Pagan Kupala Rites on Russian Lake Svetloyar

Lake as a lake: not the biggest, not the most beautiful, but it is without no doubt one of  legendary ones. It is the legend of the City of Kitezh that made Svetloyar lake a special place. The man of the past centuries was inclined to see the world as trees, rocks, rivers, lakes – all this has been the subject of attention and worship with Pagan Slavic gods. Swimming in the lake Svetloyar in ancient times was forbidden, as you do not disturb or offend residents of hidden city Kitezh, which, according to legend when Christian era came, hidden itself to the bottom of the lake, along with the residents during an attack by Golden Horde and troops of Batu Khan. On the principles of this magical legend the tradition was built where drinking water from the lake or washing in would give people magical powers and good luck.

Svetloyar lake with history

It is believed that the water of the lake is able to cure the disease. Apparently, based on the fact that it is in contact with the sunken city.

The man of the past centuries was inclined to see the world animate: trees, rocks, rivers, lakes - all this has been the subject of attention and worship.

This belief is reinforced by the fact that Svetloyarsky water does not spoil and can be stored for years.

Swim in the lake Svetloyar ancient forbidden not to disturb or offend residents Kitezh, which, according to legend, had the Christian era, went to the bottom of the lake, along with the residents during an attack by his troops of Batu Khan.

Chemists explain this phenomenon with thermal springs feeding the lake with water from the special composition of calcium bicarbonate.


The ancients believed that everything that somehow is near the place of worship, carries a special effect.


So trees growing on the banks of the lake were sacred and to chop them was strictly forbidden under pain of inevitable punishment.


“Push the tree to it’s death, and it will hurt you too”- says the local fable, so beware of anyone who thinks of even removing the branch of trees.


But the most well-known belief about Svetloyar lake – a unique bell-ringing, which can be heard during the holidays. This is thought to beat the bell at the Belfry churches of sunken Kitezh. Some number of people were able to observe the white stone buildings of the ancient city through the water.

Svetloyar lake with history

Similar stories can be found in many nations. To cite an example of the sunken city of Isaiah or the ancient Roman legend of King Diodorus, whose palace was hidden under the waters of Lake Albano, and it remains in good weather, it is believed to also be seen at the bottom of the lake.


But, in contrast to the ancient legend of Kitezh, it can see only by the righteous individuals, as they will always and everywhere be accompanied by happiness and good luck.

The best time for a trip to the lake is the middle of summer. Try to arrive at the scene on July 6 because at this time on the coast of the lake is a holiday of Ivan Kupala. Evening Fair is opened by many craftsmen and artisans, and closer to the night you can watch the truncated festivities of pagan Russia. You should not overlook the Museum of Ceramics “Hail Bright”, located near the lake.


Svetloyar can be found in the village of Vladimir, that in the district of Nizhny Novgorod region. The first destination will be Nizhny Novgorod. From the bus station you take a bus to Kanavinskaya – Nizhny Novgorod – Voskresenskoe. Exit should be near the village of Vladimir – this is the second point.


Upon arriving in Vladimir you will get to the big parking lot, there will be a alley and it leads to the lake. Motorists can reach the goal, following the route Nizhny Novgorod – Kirov. Enjoy!

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