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Pitkäranta - a small city in the southern part of the Republic of Karelia, spread in the north-west of Russia. It stretches a narrow strip along the northeast coast of Lake Ladoga - where the rocky mountains give way to sand and pebble beaches strewn with boulders of bizarre shapes. The past of Pitkäranta, whose name is translated from Finnish as “Long Coast”, is inextricably linked with the history of three states - Russia, Sweden and Finland. Unfortunately, ancient monuments have not been preserved here, but Pitkäranta is widely known to travelers due to the beauties of its magnificent untouched nature.
Outwardly, Pitkäranta is a rather ordinary provincial city, but in the year before last and past centuries, her name was often found in scientific works and military chronicles. In the 19th century, a real treasury of minerals was discovered on the territory of the modern Pitkäranta region, which made it possible to call these lands one of the most outstanding in the content of valuable ores and minerals in the regions of Russia. In the XX century, the land became the scene of two wars - the Soviet-Finnish and the Second World War. Most of the historical sights in Pitkäranta and its environs preserve the memory of military events.
The city cannot boast of developed tourist infrastructure. Comfortable hotels and upscale culinary establishments are absent here. Travelers arriving in Pitkäranta stay mainly in tourist complexes located in the lap of wonderful nature outside the city.
Local recreation centers are quite comfortable, however, tourists do not come here for comfort. They are more attracted to the wide range of services provided in tourist complexes, including a visit to the island of Valaam, the Ladoga Skerries National Park, trips to magnificent waterfalls. For travelers, organized safari tours, fishing, hunting. In winter, snowmobile tours, SUVs, and fishing in the holes on the ice of Lake Ladoga are popular in the Pitkäranta region. The rivers of this region are well known to lovers of extreme rafting, and the mountain ranges located near Pitkäranta of the village of Impilahti are considered the best climbing place in Karelia.
History of Pitkäranta
The earliest written mention of a settlement located on the site of modern Pitkäranta dates back to the very beginning of the 16th century. Novgorod land at that time was already part of the Moscow Principality. In the scribal book of 1499-1500. it is noted that there were three courtyards of Novgorod, where three dozen people lived. Locals cultivated the land, hunted, hunted fishing.
In the XIII-XIV centuries, the northern coast of Ladoga was constantly subjected to raids by the Swedes who claimed it. In 1617, according to the Stolbovskiy Treaty, which put an end to the Seven Years' War between the Russian state and Sweden, the Northern Ladoga went to the Swedish crown. The memory of the Swedish presence is preserved by the oldest attraction in the Pitkäranta region - Varashev stone. This border sign was installed in 1618 on the Cape Varetsky near the village of Pogrankondushi, located 2 km from the coast of Lake Ladoga and 60 km from Pitkaranta. The provincial village itself, which bore the name "Kondushi" earlier, became famous due to its location. Located on a strategic hill, for centuries it has been featured in documents fixing the border territories of Russia, Sweden and Finland.
In 1721, according to the Nistadt Treaty, signed after the defeat of Sweden in the Northern War, the former Novgorod lands returned to Russia. Pitkäranta briefly belonged to one of the courtiers of Empress Catherine I, and then, as part of the Impilahti Pogost, she moved into the category of personal life property of Peter II. From 1730 to 1764, the churchyard belonging to the Vyborg province was in the possession of the Alexander Nevsky Monastery, after the College of Economy, which managed church property and tax collection, and at the end of the XVIII century it was transferred to the state treasury. In 1812, the Vyborg province became part of the Grand Duchy of Finland - the Russian governor general, which had broad internal and external autonomy. In its composition, Pitkäranta remained part of the Russian Empire until 1917.
Already at the end of the 18th century, copper ore was found in the vicinity of Pitkäranta. As a result of further geological surveys, it became clear that tin, lead, zinc, silver, iron, and gold also hide the bowels of the earth. All these treasures lay in a fairly compact territory - within the modern city and in its northern suburbs. At the beginning of the 19th century, Russian and foreign natural geologists, metallurgists, miners and simply enthusiastic entrepreneurs rushed to Pitkäranta. In the 30s, the successful industrialist Vsevolod Omelyanov laid a profitable mine on the site of the Pitkäranta copper deposit. Having built a smelter, he began mining tin.
1930s Pitkäranta. Market Square
In the mid-40s, all local mines and factories were acquired by the capital joint-stock company Pitkäranta Company, later mines and enterprises changed hands several times. In the second half of the 19th century, houses for factory workers, a school and a church were built in Pitkäranta. Young employees attended a special school in home economics - the best in the whole of the Principality of Finland. With varying intensities, Pitkäranta mines were developed until the 1950s, they were finally mothballed only in the 1980s. In addition to mining enterprises, a glass factory was operating in Pitkäranta, where high-strength products were produced, as well as sulphate - here, red paint, called “Pitkäranta”, was made from iron oxide formed during the smelting of ores. In Finland, she often painted wooden houses.
Unique scarlet Pitkärant granites with a fine-grained structure, having various shades, are widely known throughout Russia. Their development on the island of Suskuyansaari (German Island), located 12 km from the city, has been going on since the end of the 19th century. Finishing granites were used for cladding buildings in St. Petersburg, Moscow, in Finnish cities, they were in demand in the construction of many famous monuments.
No less famous are the local grenades. The Kitel deposit of these gems, located in the Pitkäranta region, is one of the oldest and largest in Russia. It was developed by both Russian and Swedes, Finns, Karelians. Spectacular stones, painted in a deep red color with a blackberry tint, flaunt in the crown of the Swedish kings. Today in a wooded area, indented with trenches, amateurs prospectors are swarming. However, it is almost impossible to find truly valuable stones here. Basically, fractured, tiny specimens come across.
By 1918, when Pitkäranta, as part of the Vyborg province, moved to independent Finland, it was a fairly large settlement, an important industrial center. In 1931, a branch of the Karelian railway was laid in Pitkäranta. In 1939-1940, during the Soviet-Finnish war, the city was almost completely burned. At the end of hostilities, Pitkaranta, together with the rest of the territory of Ladoga Karelia, moved to the USSR. The Finns returned here in 1941, but after the long defensive battles in the summer of 1944 they left Pitkäranta.
Geography and nature
Pitkäranta has the status of the administrative center of the district of the same name, located in the south-west of the Republic of Karelia. Its compact territory - 2254 km² - is adjacent to the coastal zone of Lake Ladoga, which is one of the most environmentally friendly in the region. 202 km are separated from Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, and Pitkäranta is 350 km from St. Petersburg along the highway. 115 km from the city, on the border with Finland, is located the checkpoint "Vyartsilya-Niirala". A good asphalt road leads to the border checkpoint.
Yukankoski Waterfall (White Bridges)
The landscapes of the surroundings of Pitkäranta are composed of rocky and sandy hills, taiga, rivers and canyons, the picturesque winding coast of Ladoga with its many islands and deep skerries. The local lakes are very beautiful, the largest are Ruokojärvi, Susküjärvi, Satisenjärvi. Stormy rivers flowing through the territory of the Pitkäranta district, running along stony channels, abound in rapids and waterfalls, attracting fans of high-speed rafting. Here, on the Kulismayoki River, there is the highest Yukankoski waterfall (or White Bridges) in Northern Ladoga and throughout South Karelia, consisting of two cascades located on opposite branches of the river. On the one hand, the sheer drop is 18 meters, on the other - 11 meters.
In the vicinity of Pitkäranta coniferous forests grow, dominated by spruce and pine. There are sites covered with larch, cedar. A small area of 0.6 hectares on the right bank of the Uksunyoki River is occupied by a mountain pine belonging to a rare ornamental species. The local forests are rich in mushrooms and berries - blueberries, lingonberries, raspberries. There are brown bears, foxes, wolves, moose, roe deer, fur animals.
The rather mild climate of Pitkäranta, characterized as continental with marine features, is due to its location on the Ladoga coast and the proximity of the Baltic and White Seas. It is frosty and snowy in winter, but excessively low temperatures are rare. Cold weather sets in late November and lasts until mid-March. In the coldest month - January - daily air temperature averages –7. –2 ° С, at night it gets colder to –11. –8 ° С. Frosts are possible until April, cool weather reigns and in May - the thermometer bars rarely record temperatures exceeding +15 ° C this month.
Summer arrives in Pitkäranta in the second half of June, when daytime temperatures close to +20 ° С. In the same month, mosquitoes and midges begin to annoy, which disappear only by September. The warmest month is July, during this time during the day the air temperature is usually from +19 to +23 ° С, at night - from +13 to +18 ° С. Summer weather is very unstable: clear days are often replaced by cloudy or rainy. The period of white nights begins in early June and ends in a month.
By mid-July, the coastal waters of Lake Ladoga in this area are warming up to +18. +19 ° C, but by the end of August - beginning of September, the water temperature drops to +15 ° C.
Nature of North Karelia
Before the Soviet-Finnish war of 1939-1940, Pitkäranta was clearly divided into several areas. In the far west, the headquarters of the border detachment, barracks, and stadium were located. The oldest area adjoining the main road crossing the city, where there were wooden houses, an elementary school, and a shop. This part of the city was called Peryakyulya. It bordered on the Rannankyl district - it housed a station, a Russian school, a marina, a shopping center, a post office, a pharmacy, and an office of the People's Joint-Stock Bank.
Church of the Ascension
On the island of Pusunsaari, separated from the mainland of Pitkäranta by a narrow strip of the bay, there was a pulp mill, which was adjoined by a residential wooden building. The island district of the city was the only one that survived during the hostilities of 1939-1940, when almost the entire mainland Pitkäranta, with the exception of several stone buildings and the Ascension Church, burned down. According to some reports, the temple was burned during the Great Patriotic War, and the wooden buildings on the island were demolished in the 70s with the expansion of the industrial zone and reconstruction of the plant.
Today, the pulp mill is operating successfully, and only the foundation remained from the Ascension Church, on which in 1998 a worship cross was installed. In 1995, on a site located across the street from the ruined church, they began to build a new temple. In 2001, he was consecrated in honor of the Ascension of the Lord. This beautiful wooden church is located at 1. Ascension Lane 1. In the 90s of the last century, a Lutheran church was also built in Pitkäranta. This miniature temple, located on Gorky Street, was erected at the expense of the diocese of Kuopio (Finland).
Monument "Cross of sorrow"
The only building that survived the test of war and almost completely retained its appearance is the Wallden House - a monument of Finnish architecture. Today, within its walls is the Pitkäranta Museum of Local Lore named after V.F.Sebin - a veteran of the Second World War and the initiator of its creation. The museum presents expositions devoted to the military history of the region, the construction and development of Pitkäranta mines and factories, and the nature of the Northern Ladoga. The works of local craftsmen are also demonstrated here: embroidery, wood carving, birch bark products.
Approaching Pitkäranta from the east, you will find yourself in the territory, which was the scene of fierce battles in 1939-1940 and 1941-1944. Here are located the memorial and historical complexes “Valley of Heroes” (or “Valley of Death”) and “Nietjärvi”. The first perpetuates the memory of Soviet and Finnish soldiers who died in the Winter War. In 2000, at the initiative of veterans and relatives of fallen soldiers, a monument to the Cross of Sorrow was erected near the fraternal and nameless graves. The six-meter composition made of cast iron is a cross, two female figures clinging to both sides, embodying the sorrow of Finnish and Russian mothers who lost their sons.
The Nietjärvi memorial complex covers part of the territory through which the Mannerheim Line passed, which included a system of trenches, reinforced concrete firing points and shelters, and anti-tank barriers. Bloody battles took place on this land, which became the final phase of the Svir-Petrozavodsk operation of the troops of the Karelian Front in 1944.
Memorial complex "Nietjärvi"
The memory of the old cordon between the USSR and Finland (1917-1944) is kept by a border stone located on the outskirts of the village of Pogrankondushi, near the highway. This rare copy of a foreign sign is a small granite block roughly cut from all sides. On the eastern side, the abbreviation "USSR" is indicated on it, on the western side - the word "SUOMI".
In the urban area of Pitkäranta, the mass graves of Soviet soldiers and the T-26 memorial tank located on Gorky Street resemble past wars. The memorial of military glory is located in the very center of the city.
On the vast stretch between Pitkäranta and Sortavala, many waterfalls are concentrated: the famous Ruskeala waterfalls, cascades near the village of Kairinoya, on the Sumerianjoki River. In the inaccessible virgin corner lies the majestic White Bridges waterfall, which collapses from almost twenty meters high.It got its name thanks to the light stone bridges that the Finns built on a site near a water cliff when they paved the way across the Kulismayoki River. Today, only debris remains from the bridges, and the road has not been used for a long time.
Ruskeal Falls Uksinsky Ozridge Ridge
It is possible to reach the site in front of the waterfall by car mainly in the summer, in dry weather, and only on an SUV. Tourists usually leave their cars on a dirt road 3 km from the White Bridges, and then go on foot. A staircase leads to the waterfall itself - not very strong, by the way. You can admire the waterfall at any time of the year, it is most full of water in the spring.
The Pitkäranta region, located at the southern end of the Baltic Shield, is also interesting for its geological structure, which demonstrates the stages of the formation of the local landscape over the past one and a half million years. Here, in its original form, traces of the Ice Age have been preserved: ozas (beds of ancient rivers), Kama (sandy hills), "ram's foreheads", and selga. A classic example of a landscape formed by the activity of a glacier is the Uksinsky ridge, which has the status of a geological monument. The ridge is formed by rounded boulders, surrounded by lakes with clear water. It covers an area of 1,500 hectares and is located in the vicinity of Lake Louhijärvi, 10 km from Pitkäranta.
Active holidays in Pitkäranta
Pitkäranta surroundings attract tourists not only for hiking and traveling by car. Fans of extreme water rafting also come here. The rapids Uksunyoki and Tulemajoki are most famous.
Lovers of conquering the mountain peaks can go to the village of Impilahti, located 27 km from Pitkäranta. It is located on the shores of the bay of the same name, belonging to the Ladoga Skerries National Park. One shore of the bay is low, covered by forest, and the other is a rock massif, where mountaineering routes are laid. The most impressive is the 70-meter steep cliff facing Lake Ladoga. Stunning panoramas of skerries and the water surface of Lake Ladoga open from its top.
Fishing base "Bryaus"
Fishing camps can be arranged at the camp sites located in the vicinity of Pitkäranta. Pike, trout, perch, perch, ide are found in the rivers. Rich in the underwater world and Lake Ladoga. Mostly fish are caught here for spinning and fishing rod with a float, but you can join the locals by going on an unusual night fishing. Old-timers use the ancient method of burbot extraction using exotic gear - a long pole with a hook.
Hunting is also popular in Pitkäranta. Own hunting economy, for example, has a tourist complex "White Bridges". The area of land is 150,000 ha. 28 grouse and 25 grouse currents are equipped here. They also offer hunting on a wolf, a bear, a wild boar, and an elk.
The choice of culinary establishments in Pitkäranta is limited. In the city, on Lenin Street, 40, you can visit the recently opened Dolce Cafe. The institution managed to become famous for its pleasant atmosphere, good service, the best coffee in the city and wonderful desserts. Here you can always order fresh sandwiches, panini, pizza. An inexpensive snack is offered in the Baltika cafe, on 22-A Gorky Street. The menu includes pancakes, fried eggs with tomatoes, chicken roll, scrambled eggs, coffee.
Cafe “Gornitsa”, located next to the recreation center “Long Shore”, is famous. It has a cozy atmosphere and fairly simple but tasty food. The cafe, decorated in the style of a Russian hut, specializes in serving groups of tourists and guests of a recreation center, so you can not always find free places. A comprehensive lunch here costs from 400 rubles. About the same amount you will pay for a portion of the most expensive hot dish - trout in sour cream with potatoes, mushrooms and eggs. The wine selection is quite wide.
Young people praise the PitSport bar - here you can play billiards, order good beer, pizza, light snacks. There is also a night bar in Pitkäranta - “Las Vegas” (Pobedy St., 7-A, opening hours: 21: 00-05: 00), where the situation is more “hot”. For drinks, barbecue is usually ordered here. Drinking a snack in this bar costs about 650 rubles per person.
Where to stay
The choice of places for overnight in Pitkäranta and the surrounding area is small. Half a kilometer from the center of Pitkäranta, the White Bridges Hotel is located (31-A Lenina St.). There are 36 rooms in the building, including three suites. Standard rooms are cramped, but quite comfortable and neat. In the courtyard there is a platform where you can leave the car. The daily cost of living in a double room will cost from 1900 rubles (without breakfast).
Holiday Village "Long Coast"
At 3.5 km from the center of Pitkäranta there is the popular recreation center “Long Coast” (178 Lenina St.). It is located in a wonderful place - on the very shore of Lake Ladoga. There is a private beach where you can not only sunbathe, but also go fishing - the fish bite right on the shore. Guests can stay in the main building or in one of the two-story cottages, which are designed for up to 10 people. On the territory there is a small playground, benches and swings, gazebos with barbecue facilities, a pier, from where you can go on a trip to the islands, including Valaam, by boat or meteor. Accommodation at this recreation center costs from 2950 rubles for a standard double room. The cost of renting a cottage for a company of 4 people is from 9800 rubles. Some cottages have saunas, the use of which costs 2000 rubles per day.
The hostel "Three Elements of Uuksu"
At 8 km from Pitkäranta, in the village of Uuksu, tourists will find a pretty hostel “Three Elements of Uuksu”. On its territory there are 6 log houses with a grass roof, 2 baths, places for bonfires and barbecues, a dining room with homemade food, a souvenir shop. The houses are warm, comfortable, equipped with fireplaces and electric heaters. A rapids river flows near the base, there are footbridges for fishing. Nearby is a pine forest where you can pick mushrooms and berries. Guests can rent kayaks and bicycles. The daily cost of renting a house is from 3000 rubles, an extra bed is 1000 rubles. At the base you can relax with your pets (an additional 500 rubles per day).
Directly in Pitkäranta there is no urban public transport, but taxi services can be used. A trip around the city will cost 80-100 rubles. Within the municipal Pitkäranta region, there are regular buses between the 36 settlements belonging to it. The road surface of the tracks is mainly unpaved.
How to get there
Pitkäranta is connected by regular bus services to St. Petersburg and Petrozavodsk. From the Northern capital (bus station No. 2, Obvodny Canal embankment) to Pitkäranta, the bus leaves daily at 08:35. Travel time is 7 hours and 40 minutes, the cost of tickets is from 988 rubles.
From the Petrozavodsk bus station (3 Chapaeva St.), the transport that goes to Pitkäranta on a direct route leaves every day at 16:15. The road will take 3 hours 30 minutes, the journey will cost from 550 rubles. At 07:30, 08:30, 12:00, 16:30 buses depart from the bus station in the direction of St. Petersburg and Sortavala, which make a stop in Pitkäranta. The cost of tickets is from 590 rubles.
All buses going through Pitkäranta stop at the city bus station (30 Privokzalnaya St.). At the same address is the railway station. Since 2015, this modern, spacious building, shining with a new renovation, has been empty since passenger traffic has been canceled.
One of the sections of the Blue Road international tourist route connecting Petrozavodsk with Finland, Sweden and Norway runs through the Pitkäranta region. It can be reached by car from Petrozavodsk to Pitkäranta through the Valley of Heroes (turn from the M18 “Kola” highway in Yarn). An alternative route runs through Olonets. It is longer than the previous one, and the quality of the road surface there leaves much to be desired. However, this road, winding along the shore of Lake Ladoga, allows you to enjoy spectacular views. It is worth considering that the territory of the Pitkäranta region is located on a hill, the roads pass through rocky sections, so they are winding and steep in some sections.
The path to Pitkäranta from St. Petersburg runs through Priozersk, Lahdenpohju, Sortavala.
Monument to the T-26 tank
Pitkaranta can offer its guests trips to the Yukankoski Falls and to one of the first hydroelectric power stations built in Karelia - Lyalskaya.
Several beautiful lakes in the surroundings with their unique natural world and fragile eco-balance are an excellent reason to travel to the North.
Traditionally, visitors to Pitkäranta visit such historical monuments as Varashev stone and fragments of the Mannerheim defense line, which once stretched along the border between Finland and Russia.