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Ruskeala Marble Canyon (Quarry)

In 1998, the Marble Canyon was included in the list of cultural heritage of the Russian Federation as an outstanding monument of the industrial culture of Russia in the late XVIII — early XX centuries

According to reputable historians and researchers of the region, marble blocks,
forming the walls of the legendary quarry for almost 2 billion years, and they once, in the Proterozoic era, laid the bottom of a prehistoric sea filled with water. Moreover, the thickness of the layer of marble belt on which the quarry stands is at least 500 meters in depth and extends 15 kilometers in width. Marble Canyon is a unique man-made formation, with an extensive system of adits and shafts, which are laid directly in a single array of marble. There are no more analogues in Europe.

The Swedes were the first to develop the quarry at the beginning of the 17th century. Marble was mined for construction purposes . For some time, development was suspended. At the beginning of the reign of Catherine II, already in the 18th century, the quarries discovered by Pastor Apopeus began to be developed again. The first Russian developments were led by Captain Kozhin, who was advised by Italian experts. Today, the length of the quarry from north to south is 460 meters, width — from 50 to 100 meters. The distance from the highest point of the side of the quarry to its bottom is over 50 meters. The transparency of the water reaches 15-18 meters.

Marble from this quarry was used in the construction of the most beautiful and significant buildings of St. Petersburg, its palace suburbs. He faced St. Isaac’s Cathedral, laid the floors of the Kazan Cathedral, made the windowsills of the Hermitage, framed the windows of the Marble Palace and the facade of the Mikhailovsky Castle, as well as the underground halls of the Primorskaya and Ladoga stations of the St. Petersburg metro.

From it the columns of the Oryol Gate and the Chesmenskaya column in Tsarskoye Selo, milestones along the Tsarskoye Selo and Petergof roads were created.

At the end of the XIX century, when marble gradually began to go out of fashion, the scale of stone mining decreased slightly, and St. Petersburg architects began to more willingly use granite, which was mined in the Vyborg area, in decoration. However, the Finns, who were Russian subjects at that time, even then found use in marble chips, they began to use it to bleach their famous paper. After Finland gained independence, marble mining again went on an industrial basis. Slabs made of Ruskeala marble were used to decorate the walls of the Helsinki Savings Bank, as well as floors in the buildings of the city hospital and one of the restaurants in Sortavala.

The walls of the old quarry are penetrated by a whole system of underground workings — pits and drifts, connected by vertical shafts. The total length of the mine workings is several kilometers. As a result of the excavation of a large amount of rock, the quarry began to fill with groundwater.

Some researchers believe that the quarry was flooded during the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, when the retreating Finns let in water from one of the branches of the Tohmajoki River, which flows nearby. As a result of this, most of the industrial adits laid in the marble thickness were under water, and only one of them is today above its level.

The park has many interesting objects. One of them is the “Italian” quarry, where layers of evenly cut marble are clearly visible, both directly in the mountain, and in the form of rejected and abandoned huge stone blocks. Italian — because the first developments here were carried out with the involvement of Italian specialists and technologies.

There is also a marble pool carved into the «floor» and filled with water. The brick pipes of kilns for roasting marble chips (XIX century) are clearly visible, somewhat similar to minarets. You can come close to them, and even look inside.

Marble quarry is beautiful at any time of the year. Fans of history and walks in the fresh air can spend more than one day here. And for us, a quarry reveals amazing underwater secrets, accessible only to divers


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