MOSCOW - Britain's Prince Charles on Wednesday visited a famous White Sea monastery and former Stalin-era prison camp considered the cradle of the Soviet gulag system.
Charles flew to the Solovetskiye archipelago, the site of a 15th century monastery in the 650 kilometers (400 miles) northeast of the imperial Russian capital St. Petersburg, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported.
Between the 1917 revolution and 1939, the monastery served as the Solovki labor camp, the first such camp in the Soviet Union and a symbol of Stalinist repression.
The monastery is now being renovated in a project sponsored by a foundation dedicated to the late Russian literary historian Dmitry Likhachyov, who was imprisoned in the camp from 1928-32.
The trip to Solovki caps a three-day visit by the prince to St. Petersburg, in celebration of the city's tercentenary and on the occasion of the 450th anniversary of British-Russian relations.
During the visit, the heir to the British throne took part in a wreath-laying ceremony in honor of Russia's War II sacrifices and handed over a training yacht to the Baltic Fleet as a gift from the Royal Navy.