General information
Nature and climate peculiarities
Historical peculiarities.
Places of interest
The key lines of the development of tourism




General information

The territory of Sortavalsky region (area - 2,1 thousand square km, population - 34,6 thousand people) is located between the northern shore of the Ladoga lake and the border with Finland. A famous Valaam island, a tourist object of world significance, also belongs to the territory of the region. Via the international entry point "Vyartsila", located on Sortavalsky sector of the state border, goes "The Blue Road of tourism" connecting Karelia with the countries of Fennoscandia. Other transport thruways (water, land and air) also cross the territory of the region, which makes it easy to get to the region from any direction. The roads are of rather good quality. Geopolitically favorably differs from all the other regions of Karelia and has good prospective for tourism development.


Nature and climate peculiarities

The nature of Sortavalsky region is unique. Numerous narrow bays, capes, islands and granite cliffs give this place a very picturesque character. No wonder this territory is called "Karelian Switzerland". The current landscape of the territory has been created during the whole geological history of the Baltic crystalline shield. The rocks that form it are mainly of granite and mica shales. The use of the building rock of Priladozhje started in XVIII century at the construction of St.Petersburg.

Marble and granites of Piladozhje decorate architectural masterpieces and bridges of Russian northern capital. On the shores of the northern part of Ladoga and on its islands there are lots of old stone breaking.

Climatic zone of Sortavalsky region is considered to be the most smooth. The plants of the territory are pines, fir-tres, birches and rowan-trees. The unique plantations, which are growing on Valaam, in the arboretum of Sortavala city and in Sortavala botanic reserve, are especially interesting. More than 250 plant species, including elm, linden, maple and old birch, are registered on the territory of the botanic reserve. Old arboretum, which was founded in the beginning of XX century by Dr. Vinter, is also on the territory of the reserve. Its collection consists of 76 species of acclimatized foreign plants, including 20 rare species.

Fifty eight fish species inhabit the waters of the Ladoga lake. The most valuable are salmon species. The unique species of freshwater pinnipedia – Ladoga seal – also lives in the lake.


Historical peculiarities

Because of its convenient geographical location and beneficial natural conditions this region has been attractive for settlement for a long time . The earliest sites of ancient people are dated back to 7 thousand years B.C. (mesolite era). In total 245 monuments of history and culture are registered here. On the islands of Riekkalansaari and Tulolansaari the oldest agricultural landscapes are located. Up till the middle of 19 century the population practiced slash-and-burn, fishing, hunting and charcoal burning.

In 12-13 centuries the territory of the region fell under the influence of Novgorod. Presumably, at this time Karelian Nikolsko-Serdovolsky pogost was built on the island of Riekkalansaari. A third of the pogost lands belonged to Valaam monastery.


Places of interest

The landscape of the territory of the region is very indented and is splitted by numerous rivers and streams, among which chines rise. The highest peak of Priladozhje – Petsevara mountain – is located here. It is a nice observe ground. Tourist routes to the mountain have been made during the Finnish period and are used till now. Among the rivers Tohmajoki and Janisjoki rivers are prominent. They start in Finland and then flow into the Ladoga. There are lots of rapids and small waterfalls on the rivers.

They are good for tourist shows. Rafting and canoeing is practiced on both rivers. The developing of Janisyoki river for the tourists is paid a lot of attention to by a small TACIS project.

The central part of Ladoga skerries, which surrounds all the Priladozhje, is also located on the territory of the region.

Thirty-thirty five km away from the inner border of the skerries Valaam archipelago is situated. It consists of more than fifty islands and is as picturesque as the skerries. Valaam is famous both for its natural advantages and architectural complex of ancient Valaaam Monastery of Savior and Transfiguration. Up to a hundred thousands of tourists and pilgrims from all over the world visit the archipelago annually.

Valaam alone is enough for the high evaluation of the tourist potential of the region. Due to it Sortavala city is the second (after Petrozavodsk) tourist center of Karelia. However, the city itself is also very attractive for tourists. It has the status of historical city of All-Russian significance for its original architectural look and numerous architectural objects. About 90 buildings of the city are of historical and cultural value. Here one can get acquainted with the architectural styles: Western modernist, classicism, neoclassicism, romanticism and wooden architecture. Few interesting buildings are in the outskirts of the city. This is Dr.’s Vinter house in Taruniemi, Jaskeljainen’s summer cottage in Karjavalahti, railroad station in Vyartsila and so on.

By the number of architectural monuments registered by government the territory of Sortavala takes the first place among the regions of Karelia. There are 466 objects of this type and this is almost a third of all architectural monuments of Karelia.

There is also the unique museum of wooden carving, which attracts all the guests of the city, is situated in Sortavala.

Nowadays tourist infrastructure is developing in Sortavala and its outskirts and that means that the tourist objects of the region are claimed and the tourism industry is on the rise.


The key lines of the development of tourism:

  • perfection of organizing of tourism on the territory of the national park "Valaam archipelago",
  • perfection of organizing of passenger ships traffic from Sortavala to Valaam;
  • formation of nature park "Ladoga skerries";
  • perfection of tourist infrastructure on the international tourist route "Blue road";
  • active use of rich historical and cultural heritage of the city;
  • development of ecological, fishing, water, cultural and historical tourism.


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