In the vicinity of Valaam island there is a no less picturesque Nikolsky island. Previously it was called Krestovoy (Cross island), because even long ago there stood a cross of respectful salutation, which represented a symbol of the sacred land and served as a landmark for passing vessels.
In 19th century a chapel of Saint Nicholas was erected on the place of the cross, as Nicholas is regarded as a patron of all travelers. The story of chapel’s origin is very interesting. Valaam has always been a shelter for travelling people and those who needed spiritual harmony and peace. Once there appeared a rich capital merchant among travelers named Nikolay Solodovnikov, who was so impressed with beauty and distinctive character of these places, that he decided to erect there a church. Having received the blessing of Valaam Monastery hegumen Damaskin, Solodovnikov invited an outstanding architect Aleksey Maksimovich Gornostaev. Before getting into work the architect had been living a long time on Valaam, getting familiar with nature peculiarities and lifestyle. Originally the church was made of red brick, later on the wall were pargetted what made the church look more open and graceful.
Earlier one could reach Nikolsky skete only by water. Despite today there’s a road route to the island, we recommend to go on a hydrofoil trip. From aboard a comfortable motorboat you can fully appreciate the beauty of the island and enjoy the views of Lake Ladoga. Riding to Valaam on a hydrofoil you can admire the beaytu of this church since arriving to the Monastery pier.