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Synergies between spiritual and natural heritage for habitat conservation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region

Synergies between spiritual and natural heritage for habitat conservation in the Barents Euro-Arctic Region

In mythology of many peoples of the world North is associated with a region filled with cold and purity, a place where “the edge of the world” is located, or the border of oecumene (territory occupied and developed by human beings). North is also a “country of spirits”, the land of the dead, an extraordinary land. For many centuries the “Northern dimension” has been surrounded by the odor of sanctity in the cultures of different peoples. In the Greek tradition the legendary Leto (Lada), mother of Apollo and Artemis, who gave birth to them on the island of Delos (Asteria), came from the North. The Hyperborean – Northern people especially loved by Apollo and many times visited by him – lived in an ideal country located “behind Boreas” – behind the god of Northern wind. The word “hyperborean” as a name for the North later was used in the European medieval maps-making tradition. The specifics of the impression of sacred was enriched by geography and climate conditions..

The fragile nature of the North in now under the increasing pressing of military and industrial activities: gas and oil deposits, gold, diamonds is of a great interest of the future development of the countries in the North. The term “North” associates with the term “Future”. But the main value of the North is people and their beliefs and religions, which include a spiritually elaborated in this cold territory between Life and Death. Such places of Nature and Spirit like Ukkonsaari (Finland), Spildra (Norway), Vaigatch (Russia) deserve special status. Ans also some outstanding archaeological sites, such as Alta (Norway), Moternsnes (Norway), places with labyrinths and seidas.

Author

Alexander N. Davydov