Novgorodian land has been known since time immemorial. Many ancient records mention a town called by its citizens His Majesty Lord Novgorod the Great. It was famous for its people – craftsmen, merchants, boyars and warriors. Many tales and heroic ballades were based on the glorious city and its residents. There is Sadko the merchant, the knight Vaska Buslayev who fought alongside Alexander Nevsky – the kinds of figures we have made films about. Legend has it that Russian knights stood at a crossroads before a stone and made a choice of which road to take: to be rich, to marry well or to give their lives for their land.
It may sound like fiction, but there is a massive stone – 5 metres high and 8.6 metres wide – at a crossroads in the village of Kamen, Novgorod Region, very similar to the one described in the tales. Everyone who walks past it stops to contemplate whether they are following the right path.
A gigantic stone that dates back to pagan times gave the village its name. The village is now part of the Volotovsky District of the Novgorod Region and is located 20 km from the district capital.
During the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War, most towns and villages in the Novgorod Region were burned down by the Nazis, but Kamen managed to avoid that fate. Legend has it that the stone protected people from death, but it could not protect the village from depopulation. As of 2016, only 12 people lived in Kamen. The closest villages are also ancient: Parnik, Derevik and Zarechye. Since 2010, all of them have been part of the Ratitskoye township. On Kupala Night, pagans from all across Russia gather at the stone to worship the Sun and Moon and to perform rituals. Many other people like to come to the stone to choose their path, to reconnect with Russian soil and recharge, and to admire the granite stone whose origins remain a mystery.