Lake Ladoga is the largest freshwater reservoir in all of Europe and the second largest lake in our country, second only to Lake Baikal. The total area of the lake is about 18, 000 square kilometers, which is approximately equal to a state like Kuwait. About four dozen rivers flow into Lake Ladoga, and only one flows out of it - the Neva.
10 interesting facts about Lake Ladoga
- The second largest lake in Europe is Onega, also located in Russia. At the same time, its territory is almost twice as small as Ladoga, and the total volume of water is three times less. Lake Ladoga is far from the best place for swimming, even in hot summers the water temperature does not exceed 16 degrees.
- The average depth of the lake is about 70 meters. At the same time, its southern part is quite shallow, but in the north of Ladoga, not far from Valaam Island, the maximum depth reaches 230 meters. Strong winds pose a serious danger to shipping, wave heights can exceed five meters. At the bottom of Lake Ladoga there is a huge number of wrecked ships. Many ships of the Ladoga flotilla sank during the Great Patriotic War, after being damaged as a result of fierce battles. Since 2002, work has been underway to compile a register of ships and aircraft at the bottom of the lake.
- It was along Lake Ladoga that the famous "Road of Life" passed, which for a long time was the only transport route connecting besieged Leningrad with the rest of the country. In winter, on ice, and in summer by water, ammunition, medicines and food were supplied to the city, and residents were evacuated to the "mainland". Currently, several memorials have been erected on the shores of the lake in memory of that terrible time.
- A few decades ago, the water of Lake Ladoga was considered almost perfectly clean, it could be drunk without fear of health. But, scientific and technological progress has done its job, now the water in the lake is "moderately polluted". This is not surprising, as hundreds of industrial enterprises operate on the banks of Ladoga.
- There are more than 600 islands on Lake Ladoga, with a total area of 435 square kilometers. The largest of these islands is Riekkalansaari, with an area of 55 square kilometers. There are several settlements on it. But, most of the Ladoga islands do not exceed a football field in size.
- And the most famous of the islands is, of course, Valaam, which is located in the northern part of the island. Its main attraction is the Valaam stavropegic monastery, the foundation of which, according to some sources, dates back to the 10th century. According to legend, the Apostle Andrew the First-Called visited this island, erecting a stone cross on the "mountains of Valaam". The first monks of the monastery were the Monks Sergius and German of Valaam Wonderworkers, who repeated the path of St. Andrew the First-Called several centuries later.
Valaam has inspired many famous cultural figures. At different times such famous painters as I.I.Shishkin, A.I. Kuindzhi, writers N.S. Leskov, I.S.Shmelev, poet F.I. For his paintings, painted during his visit to Valaam, Ivan Ivanovich Shishkin received awards from the Imperial Academy of Arts more than once.
- Since the 9th century, the famous waterway "From the Varangians to the Greeks", connecting Northern Europe with Byzantium, ran through Lake Ladoga. This trade route retained its importance for about 300 years - until the 12th century, after which the main centers of European trade moved to the West.
- On the shore of Lake Ladoga there is the town of Staraya Ladoga (until 1703 - Ladoga), the first mention of which in Russian chronicles dates back to 862. There is a version that it was here that Prince Rurik arrived and ruled in the city from 862 to 864. This gives reason to consider Ladoga the first capital of Russia.
- The lake has always been famous for its fish, one of the main treasures is smelt - a small fish, the smell of which resembles that of fresh cucumbers. In 2018 alone, more than 700 tons of this fish were caught in Lake Ladoga. The Smelt Festival is held annually in St. Petersburg, since the 18th century it has been one of the most beloved for the residents of the city on the Neva. The event is attended by up to 80, 000 people.
- The Ladoga ringed seal is the only pinniped species living in this lake. The weight of an adult animal can reach 50 kilograms. In the second half of the twentieth century, the number of seals began to decline rapidly, in 1984 it was included in the Red Book of Russia. At that time, the population was reduced to 3, 000 individuals. Currently, the seal is much larger, fishermen even believe that it destroys too much fish, which serves as its main food. Each seal needs at least 3 kilograms of fish daily.