Peter the Great

Residents of Shun’ga in the Republic of Karelia have known for many years that the ground water near their village has healing powers.  The purpose of this post is to provide an overview of the history of Shungite.

Only Karelia is home to Shungite (named after Shun’ga village). Approximately 2 billion (2,000,000,000) years old, it is believed to have been formed when lightning struck the earth or by a meteorite striking it.  The other theory is when primitive microscopic organisms died and formed the basic material for Shungite in prehistoric waters.

Drinking spring water from deposits near Shungite deposits has given people increased energy and health over the years.

Early History

It has been told that the spring water in Shun’ga was given to the mother of Mikhail Romanov.  She was the first Tsar of the House of Romanov.  Xenia Romanova (1560-1631) became seriously ill and doctors could find no cure for her ailments. Fortunately for her, Xenia was exiled to Karelia where she started to drink the local spring water. After consuming the water for a period of time, Xenia recovered from her ailments, and this became the first evidence of the healing power of Shungite. This drew great attention to the stone for a time.

However, the history of shungite was quickly forgotten.  It resurfaced during the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden (1700-1721). Karelia became an important strategic location. The Russian Tsar, Peter the Great, spent a great deal of time in the area, creating factories to help the war effort. The harsh climate and conditions of Karelia took its toll on the Tsar and he became ill. The locals offered the water from the Shungite springs speaking of its great health benefits. Peter starting to consume the spring water and felt immediate positive effects from it. He also had his soldiers drink the water and their health improved within a few weeks.

Martsialnye Vody (Waters of Mars)
Waters of Mars
Shungite Spa

In 1719 he opened the first Russian spa on the site of the springs and called it Martsialnye Vody (Waters of Mars). It was named to honour the role of soldiers in creating the spa.

As well as drinking the water, Tsar Peter the Great encouraged his soldiers to carry chunks of Shungite with them in battle. During the Poltava battle in 1709, the Swedes were suffering badly from dysentery (bacterial infection of the intestine). The Russians did not. The drinking of Shungite water was attributed to the fact that they were not struck down with the disease.

At the end of the war, Shungite became well known and people from Europe wanted to try the Shungite water for themselves. The taking of Shungite water for healing continued.

Professor Alexander Aleksandrovich Inostrantsev wrote the first in-depth scientific work
Professor Inostrantsev
Professor Alexander Aleksandrovich Inostrantsev

About Shungite. “The newest member of the group of amorphous carbons” was published in 1877 and became widely recognised all over Europe and drew great attention to the stone, adding to the History of Shungite
In 1885 Professor Inostrantsev named the black rock, as mentioned above, giving a nod to the area it was first found.

During 1886 he published “More about Shungite”. The combination of his works drew great attention to the stone. In 1907 the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Brockhaus and Efron, (dictionary of the Russian Empire), described Shungite for the first time.

Professor Inostrantsev’s work helped to bring Shungite to the masses and started the interest of others in researching this wonderful rock.

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