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Entries / Ladoga Lake

Ladoga Lake

Categories / City Topography/Waterways and Currents/Lakes, Ponds

LADOGA LAKE, the largest lake in Europe, is located at the border of Leningrad region and the Republic of Karelia. In the old times, the lake was named Nevo (a Finnish word for "sea"), Ladoga (after the old Russian city Ladoga), and Aldoga. Its total area is 17.7 thousand square km, and 18.1 thousand square km, including islands. The lake is 219 km long, 83 km wide and up to 230 meters deep. The area of its basin covers 276 square km. Its basin has glacial-tectonic origin. The northern banks are high, rocky, and indented (fiords and slerries), and the southern banks are low and flooded due to neotectonic submeridional wracking. There are three large gulfs located in the southern part of the lake: Svirsky, Volkhovsky and Shlissleburgsky Bays. The lake has over 600 registered islands (mostly in the northern part of Lake Ladoga); the largest of them are Riskklanasari, Mantsinsaari, and Valaam islands. The rivers flowing in Ladoga Lake include Rivers Volkhov, Svir, Syas, Obzha, Olonka, Vidlitsa, Uksu-Joki, Tulemaa-Joki, Vuoksa, Burnaya, et al. The lake drains into the Neva River with a water flow of 2530 m3/s. The water regime is characterized with surging (annual level fluctuations range from 50 to 70 cm, the maximum of 3 meters), and seiches (up to 3-4 meters), the wave height during storms reaches 6 meters. The lake has different thermal regimes in its deep-water part and in the coastal area. In the middle of August, the temperature of surface water reaches 24oC, 18-20oC in the centre and 4oC at the bottom. The temperature of water under ice is 0-2oC. The lake freezes from December (coastal areas) to February (the central part), and breaks up from April to May. The lake has fresh and clean water (except for it coastal part contaminated with industrial wastes). It is rich in fish resources, including valuable species (whitefish and cisco). The infrastructure of navigation, fishing and tourist industries are well-developed. The lake in included in the system of Volga-Baltic and Belomor-Baltic waterways. For the most part, it was well-developed by humans populating the lake from ancient times which is proved with rock drawings and archaeological findings. The following cities are located at the lake's banks: Priozersk, New Ladoga, Shlisselburg in Leningrad region, and Sortavala, Pitkyaranta, and Lakhdenpolya in Karelia. The route "from Varangians to Greeks" connecting Scandinavia and Baltic region with Byzantium and the Mediterranean passed through Lake Ladoga in 9-12 centuries. In 1718-31, the Old Ladoga Canal was constructed along the southern coast of Ladoga Lake to Volkhov to provide safety of navigation (extended to the Syas River in 1766-1802, and to the Svir River in 1802-10), the New Ladoga Canal was built in 1866-83. During the Great Patriotic War of 1941-44, the Road of Life was laid on ice of the lake.

Reference: Калесник С. В. Ладожское озеро. Л., 1968; Горелова Э. М., Кириллова В. А., Распопов И. М. Ладога. Л., 1974.

Y. P. Seliverstov.

Калесник С. В. Ладожское озеро. Л., 1968
Горелова Э. М., Кириллова В. А., Распопов И. М. Ладога. Л., 1974

The subject Index
Trade Route between the Varangians and the Greeks
Road of Life