland is a beautiful national park located in Smolensk region. Smolensk land is a land of many lakes. Hence the name of the national park. Local reservoirs are mostly of glacial origin, and the landscape of their shores is extremely picturesque. There are 35 small and large reservoirs, and each of them has its own unique beauty and peculiar “character”.

Smolensk Lakeland National Park was founded in 1992 to preserve the natural uniqueness of this forest reserve. The park occupies about 3% of the area of Smolensk region. Four-fifths of its area are occupied by thick forests that harbor 55 species of plants from the middle belt of Russia that are listed as rare and endangered in the Smolensk region Red Book. Ten of them can be found in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

Smolensk Lakeland

Prices in 2022 in the Smolensk Lakeland

Visiting fee for the national park (one-time fee):

  • adults – 150 rubles (the period of validity of the permit to visit – 10 days),
  • Residents of Smolensk region, pensioners and disabled people of group III – 150 rubles (valid for 90 days).

The following categories of visitors have the right to visit the park for free:

  • children under the age of 17,
  • Persons with disabilities of groups I and II with an accompanying person,
  • veterans,
  • Heroes of the USSR and Russia,
  • citizens who live on the territory of Poozero and their relatives,
  • volunteers,
  • large families.

Bridge of Love

  • park sightseeing tour (5 hours) – 5000 rubles per group,
  • thematic excursion along the ecological trail for groups of 5-15 people. – 250 rubles for adults, 100 rubles for children,
  • excursion on an arboretum for groups from 5 to 15 persons. – 250 rubles for adults, 100 rubles for children,
  • Excursion along the military-historical route “Along the front line” for groups of 4 people (4 hours) – 550 rubles per person
  • Excursion to the Dead Lake for groups from 5 to 15 people. – 350 rubles for adults, 150 rubles for children,
  • Excursion to Wetlands” – 250 rubles for adults, 100 rubles for children,
  • Lessons and master-classes – 200 rubles for 1 person,
  • camping at the equipped area – 150 rubles for adults, 50 rubles for children from 7 to 14 years old,
  • Boat and bike rent – 150 rubles/hour,
  • ice skates for rent – 50 rubles/hour,
  • charcoal grill rental – 100 rubles per hour,
  • Rent of gazebo with barbeque – 750 rubles per hour,
  • car parking: 150 rubles.
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Smolensk Lakeland

Lakes of the national park

There are 35 large and small lakes in Smolensk Lakeland. The largest of them is the beautiful Sapsho lake with the area of 304 hectares and maximum depth of 18.7 metres. The village of Przhevalskoye, named after the famous traveler and explorer who lived there, is built on its shores. In the middle of Sapsho, there are 6 islands, and on the west shore there is an observation deck with an observation view. In addition to the unique beauty of the lake is also densely inhabited by different species of fish, including bream, pikeperch, roach, tench, redfin and many others, with about 20 species.

Sapsho

Another amazing lake Chistik is distinguished by the extraordinary transparency of the water. The maximum depth of the lake reaches 11 meters, and the average depth is about 4-6 meters. Another peculiarity of the lake is that the water comes to it exclusively through groundwater. In Chistika there are about 10 species of fish and many crayfish.

The deepest lake not only of the Lakeshore, but of the whole Smolensk region is Lake Baklanovskoe with a maximum depth of 29 meters, a slightly smaller lake Rytoye with a maximum depth of 22.5 meters, and the longest lake is Lake Dgo, almost 5 kilometers long. Lakes Dolgoye, Krugloe, Glubokoye and Gniloye are notable because they contain mollusks, which are very rare in the world. In the lake with the distinctive name of Mutnoe, medicinal mud is extracted and used in the sanatorium. Other lakes of the park are also beautiful, rich in fish and have picturesque surroundings.

Baklanovskoe

Animal World

The animal world of Poozero is rich and diverse, there are predators, ungulates, rodents. Elk and wild boars, bears, wolves and foxes, lynxes, hares and beavers, ermines and weasels and many others are found in abundance. Birds also live here freely and in great numbers – the finch, great tit, black-headed and brown-headed tits, ladybird, linnet, springer, green chaffinch, black-headed and garden warblers, wood pintail, mottled flycatcher, gray flycatcher, robin, speckled dogtail, robin, white-fronted, songbird, blackbird and others. Among water and near-water inhabitants – great grebe, mallard, goldeneye, coot, gray heron, great bittern, lake and mute gulls, black tern, snipe. Among the rarer ones are white-tailed eagle, osprey, snake eagle, golden eagle, black stork, white grouse. And of course, in the region of lakes is a huge number of different species of fish .

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Smolensk Lakeland

Tourism

Smolensk Lakeland has created all conditions for eco-tourism. There are several eco-trails 1.5 to 4 kilometers long to get acquainted with the national park – To the sources, In the kingdom of the brown bear, Old legends, Visit to beavers and Poozero without barriers. For a deeper acquaintance with the park there are a variety of educational tours through the territory at any time of the year. To move around the park during the tour you will be offered different ways – on foot, by car, bicycles, boats and even on snowshoes. For lovers of the underwater world are organized unique diving tours.

In addition, local lakes attract fishermen. And fishing here is special, because the beauty of the surroundings and the variety of fish species is a real pleasure. However, it should be noted that here there are certain rules when fishing, which should not be violated.

For guests of the park there are many options for accommodation – tourist sites, camping, guest houses and houses in the private sector.

Smolensk Lakeland

Entertainment and events

Summer in Smolensk Lakeland is a fertile time for recreation. Warm waters of the rivers and lakes are good for swimming from the beginning of summer to the end of August. The autumn gifts of the forest, ripe berries and edible mushrooms in abundance please the visitors of the park. In winter, you can also find time for entertainment, among which sledding, skiing and ice fishing are especially in demand.

The information center in Przhevalskoye village will help you get all the information you need to visit the park, including souvenirs and paper reference books. And on the shore of Lake Baklanovsky park guests can visit the ecological center “Baklanovo”. where you can get a lot of information about Poozero, its forests and lakes, flora and fauna, learn its history and much more.

Smolensk Lakeland

There are several museums in the village Przhevalskoye :

  • The house-museum of the Russian traveler N. M. Przhevalsky,
  • museum of Partisan glory,
  • museum of woodcarving “Carved whimsies”,
  • vernissage “Alone with the tree”,
  • museum of birch bark.

Horseback riding lovers will find it interesting to visit the Przewalski Horse Yard, and for children, its territory is equipped with a rope park with trails of varying degrees of difficulty.

Smolensk Lakeland

On the territory of the park there are also holy springs with fonts, which you can use for free. One of them, the Holy Well healing mineral water spring, according to experts, helps get rid of many ailments. This water stays fresh for a long time and has cleansing and wound healing properties.

In addition, the park is a permanent venue of the All-Russian contest “Fisherman’s kitchen”. It is not only a good place to catch fish, but also to sing. Bards come here for their annual festival “The Zori Baklanovsky” .

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