The Bank of Estonia has issued a new coin featuring ancient rock paintings from the northern Russian republic of Karelia.
The two-euro coin, which will circulate from August, is engraved with petroglyphs found by Lake Onega, which are considered among the most intricate examples of rock carvings in northern Europe. Dating back to some time between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC, the images show a hunter, an elk, waterfowl, and the sun, which together symbolise the circle of life for Finno-Ugric people native to the area.
The artists behind the design hope to draw more attention to the ancient artworks, which are at risk of being severely damaged by human activity, lichen growth, and erosion around Lake Onega.
The plans coincide with the 7th World Congress of the Finno-Ugric Peoples on 16 June in Tartu. The event brings together ethnic groups from across Europe whose languages share the same linguistic roots — including Estonians, Finns, and Hungarians, as well as smaller indigenous communities, such the Mari and Sámi peoples.