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Lake Ladoga, Russia

July 9th, 2006 / / Links: Google Earth, Google Maps, Yahoo! Maps, Virtual Earth / Nearest places

Lake Ladoga (Russian: Ладожское озеро (Ladozhskoye Ozero), Finnish: Laatokka) is a freshwater lake located in Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, near the border with Finland. With an area of 17,700 km² (approximately 6,800 square miles), it is the largest lake in Europe and the 15th by area in the world. It has about 660 islands with the total area of 435 km². Most of the islands are situated near the northwestern coast, including the famous Valaam islands. The lake drains into the Gulf of Finland of the Baltic Sea via river Neva.

The area of its basin is 276,000 km². The basin of the Ladoga Lake includes about 50,000 lakes and 3,500 rivers longer than 10 km. About 85% of the water income is due to the three most important tributaries:

Ladoga has its own endemic Ringed Seal subspecies known as the Ladoga Seal.

The 2003 film Vozvrashcheniye, directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev, was filmed on and around Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland.

The lake formed an important part of the Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The oldest Russian capital, Old Ladoga, took its name from the lake.

The ancient Valaam Monastery was founded on the island of Valaam (Finnish: Valamo), the largest in Lake Ladoga, abandoned between 1611–1715, magnificently restored in the 18th century, and evacuated to Finland during the Winter War in 1940. In 1989 the monastic activities in the Valaam were resumed. Other historic cloisters in the vicinity are the Konevets Monastery, which sits on another island, and the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery, which preserves fine samples of medieval Muscovite architecture.

Between 1617–1721 the Swedish-Russian border was drawn through Lake Ladoga, then later 1812–1940 the border between Finland and Russia.

During the siege of Leningrad, 1941–1944, Lake Ladoga provided the only access to the besieged city. Supplies were transported into Leningrad with trucks on winter roads over the ice, the "Road of Life", and by boat in the summer.

After the war, Finland lost the Karelia region to the USSR, and most Finns were forced to evacuate the ceded territory. Some native Karelians, however, remained and still live there.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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