"The Solovetsky Islands (Russian: Соловецкие острова), or Solovki (Соловки), are an archipelago located in the Onega Bay of the White Sea, Russia. Area: 347 square kilometers (134 sq mi). "
( The Solovki Encyclopedia )
The problem with the study of ancient images and symbols is rather complicated. Labyrinths are widely spread on the Solovetsky archipelago. The majority of researchers consider labyrinths to be the most ancient of symbols. Analogies can be found on all continents, except Antarctica.
According to some calculations a common number of foreign stone labyrinths usually does not exceed 70-80. Some of their locations and numbers are: approximately 12 in Sweden, 4 in Norway, 50 in Finland and 3 - in England. There has also been mention of labyrinths in Denmark and Iceland. Besides there are labyrinths in Kirghizia (pictures on rocks), in Greece (images on ancient coins), in Turkey (on frescos of monasteries), in South America (Naska Desert, gigantic images). The list can be continued. One thing is obvious; these symbols were extremely popular in antiquity.
The designation of labyrinths is not clear yet, dating is disputed, but no one denies the generality of Solovki stone labyrinths with other images of the same sign known in the world. The sacred sense of labyrinths lies in the depth of human history. Legends and references about labyrinths speak about the use of these strange symbols in the earliest rites and rituals.
The labyrinth in Russia is more widely spread in the White Sea region and in Dagestan. White Sea labyrinths which appeared in the scientific lexicon under the name "Lapland (kola) labyrinth" in 1877 are popular in Russia today. The expression northern labyrinths has become widely accepted.
Northern labyrinths are images of spirals, made of small boulder stones on the surface of the ground. Sizes of the labyrinths are different: from 0.9 m to 25.4 ? in diameter, not more than 50 cm high. Dagestan labyrinths, often were used as ornament in architecture of Dagestan and appeared in the scientific lexicon only lately.
The most remarkable among the northern labyrinths are the Solovki Labyrinths. They are the largest in the world. Consisting of 35 known labyrinths, with more than a thousand stone piles and often with symbolic boulder constructions. The Solovki group of Labyrinths is scattered all over the archipelago on a territory of more than 320 km². A substantial number are concentrated on the Big Zayatsky Island, located on the south-west of archipelago. The area of this island is only 1.5 km². The majority of boulder constructions of the Solovki archipelago, 13 labyrinths, more than 850 boulder mounds and tens of other not so identifiable constructions are located in a concentrated area of the Big Zayatsky Island. Usualyy labyrinths are spread more often on islands than on the continent.
Furthermore, the forms of labyrinths (according to classification), can be different. There are 8 types of labyrinths. The most simple are common spirals. Most likely, the form of labyrinth passed its development stages. First it was a circle, after that - spiral-shaped labyrinths and the latest were complex (classical) labyrinths.
Up to this day the chief problem in the study of the of solovki antiquities, are: when, by who and why? The question "who" was briefly answered above. Two remaining questions require more explanation.
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