Karelia, Northwest Russia
Karelia – the land north and east of St. Petersburg up to the White Sea and along the Finnish border – has been fought over for several thousand years. Originally settled by Finno-Ugric people who left petroglyphs and ancient rock labyrinths on the beaches, the northern lake-filled land was coveted by the Slavs for its furs and ivory, its copper and iron. Many people here still speak a Finnish language, and some are part of an indigenous group called the Veps, a forest people living between lakes Ladoga and Onega. The Veps speak an ancient proto-Finnish language, and resemble Finns with a little bit of Mongolian ancestry.
PUBLISHED: July 22, 2013