The labyrinths on Bolshoi Zayatsky

On the Russian island of Bolshoy Zayatsky there are 14 labyrinths that are some 3000 years old.

bolshoi zayatski labyrinth

On the island of Bolshoi Zayatsky there is a group of 14 labyrinths. Bolshoi Zayatsky is one of the Solovetsky Islands in Arkhangelsk Oblast, in the far north of Russia. It is estimated that the labyrinths are 2500 to 3000 years old.

Labyrinths like the ones found on Bolshoi Zayatsky are also known as Troytown (also called Trojaburg, Tröborg, Trojeburg, Trojeborg, Trojenborg, Trojeberg, or Trojeborgar). These type of labyrinths are most commonly found in Scandinavia, Finland, and Russia.

The precise original purpose of these ancient labyrinths remains uncertain. One prevailing theory posits that they potentially served as navigational aids for traversing the realm beyond (N. Vinogradov). Alternative scholarly viewpoints suggest that they might have functioned as sites for festive gatherings. Nevertheless, a consensus among the majority of researchers underscores the religious and ritualistic significance of these labyrinths.

Beyond the labyrinthine structures, Bolshoi Zayatsky Island boasts over 850 clusters of boulders, accompanied by various other arrangements of stones, including a stone emblem featuring radiating spokes, possibly symbolizing the sun. All of these labyrinths are concentrated within a half-square kilometer area on the island’s western sector. In contrast, a vast assemblage of stone formations atop Sopka Hill in the island’s eastern region lacks any labyrinthine designs.

Across the expanse of the Solovetsky Islands, wherein Bolshoi Zayatsky finds its place, approximately 35 labyrinths, locally referred to as “vavilons” (Babylons), can be found.

Ostrov Bol'shoy Zayatskiy, Oblast Archangelsk, Russia, 164070
64.970769, 35.674370
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