A brief history of Shun'ga Village Karelia

Recently Shungite is getting widely known throughout the world for its many benefits it can offer us.

People know it is found in Russia, but I thought I would focus a bit more on the origins of the name.

Shungite is found in the Karelia region of Russia, on the western border of Finland.

Russia and Finland have fought many wars over the region. You can read about it a bit more in the history blog here.

There is a village in Karelia called Shun’ga. This is where Shungite got its name as there are enormous Shungite deposits nearby, especially the famous Zazhoginsky deposit.

It is located in the Medvezhyegorsk district of Karelia on a peninsula called Zaonezhie and is close to the huge Lake Onega. It is one of the oldest villages in the Karelia region and still has some quite well preserved historical buildings.

The region enjoys a balmy summer average temperature of 21 degrees Celsius and a cold -12 degrees Celsius in Winter. Interestingly, the most rain days are in the summer months of June, July August with an average of 17-18 days of rain.

The first mention of the Shun’ga village was in 1375. The village is mentioned in a waterway certificate (Chelmuzsky waterway certificate of 1375). The area in the 14th century was sparsely populated so there is not much to be found about the village.

Due to its location between the White Sea and central Russia, Shun’ga was an important transit point in the 15th century for salt from the White Sea. The village was also well known amongst the people of the north western area of Russia as having one of the largest fairs in Russia – the Shun’ga Fair.

By the 16th century Shun’ga was a relatively large commercial village with its own pogost (a church with a graveyard). Unfortunately, this is not there any longer. The main commodity that was traded by the villagers was linen cloth and canvases woven from the flax plant.

The railways came in the 19th century and that spelt the end of Shung’a being an important trade route. It was bypassed with the route going from St Petersburg via Petrozavodsk to the port at Murmansk. The village stagnated, the fair was no longer viable and the population drifted away.

However, a stone that had tremendous healing properties was discovered nearby in the 18th century. It quickly gained prominence as a healing and purifying stone but it wasn’t until 1877 when it was mentioned in a mineral catalogue that the stone was named after the Shun’ga village.

Shungite was born.

Today Shun’ga is still a small village with about 600 people and only a handful of streets. There is a large elite Shungite vein on the ground that has become a local landmark and is a state-protected sight.

Shungite is respected by locals as a talisman and protector.

I hope this short blog gives a little bit of an insight into the area where Shungite is found.

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