According to eshaoxing, the city of Sortavala is located in the southwestern part of Karelia on the northern coast of Lake Ladoga. It is located on the shores of the narrow Lappäjärvi Bay, 270 km west of Petrozavodsk and 50 km from the Finnish border.
For the first time, a Karelian fortified settlement on the site of a modern city was mentioned in chronicles under 1137, and a similar name Sortevala was first found in 1468 in Swedish documents. In 1500, the settlement was mentioned in Russian chronicles as the Servolovsko-Nikolsky churchyard, which was under the control of Novgorod. In the period from the 16th to the 17th centuries, as a result of the Russian-Swedish wars, the churchyard passed from one state to another. At this time, in 1632, the Swedes founded the city of Sordavala here. In 1721, following the results of the Northern War, southwestern Karelia was ceded to Russia., and the city was renamed Serdobol. During the war of 1742-1743, the Swedes captured Serdobol and destroyed it. Under Catherine II in 1783, Serdobol became a county town. In 1811, when Finland passed from Sweden to Russia, the entire province was included in the Grand Duchy of Finland. In the 19th century, when military operations were not conducted on this territory, Serdobol turned into a major center for the trade in marble, furs, resin, oil and grain. Serdobol fairs were the largest in Finland. In 1893, a railway to Vyborg was built here, and there was also a steamship connection with St. Petersburg. In December 1917 Finland gained independence, in the same year the city became officially known as Sortavala and became part of the Vyborg province. In 1939, the “Winter War” began with Finland. The city was captured by Soviet troops several times. Finally, Sortavala became part of Russia only in 1944 after the signing of a peace treaty. Today, Sortavala is a quiet town, the only one in Karelia where the historical planning and buildings of the late 19th century have been preserved. That is why in 1990 he was awarded the title of “historical”.
Sortavala is the second tourist center of Karelia, because it is from here that excursions around the Valaam archipelago begin . Sortavala is located 42 km from the archipelago. Tourist boats and boats run from here to Valaam. The very path from Sortavala to Valaam is a whole excursion, during which you can see small islands covered with forests, sheer cliffs, bays, straits and inter-island lakes. Local sunsets of extraordinary beauty will remain forever in memory. The Valaam archipelago is one of the most popular attractions in Russia, where the historical and cultural heritage of the country is presented.
In the city of Sortavala there are many attractions. About 90 buildings of the city have historical and cultural value. It presents a variety of architectural styles of the 19th and 20th centuries: Western European modernism, classicism, neoclassicism, national romanticism, pseudo-Gothic and folk wooden architecture.
Lappäjärvi Bay divides the city into two parts – northern and southern. They are interconnected by the Karelian bridge. The construction of the bridge ended in 1931, at the time it was the longest bridge in Finland. The historical center of the city is located in the northern part of the city, the pier is also located here, from where they go to Valaam. In the southern part of the Old Town, not far from the Karelian Bridge, is the triangular Väinämöinen Square.. The city hall (1907), the Finnish Bank (1915) and a monument to the rune singer Petri Shemeikka are located on the square. The bronze sculpture by Petri Shemeikke was installed in 1935 on the centenary of the first edition of the Kalevala epic. Kalevala is a Karelian-Finnish poetic epic that links together folk songs – runes. Petri Shemeikka was one of the most famous rune singers who performed all over the world. It is worth noting that Väinämöinen Square is named after one of the heroes of the Kalevala. Karelskaya street originates from the square , on which most of the architectural sights of the Old Town of the 19th-20th centuries are located.
Toward the end of Karelskaya Street stands the Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker.. The church was built in 1873 with the money of the merchants Eliseevs and became one of the first stone buildings in the city. Among the oldest buildings in the northern part of Sortavala, one can also single out the buildings of the former City Administration, which now houses the library (1885), the former lyceum (1901) and the former house of the People’s Bank (1905). On Komsomolskaya Street, the Exhibition Hall of Gogolev K.A. is interesting. . Kronid Alexandrovich Gogolev is one of the few masters of relief woodcarving in Russia, known all over the world. Visiting the exhibition hall, you will see more than 100 works by Gogolev dedicated to his native land – Karelia.