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Peter the First and Karelia

Brief Historical Information

The events taken place in the epoch of Peter the First (Pyotr Alexeevich Romanov, 1672-1725) directly influenced Karelia and determined its further history. In the first place Peter I was interested in Karelia in connection with the Northern Russian-Swedish war (1700 - 1725), the goal of which was to gain exits to the Baltic sea.

On the first stage of the war the territory of Karelia was used as a spring-board for attack. The sieze of Notebourg fortress, located in the mouth of the river Neva from the Ladoga lake was of great importance. In the course of action Peter I transported two war ships from the White sea to the Onega lake, and then troug the river Svir to the Ladoga lake. ("the Soverein road"). It was the first visit of Peter I to Karelia. He had estimated Karelian resourses and then used them in his further plans.

In 1702 under the order of the tsar the shipyard was founded in the mouth of the river Syas falling into the Ladoga lake at the southern borders of Olonetsky district. In tha fall of the same year the tsar took a deciesion to make the main shipyard on the other river falling into the Ladoga lake- the river Svir. In 1703 the Ladeinopolskaya shipyard was founded here. These arrangements were the beginning of the first shipbuilding progaem of the Baltic fleet. Since July 1703 Peter I had been working in Svirskaya shipyard where he fonded a few ships and was present at the lowering of the first fregate of the Baltic fleet "Standardt", which Peter himself led to St. Petersburg in October.

To provide the shipyards with cast iron and navy armament the Petrvsky-Olonetsky plants were founded, the main plant was Petrovsky cannon and cast iron plant (founded in 1703 in the mouth of the Lososinka river) including Poventsky and Alexeevsky cannon and cast iron works and Konchesersky vitriol and iron cast plants.

On the tsar`s errand the Governor of Ingermanland Alexander Danilovich Menshikov was executing general management of shipyard and plant building.

In 1714 near Konchosero mineral waters rich in iron were discovered near Konchosero in Ravdomarsh ("Marcial") waters. In 1718 Peter I ordered to bild a spa near the water spring. The buildings of the spa were: three palaces made of wood (torn down in 1780), houses for the staff and patients, Apostol Peter churchп, bult on tsar`s designe in 1720-1721.

Peter I and his wife Katherine visited the spa four times - in 1719, 1720, 1722, 1724. On his way to "Marcial waters" Peter I stayed in the settlement attached to the Petrovsky enterprise and there was built a two-storeyd palace (1719). Near the edifice caunt Menshikov`s palace was erected. It`s possible that under Peter I order "new and modern" Peter and Paul Church with a tall spier was built in Petrovskaya settlement (between 1707-1711, was burnt down in 1924). Visiting Perovsky settlement the tsa had been to the plant and forged iron in blacksmith shops with his own hands.

In 1710 the center of shipbuilding was moved to Admiralty in St. Petersburg. In 1720 the Ural region became the center of iron cast industry, so the equipment and the experts from Petrovsky plant were also moved there. Being short of orders, the Ladoga shipyards were closed in 1725, and Petrovsky plant seized its existance in 1734.

The importance of Peter I activities for Karelia was marked Katherine II government and in 1777 Petrovskaya settlement was given the priviledge of a town and a name Petrozavodsk. In 1784 Petrozavodsk got the status of a province town and became the senter of Olonetsky district (further on Olonetsky province).

On May 30, 1872 to honour the bicentenary of Peter I birthday the monument to the tsar-reformer was founded on the Round Square of the town. On 29 June, 1873 the monument was unveiled.It was the statue of Peter I, cast of bronze in St. Petersburg according to the sculpture Shreder`s designe. (Now the monument is lokated on the city embankment near the river port). Rond square was later given the name Petrovskaya, now it bears the name of Lenin).

The following places are connected with Peter I name now:

  • historical museum of the first Russian spa "Marcial waters"with Apostol Peter Church with iconostasis of XVIII century - the affiliate of Karelian State Folk Lore Museum (KSFLM), the object of Russian and foreign tuorism. In the museum there are two chairs, a table, chandelier that might be Peter I works (made during his staying at the spa).
  • exhibition "Fantastic may happen" with wax "person" of the tsar. It was created by the joint efforts of Museum-preserve"Kizhi" and Byelomorsko-Baltic steanship-line with KSFLM support in 1997. It is housed in the river port building.
  • on the rout "Souvereign road" the expaditon led by M. Danilov had been investigating for some years
  • on the place of Petrovskaya settlemnt location the archaeological works have been done by the PetrSu students led by A. Spiridonov.(on the territory of the City Park). The findings are being passed to KSFLM
  • in Karelian Fine Arts Museum funds there is a small collection of gravings of Petrin times including Peter I portraits.


  1. Byespyatich Y., Kovalenko G., Karelia under Peter I - Petrozavodsk, 1988.
  2. Mullo I. Historical and Cultural Monuments of Karelia. - Petrozavodsk , 1984.
  3. Mullo I. Petovsky Settlement. - Petrozavodsk, 1981.

The information was made up by D. Kuzhetsov, Karelian State Folk Lore Museum

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Created: 5 April 1999. Last updated: 5 April 1999.
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