Lake Ladoga (Russian: Ла́дожское о́зеро, tr.
Ladozhskoye ozero, IPA: [ˈladəʂskəjə ˈozʲɪrə] or
Russian: Ла́дога, tr. Ladoga, IPA: [ˈladəgə]; Finnish:
Laatokka [earlier in Finnish Nevajärvi]; Livvi: Luadogu; Veps: Ladog,
Ladoganjärv) is a freshwater lake located in the Republic of Karelia
Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia, in the vicinity of Saint
It is the largest lake entirely in Europe, and the 14th largest
freshwater lake by area in the world. Ladoga Lacus, a methane lake on
Saturn's moon Titan, is named after the lake.
3 Geological history
6.2 Towns upon the lake
7 Image gallery
9 External links
In one of Nestor's chronicles from the 12th century he mentions a lake
called "the Great Nevo", a clear link to the
Neva River and, possibly
furthermore, to Finnish nevo "sea" or neva "bog, quagmire".
Norse sagas and Hanseatic treaties both mention a city made of
Old Norse Aldeigja or Aldoga. Since the beginning of
the 14th century this hydronym was commonly known as Ladoga. According
to T. N. Jackson, it can be taken "almost for granted, that the name
of Ladoga first referred to the river, then the city, and only then
the lake." Therefore, he considers the primary hydronym Ladoga to
originate in the eponymous inflow to the lower reaches of the Volkhov
River whose Finnic name was Alodejoki (corresponding to modern
Finnish: Alojen joki) "river of the lowlands".
The Germanic toponym (Aldeigja → Aldoga) was soon borrowed by the
Slavic population and transformed by means of the Old Russian
metathesis ald- → lad- to Old East Slavic: Ладога. The Old
Norse intermediary word between Finnish and Old Russian word is fully
supported by archeology, since the Scandinavians first appeared in
Ladoga in the early 750s, that is, a couple of decades before the
Other theories about the origin of the name derive it from Karelian:
aalto "wave" and Karelian: aaltokas "wavy"; or from the Russian
dialectal word алодь, meaning "open lake, extensive water
Eugene Helimski by contrast, offers an etymology rooted in
German. In his opinion, the primary name of the lake was Old Norse:
*Aldauga "old source", associated to the open sea, in contrast to the
name of the
Neva River (flowing from
Lake Ladoga) which would derive
from the German expression for "the new". Through the intermediate
form *Aldaugja, Old Norse: Aldeigja cam about, referring to "Ladoga
The lake has an average surface area of 17,891 km2 (excluding the
islands). Its north-to-south length is 219 km and its average
width is 83 km; the average depth is 51 m, although it
reaches a maximum of 230 m in the north-western part. Basin area:
276,000 km2, volume: 837 km3 (earlier estimated as
908 km3). There are around 660 islands, with a total area of
about 435 km2. Ladoga is, on average, 5 m above sea
level. Most of the islands, including the famous Valaam
Kilpola and Konevets, are situated in the northwest of
Separated from the
Baltic Sea by the Karelian Isthmus, it drains into
the Gulf of
Finland via the Neva River.
Lake Ladoga is navigable, being a part of the Volga-Baltic Waterway
Baltic Sea with the Volga River. The Ladoga Canal
bypasses the lake in the southern part, connecting the Neva to the
The basin of
Lake Ladoga includes about 50,000 lakes and 3,500 rivers
longer than 10 km. About 85% of the water inflow is due to
tributaries, 13% is due to precipitation, and 2% is due to underground
Brockhaus and Efron
See also: Geology of the
Baltic Sea and Svecofennian orogeny
Lake around 7,000 BC.
Lake Ladoga depression is a graben and syncline
Proterozoic age (Precambrian). This "Ladoga–Pasha
structure", as it known, hosts
Jotnian sediments. During the
Pleistocene glaciations the depression was partially stripped of its
sedimentary rock fill by glacial overdeepening. During the Last
Glacial Maximum, about 17,000 years BP, the lake served likely as a
channel that concentrated ice of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet into an
ice stream that fed glacier lobes further east.
Deglaciation following the
Weichselian glaciation took place in the
Lake Ladoga basin between 12,500 and 11,500 radiocarbon years BP. Lake
Ladoga was initially part of the Baltic Ice
Lake (70–80 m. above
present sea level), a historical freshwater stage of Baltic Sea. It is
possible, though not certain, that Ladoga was isolated from it during
regression of the subsequent
Yoldia Sea brackish stage (10,200–9,500
BP). The isolation threshold should be at
Heinjoki to the east of
Vyborg, where the
Baltic Sea and Ladoga were connected by a strait or
a river outlet at least until the formation of the River Neva, and
possibly even much later, until the 12th century AD or so.
At 9,500 BP,
Lake Onega, previously draining into the White Sea,
started emptying into Ladoga via the River Svir. Between 9,500 and
9,100 BP, during the transgression of Ancylus Lake, the next
freshwater stage of the Baltic, Ladoga certainly became part of it,
even if they hadn't been connected immediately before. During the
Lake subsequent regression, around 8,800 BP Ladoga became
Ladoga slowly transgressed in its southern part due to uplift of the
Baltic Shield in the north. It has been hypothesized, but not proven,
that waters of the Litorina Sea, the next brackish-water stage of the
Baltic, occasionally invaded Ladoga between 7,000 and 5,000 BP. Around
5,000 BP the waters of the
formed a new outlet, River Vuoksi, entering
Lake Ladoga in the
northwestern corner and raising its level by 1–2 m.
River Neva originated when the Ladoga waters at last broke through
the threshold at Porogi into the lower portions of Izhora River, then
a tributary of the Gulf of Finland, between 4,000 and 2,000 BP. Dating
of some sediments in the northwestern part of
Lake Ladoga suggests it
happened at 3,100 radiocarbon years BP (3,410–3,250 calendar years
Lake Ladoga as part of w:Baltic Ice
Lake (between 11200 and 10500 yr
BP). Blue line - front of Ice margin 13300 cal yr BP..
Lake Ladoga as part of Ancylus
Lake (between 9300 and 9200 yr BP).
Green line - south shoreline of
Lake Ladoga during Yoldia stage of
The Ladoga is rich with fish. 48 forms (species and infra specific
taxa) of fish have been encountered in the lake, including roach, carp
bream, zander, European perch, ruffe, endemic variety of smelt, two
Coregonus albula (vendace), eight varieties of Coregonus
lavaretus, a number of other
Salmonidae as well as, albeit rarely,
endangered European sea sturgeon. Commercial fishing was once a major
industry but has been hurt by overfishing. After the war, between
1945–1954, the total annual catch increased and reached a maximum of
4,900 tonnes. However, unbalanced fishery led to the drastic decrease
of catch in 1955–1963, sometimes to 1,600 tonnes per year. Trawling
has been forbidden in
Lake Ladoga since 1956 and some other
restrictions were imposed. The situation gradually recovered, and in
1971–1990 the catch ranged between 4,900 and 6,900 tonnes per year,
about the same level as the total catch in 1938. Fish farms and
recreational fishing are developing. 
It has its own endemic ringed seal subspecies known as the Ladoga
Since the beginning of the 1960s Ladoga has become considerably
Nizhnesvirsky Natural Reserve
Nizhnesvirsky Natural Reserve is situated along the shore of Lake
Ladoga immediately to the north of the mouth of the River Svir.
In the Middle Ages, the lake formed a vital part of the trade route
from the Varangians to the Eastern Roman Empire, with the Norse
Staraya Ladoga defending the mouth of the Volkhov since
the 8th century. In the course of the Swedish–Novgorodian Wars, the
area was disputed between the
Novgorod Republic and Sweden. In the
early 14th century, the fortresses of Korela (Kexholm) and Oreshek
(Nöteborg) were established along the banks of the lake.
Valaam Monastery was founded on the island of Valaam, the
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
resumed. Other historic cloisters in the vicinity are the Konevets
Monastery, which sits on the
Konevets island, and the
Alexander-Svirsky Monastery, which preserves fine samples of medieval
During the Ingrian War, a fraction of the Ladoga coast was occupied by
Sweden. In 1617, by the Treaty of Stolbovo, the northern and western
coast was ceded by
Russia to Sweden. In 1721, after the Great Northern
War, it was restitution to
Russia by the Treaty of Nystad. Later, in
1812–1940 the lake was shared between
Finland and Russia. According
to the conditions of the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty militarization of the
lake was severely restricted. However, both Soviet
Russia and Finland
had flotillas in Ladoga (see also Finnish Ladoga Naval Detachment).
Winter War (1939–40) according to the Moscow Peace Treaty,
Ladoga, previously shared with Finland, became an internal basin of
the Soviet Union.
Continuation War (1941–44) not only Finnish and Soviet,
but also German and Italian vessels operated there (see also Naval
Detachment K and Regia Marina). Under these circumstances, during much
Siege of Leningrad
Siege of Leningrad (1941–44),
Lake Ladoga provided the only
access to the besieged city because a section of the eastern shore
remained in Soviet hands. Supplies were transported into Leningrad
with trucks on winter roads over the ice, the "Road of Life", and by
boat in the summer. After World War II,
Finland lost the Karelia
region again to the USSR, and all Finnish citizens were evacuated from
the ceded territory. Ladoga became an internal Soviet basin once
again. The northern shore, Ladoga
Karelia with the town of Sortavala,
is now part of the Republic of Karelia. The western shore, Karelian
Isthmus, became part of Leningrad Oblast.
Svir River from
Lake Onega (south-east, discharge: 790 m3/s);
Volkhov River from
Lake Ilmen (south, discharge: 580 m3/s);
Vuoksi River (and Burnaya River) from
discharge: 540 m3/s).
Syas River (south, discharge: 53 m3/s).
Olonka River from
Towns upon the lake
Shlisselburg (at 59°56′N 31°02′E / 59.933°N 31.033°E
/ 59.933; 31.033 (Shlisselburg))
Novaya Ladoga (at 60°06′N 32°18′E / 60.100°N 32.300°E
/ 60.100; 32.300 (Novaya Ladoga))
Syasstroy (at 60°08′N 32°34′E / 60.133°N 32.567°E /
60.133; 32.567 (Syasstroy))
Pitkyaranta (at 61°34′N 31°28′E / 61.567°N 31.467°E /
61.567; 31.467 (Pitkyaranta))
Sortavala (at 61°42′N 30°41′E / 61.700°N 30.683°E /
61.700; 30.683 (Sortavala))
Lakhdenpokhya (at 61°31′N 30°12′E / 61.517°N 30.200°E
/ 61.517; 30.200 (Lakhdenpokhya))
Priozersk (at 61°02′N 30°08′E / 61.033°N 30.133°E /
61.033; 30.133 (Priozersk))
The archipelago in Ladoga
Lake with the Monastery of the
Transfiguration of the Saviour
Rafts on the Peter the Great Canal. City of Shlisselburg
Sortavala harbour, Karelia
Saint Nicholas Skete on island
Valaam on Ladoga lake and little ship
Boulder on Vidlitsa, west shore
Superior mirage on
Oreshek Fortress on Ladoga shore in Shlisselburg
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to
Simola, Heikki et al. (eds), Proceeding of The First International
Lake Ladoga Symposium.
Special issue of Hydrobiologia. Vol. 322,
Issues 1–3. / April 1996.
Lake Ladoga, 1941–1944