Location and travel facilities
Climatic features
Nature sights


Location and travel facilities

Lahdenpohsky region is located in the farthest south-east of Karelia. It is not a long (about 100 km) and rather narrow (30 - 40 km) zone along the shore of the Ladoga Lake. It is bordered by Leningradskaya oblast’, the territory of Sortavala, and also the Finnish commune Parikkala. The region is the smallest in Karelia, its area is 2,2 thousands

On the territory of the region, across the Ladoga Lake, go railway and motor roads of the route Petrozavodsk - Saint Petersburg. Branches of motor roads go to Finland and serve for transferring manufactured goods through simplified stations of admittance. Through Sortavala the region has an outlet to the international station of admittance, and through Leningradskaya oblast’ – to Vyborg. Travel facilities begin to develop on the Ladoga Lake, including the archipelago Valaam, which is the tourist object of the world level.

Russia and Finland drew up a plan of establishing an international station of admittance on the territory of the region, in Syuvyauro. It’ll lead to the territory of Karelia all the cargo-and-passenger flows from Helsinki direction. In this case the region will gain a role of the transit center of international importance.

On the whole, the geographical and geopolitical location of the region is quite favorable.


Climatic features

The climate of the region, as of the whole Karelia, is comparatively soft, transitional from the sea to the continental. It has a relatively warm winter and cool summer. The west-eastern air transfer is dominant.

According to the agroclimatology the region of Pre-Ladozshje belongs to one of the most favorable in Karelia, and Lahdenpohsky region – to the most favourable in Pre-Ladozshje. There is a little bit more precipitations in this region, but at the same more warmth and sunny days. The Ladoga Lake and nearness to the Baltic Sea soften the climate.

The average year temperature is +3C, the coldest month (February) – -9,4C, the warmest month (July) – +16,9C. The maximum registered temperature is +34C, the minimum is - 41C. It’s likely for winter to have thaws with temperatures of 3-5C, summer temperature, during the incursion of northern air, may come down to +15 - +10C. Duration of the period without intensely cold weather is 125 days.

The most rainy month is August, the least snowy – March. At the same time it is the sunniest month, and it’s a good period for winter fishing and ski hiking. In April the destruction of snow blanket and breaking up of rivers and lakes takes place. The average annual precipitation fall-out is 650 mm.

The period from the middle of May till the middle of June is a time of White Nights. During this period the sun shines about 20 hours with relatively little cloudiness. Due to it the surface gets as much warmth as in the middle region of Russia. That contributes to plants growing.

The Ladoga Lake has influence on wind regime of the region. During a day wind comes from the lake’s side, softening summer hot weather, during a night – vice versa. In the coastal zone in comparison with the continental, the average annual precipitation fall-out decreases for about 100 mm.

On the whole, the climate of the region is favourable for development of agriculture, and also for tourism and holiday organization.



Hydrographic network of the region belongs to the basin of the Ladoga Lake. Scanty rivers cross the region from the north-west to the south-east. They are small - up to 60-90 km. Their length is limited by the range of Salpausselsky, which is a divide between Ladoga lake and the Baltic Sea. The largest rivers are Kokolanjoki (Hiitolainjoki), Sosuanjoki, Iholanjoki, and Miinalanjoki. There are also some small rivers in the region connected with lakes, the majority of which is situated in Finland. There are about 300 own rivers in the region.

Kokolanjoki is of interest for being the only river of a salmon type in the north-western shore of Ladoga with relatively well conserved shoals of this fish. There are about 16 fish species in this river. Its length is 53 km, out of which 45 km belong to Karelian part. At the same time the main branch of columbine (73%) is located on the territory of Finland, and there are also lakes that feed the river. The Karelian part has 7 rapids and 4 more rapids on its inflow - the river Anajoki. This is also a place of salmon spawning.

In the upper part the river flows in high (up to 20-30 m) and steep shores, covered with coniferous forests. In lower shores coming down till 5-10 m, and behind their edge there are mainly agricultural grounds. The general relief character is flat, and that contributed to formation of numerous meanders on the river. On the whole, the river has a picturesque view and may be a wonderful place for canoeing and catamarans. In additional, the river is rather deep (4-7 m), with the exception of rapids’ area, and also has a forceful stream.

However, the main coloring to Lahdenpohskiy region brings the Ladoga Lake, the largest in Europe. Its overall length is 219 km, the overall width is 87 km, the water capacity is 908 km’, the deepest spot is 233 m. It is such a full, so that being 2 times less than the Azov Sea, Ladoga exceeds it by water capacity. Formerly it was known as the Russian Sea.

Extremely pictorial part of the lake consists of hundreds multifarious islands, promontories, channels, straits, and bays. Rocky landscape is dominant there, but it’s also possible to see sandy and pebble beaches. It is a wonderful place for tourism development, spa treatment, and organization of elite fishing.



The territory of Lahdenpohsky region occupies the farthest south-western part of a middle taiga subzone on the border with the southern taiga or conifer-oak forests of taiga subzone. There are no drastic borders between subzones, so that it is likely to see a bit of oak forests in the region, especially near the southern frontiers. That’s why botanists related the whole Lahdenpohsky region and even Pre-Ladozshie to the southern taiga subzone. At the same time other scientists distinguish a separate district of firry and pine forest of Pre-Ladozshie lowland, relating it to the middle taiga subzone. In outskirts pinewoods are dominant (55%). The region in the connection of its physical and geographical heterogeneity is divided into two geobotanical districts: Kurkieksko-Sortovalsky and Pitkyarantsko-Olonetsky. For the first one it is typical almost equal correlation of pine and fir woods and dominance of oak forests, including some wood species such as small-leaved linden, maple, shaggy elm, and hazel.

Fir and fir-pine woods prevail over coniferous forest, and that is for widespread of loamy soils. Fir-woods make up a wide spectrum of green mossy types of forests and are remarkable for high productivity. It’s likely to see firs over 25 and even 30 m., especially thick and tall firs grow in flood-lands of rivers, valleys of streams, hollows, and ravines. Pinewoods occupy areas with sandy soils, peaks of ranges and hills, and rocky rising grounds. They prevail in skerries and coastline zone of the region. However, it’s also possible to see thick fir woods on large islands in their hearts.

Everywhere in the region we can see birch, aspen, and alder woods. They were formed on agricultural grounds and areas after conflagration. For instance, a birch gives plentiful seeds and is able to create young growth.

In villages of the region or nearby it’s likely to see plantings of Siberian and European larch, Siberian fir, cedar (Siberian pine). They grow in the form of separate groves, rows and alleys, single trees. In Kurkieki, for instance, it is possibly to distinguish up to ten such areas with the number of tree from 10 to 20 hundreds.

In the 30ies a few attempts were made for larch and fir to be in the flora of the region. Today we can see significant areas of these species in Ihalsky forestry.

We should point to a considerable widespread in the region of gardens, consisting not only of berry bushes, but also apple trees. The famous gardens of Valaamsky monastery were an incitement to their creation.

There are just a few swamps on the territory of the region, about 7% of the total area. Bogs are mainly shapeless and low. As a level of agriculture was developing, marshes were actively drained and turned into meadowlands or plowed up. The entire melioration applied to lakeside swamps.

Bogs, which have retained their natural conditions, are usually covered with thin pines (10 - 15 m) and used as places for gathering berries, especially cloudberries. Cranberries grow on opened transitional and upper swamps, which are scanty.

Meadows occupy relatively fast areas of the region. They are mainly formed by drained marshes, but along a shoreline of rivers and lakes with a zone of 5-15 m there could be seen natural meadows. They are high productive and used as mowing lands.

In the region prevail so called real meadows with covering of grain crops and motley grass. They are the most favourable for storing up hay and using as pasture. Especially valuable meadows are formed on large islands. Sowing meadows for a long time (up to 10 years) are well preserved without a special care about them.

During postwar years many shapeless meadows, that are peculiar to farm type of settling, were abandoned and overgrown with forests and finally degraded. On their spots appeared high productive birch woods and alder forests. Fast meadows that were used by state farms began to overgrow with bushes. For their preservation it is necessary periodically to mow off grass or pasture. The flora of the northern Pre-Ladozshje, including Lahdenpohsky region, is notable for a variety of vegetation, exceeding other Karelian districts. The boundaries of natural habitats of many specimens of the northern, southern, and eastern origins meet together. The feature of the region is its northern vegetation, which consists of 20 specimens that mainly grow on rocks. Specimens with the southern origins, which 3 times as much, vise versa prefer rich soils of streams’ valleys, meadows, foot slopes, and riversides.

There are 9 types of superior plants that are registered in The Red Book of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, and 78 specimens, which are in The Red Book of Karelia. Many registered kinds are between Bryophyta and lichens. There are 39 main biotopes that play a special role in preservation of the flora variety. The majority of them are in the region of Kurkieki.



There are 35 species of mammals, 121kinds of birds, 8 species of reptiles and amphibia, about 60 fish species (including the inhabitants of Ladoga lake) and a large variety of insects (no accurate information) on the territory of Lahdenpohsky region. The region takes the first place among the other regions of the republic for its animal biodiversity.

Dormouse - a small animal, which is in deep sleep for more than eight months a year, hedgehog and roe are found here. Canadian beaver has come here from Finland, the presence of European beaver is also possible for it could have come from the territory of Leningradskaja region.

Wild boar, bear, lepus, marten, American mink, the largest animal of Karelia - elk and wolf pasturing it have a considerable compactness here. Both elk and wolf along with bear can be suitable objects for hunt tourism. A special attention must be drawn to Ladoga seal, which is enlisted in the Red Book of Karelia and Russia. The herd of seal in the Ladoga lake numbers from 3 to 5 thousand of individuals. Small outer islands serve as seal's breeding-grounds, while the whole skerry part is the area of reproduction and feeding. The most important reproduction region is near Putsaari-Sommatsaari islands. Seal always arouse interest among tourists. It is appropriate to organize special observation grounds for watching this unusual animal.

The fauna of birds is represented with mostly forest (42%) and waterbirds (26%). Though 26 species are the representatives of the open: meadows, fields and glades.

The compactness of gamebird (wood-grouse, heath-cock, hazel-grouse, willow grouse) is low so it can't be the object of sports hunting. Waterbirds can be of great interest, but mainly during the flight. Those birds of prey, which are enlisted in the Red Book of Karelia and Russia (golden eagle, osprey, peregrin, erne), along with brand goose and swan could be seen only during flight.

Many islands are rich with gull colonies. The skerries are important points of bird stops for rest and feeding during the spring and autumn flights.

Among reptiles the most common are frogs, vipers and lizards. The grass-snake and pectinated triton are registered in the Red Book of Karelia.

Fish resources play important role in the life of the locals. Amateurs fish not only in Ladoga and inland lakes, but also in rivers and streams especially in the time of sprawning. The catch includes whitefish, bream, pike, zander, roach, smelt and burbot. The salmon is a desirable catch, but unfortunately it is enlisted in the Red Book of Karelia and its fishing is done by poachers. Zander and white-fish are also valuable for sports fishing. During the last years the number of zander herds is increasing, while white-fish's quantity is decreasing.

Ladoga is the place of so-called elite-fishing. Its main objects are zander, umber, pike and perch. The king-fish of the Ladoga lake is salmon, which weighs 10 kg and more. If properly organized, salmon fishing might become a source of profit for both local population and the municipal budget.


Nature sights

Natural landscape of Lahdehpohsky district is very various, but insufficiently explored. The main naturalistic research works are dated to the Finnish period, and familiar to particular experts only. Evidently this fact might explain why only 7 nature objects with the status of protected territories are singled out in the region.

These are the following:

  • The landscape reserve "Iso-Jarvi" with the area of 5778 hectares is situated near the village of Lepala. It is attractive for its relief, forest tract and a great variety of flora and fauna;
  • The complex reserve "Zapadny archipelago" in Lake Ladoga. Its area is 19527 hectares, including 393 hectares of a few small islands. It serves for the protection of the colonies of seagulls and Ladoga seals;
  • The Siberian larch cultures, which were created in the 30-ies of the last century. Its area is 49 hectares. They are located in Ihalsky forestry. It is a highly productive mixed plantation, which is of scientific, recreational and forestry interest;
  • A separate section of trees of the same culture and age with the area of 3,7 hectares is representing a pure plantation;
  • The cultures of Siberian pine of the same age in Ihalsky forestry covering the area of 1 hectar. They are fructiferous and could be used for settling on the other territories;
  • Botanic nature monument near the village of Kurkieki. Its area is 8,3 hectars. The monument includes the Siberian pine, pine, silver fir, larch. It is of great scientific interest, and could be used as a fine cognitive object for tourists;
  • A highly productive plantation of birch with the area of 1,6 hectares in Lahdenpohsky forestry.

Severo-Priladozshky hunting ground also belongs to the protected areas. It serves for the reproduction of hunting animals, the hunt is strictly regulated.

There are a lot of other sights and territories in the region, which are worth of in-depth study, description and use as places of tourist interest. To make them tourist attractions means to guard them more efficiently.

Among all the islands of Ladoga skerries Putsaari Island is worth of special attention. It could be of multipronged interest for tourists. This island was once the place where Sergievsky sell of Valaamsky monastery was located. Here the farming was kept, the gardens were planted, and the lands were reclaimed. The grey granit was mined on the island, it was later sent to St.-Petersburg and Valaam. The granite cross of 7 meters high, which was constructed on the highest point of the island, serves as the lighthouse. The church of SS Sergii and German, which is the decoration of the island, needs repairing.

The geological history of the island is interesting – it has kept the traces of past earthquakes. Granitic mountains form nearly closed arc around the periphery of the island, in the frame of which there is a beautiful inner lake, named Svjatoe. There are a lot of rare plants on the island; on its eastern part there are seal breeding-grounds. Finally, the island has its own bay, crowning the picturesque bay, which is leading to the center of the island.

4 km long beach on the island of Koyonsaari is also a nature sight of the region. The resort area Vyatikka is attached to the beach. There are large sandy beaches on the picturesque island of Kuhkaa. A whole series of outer islands have small, but very beautiful beaches.

The fortresses Linnanmyaki and Linnavuori are fine objects of tourists attraction. There ancient Karelians defended themselves from Swedish raids. These monuments are typical only for Lahdenpohski region, there are no less than 10 of them here.

There is a series of geological monuments in the mountains. These includes quartz gallery on the island of Sorolansary, glacial hollow on the mountain of Yayamyaki, a peculiar natural 4 meters deep adit with a narrow side entrance, the cave on a high slope of the mountain Ayttavuori.

The field, appeared on the bottom of a drained three-kilometer long lake Kuliayarvi, could be a peculiar anthropogenic monument. The remains of old gardens, for which the climat of the region is the most favourable, are found in a number of settlements. The garden in the village of Ihala occupied 3 hectars. The rivers are short in the region, but they are peculiar. The river Kokkolanyoki could be of interest for tourists, who prefer floating. Its debouchment, formed in the easily washed out mud shale, is so curved that it becomes a problem to find 100-meter straight section (tangent). It flows either in a high shore, or in the flats, often covered with high coniferous wood. A lot of streams, having made deep canyons and carrying a lot of clay particles during the floodwater, inflow into the river Kokkolanyoki, that’s why its water is yellowish. The river is like the Chinese Yellow river, that can hardly be said about other Karelian rivers. The riverside is famous for its rich and various flora, including a lot of beautiful primroses. 16 species of fish live in the river, including salmon. The river presents no difficulties for descending on a canoes, catamarans.

The comlex of Ladoga skerries, however, is the main sight by right. It is hard to make an analogy to its area, number and diversity of islands, capes, bays and inlets. The skerries could remind of Venice, Hellas, Norway, it depends on the traveller’s imagination. They have been appreciated by the citizens of St.-Petersburg long ago, they try to spend their holidays there. 15-20 thousand of them visit this place during the holiday time, but it could be rather dangerous for an undamaged state of the natural complex, taking into account their lack of organization. The skerries are to be in safe keeping within the framework of national park. But the organization of this park hasn’t got moving forward for the past 10 years, in spite of a ready project and happy thoughts of different power levels. The lack of coordination between municipal officials (the skerries are situated on the territory of four districts), the lack of understanding of the problem and the lack of responsibility for the fate of the natural complex of the republic leaders are the reasons for it.

Of course, the variety of the natural sights of the region extends further than the mentioned ones. Thereupon, the book of Petri Lintunena and others (1997) is of peculiar interest. This book deals with the ambulators of the prewar district, the natural sights, advertised at that time are mentioned there. In spite of the fact that the tourism was in a primitive state of development, tens of sights were pointed to in the ambulators, with the indication of certain settlements.

In general, Lahdenpohsky region has a great tourist potential, which hasn’t been well used untill now. Only in the recent 2-3 years the tourism has started to develop gradually – the hotels are opening, the travel agencies are appearing, the tourist’s routs are being formed, the allocation of the tourists in the families is being organized. A small project of TACIS “The development of fishing tourism in the region of the river Hiitola” has made the tourism process more lively.


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