Learn more about Lake Ladoga
|Primary sources||Svir, Volkhov, Vuoksi|
|Catchment area||276,000 km²|
|Basin countries||Russia, Finland|
|Surface area||17,700 km²|
|Average depth||51 m|
|Water volume||908 km³|
|Surface elevation||4 m|
|Islands||about 660 (including Valaam)|
Lake Ladoga (Russian: Ладожское озеро, Ladozhskoye Ozero; Finnish: Laatokka) is the largest lake in Europe, and the 15th in the world (in terms of surface area). It is a freshwater lake and lies in the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast in northwestern Russia.
The lake's area is 17,700 km² (excluding the islands). Its length (north to south) is 219 km, average width is 83 km, average depth is 51 m, maximum depth is 230 m (in north-western part). Basin area: 276,000 km², volume: 908 km³. There are about 660 islands, with a total area of 435 km². Most of the islands, including the famous Valaam islands, are situated in the north-western part.
The basin of the Ladoga includes about 50,000 lakes and 3,500 rivers longer than 10 km. About 85% of the water income is due to tributaries, 13% is due to precipitation, and 2% is due to underground waters. The most significant tributaries are:
- Svir River from Lake Onega (south-east, discharge: 790 m³/s);
- Volkhov River from Lake Ilmen (south, discharge: 580 m³/s);
- Vuoksi River from Lake Saimaa in Finland (west, discharge: 540 m³/s).
- Syas River (south, discharge: 53 m³/s).
The Ladoga is navigable, being a part of Volga-Baltic Waterway connecting the Baltic Sea with the Volga River. The Novoladozhsky Canal bypasses the lake in the southern part, connecting the Neva to the Svir.
In the Middle Ages, the lake formed a vital part of the Trade Route from the Varangians to the Greeks, with the Norse emporium at Staraya Ladoga defending the mouth of the Volkhov since the 8th century. In the course of the Swedish-Novgorodian Wars, the area was disputed between the Novgorod Republic and Sweden. In the early 14th century, the fortresses of Korela (Kexholm) and Oreshek (Nöteborg) were established along the banks of the lake.
The ancient Valaam Monastery was founded on the island of Valaam, the largest in Lake Ladoga, abandoned between 1611–1715, magnificently restored in the 18th century, and evacuated to Finland during the Winter War in 1940. In Finland, the monks founded a new monastery called New Valamo that remains active and a major tourist attraction in the region. In 1989 the monastic activities in the Valaam were resumed. Other historic cloisters in the vicinity are the Konevets Monastery, which sits on another island, and the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery, which preserves fine samples of medieval Muscovite architecture.
During the Ingrian War, a fraction of the Ladoga coast was occupied by Sweden. In 1617, by the Treaty of Stolbovo, the northern and western coast was ceded by Russia to Sweden. In 1721, after the Great Northern War, it was restituted to Russia by the Treaty of Nystad. Later, in 1812–1940 the lake was the border between Finland and Russia.
During the Siege of Leningrad (1941–1944), Lake Ladoga provided the only access to the besieged city. Supplies were transported into Leningrad with trucks on winter roads over the ice, the "Road of Life", and by boat in the summer. After the World War II, Finland lost the Karelia region to the USSR, and most Finns were forced to evacuate the ceded territory. Some native Karelians, however, remained and still live there.
 Towns on the shores of Lake Ladoga
- Shlisselburg (at )
- Novaya Ladoga (at )
- Syasstroy (at )
- Pitkyaranta (at )
- Sortavala (at )
- Lakhdenpokhya (at )
- Priozersk (at )
The 2003 film Vozvrashcheniye (The Return), directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev, was filmed on and around Lake Ladoga and the Gulf of Finland. The sixteen-year-old actor Vladimir Garin, who starred in the Vozvrashcheniye, drowned in the lake shortly before the film was premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2003.ar:بحيرة لادوغا bg:Ладожко езеро cs:Ladožské jezero da:Ladoga de:Ladogasee et:Laadoga järv es:Ladoga eo:Ladoga lago fr:Lac Ladoga ko:라도가 호 it:Lago Ladoga he:ימת לדוגה lv:Lādogas ezers nl:Ladogameer ja:ラドガ湖 no:Ladoga pl:Ładoga pt:Lago Ladoga ro:Lacul Ladoga ru:Ладожское озеро sk:Ladožské jazero fi:Laatokka sv:Ladoga uk:Ладозьке озеро