- Karelian Isthmus
Karelia (disambiguation)for other meanings of the name Karelia.":"For the Amorphisalbum, see The Karelian Isthmus."
The Karelian Isthmus ( _fi. Karjalan kannas, Karjalankannas; _sv. Karelska näset; _ru. Карельский перешеек) is a stretch of land of about 45-110 km wide that connects
Russiato Finland, situated between the Gulf of Finlandand Lake Ladogain northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva(between 61°21’N – 59°46’N and 27°42’E – 31°08’E). Its natural northwestern boundary is the Salpausselkäridge in Finland. The isthmus' square is about 15,000 km². The smaller part of the isthmus to the southeast of the old Russia-Finland border is considered historically Northern Ingriarather than part of the Karelian Isthmus itself. The rest of the isthmus was historically a part of Finnish Karelia, conquered by the Russian Empireduring the Great Northern War, in 1812 included within the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland(1809-1917) of the Russian Empire, which became independent in 1917, and finally ceded to the Soviet Unionby Finlandafter the Winter War(1939-1940) and Continuation War(1941-1944). In 1940–1941, during the Interim Peace, most of the ceded territories in the isthmus were included within Karelo-Finnish SSR. However, since World War IIthe entire isthmus has been divided between the city of Saint Petersburg(mostly Kurortny District), as well as Priozersky District, Vsevolozhsky Districtand Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast. According to the 2002 census, population of Kurortny Districtof Saint Petersburgand the parts of Leningrad Oblastsituated on the Karelian Isthmus was about 539,000. Besides, many more Saint Petersburgers spend their vacations there.
Geography and wildlife
The isthmus' terrain has been influenced dramatically by the
Weichsel glaciation. Its highest point lies on the Lembolovo Heights moraineat about 205 m (670 ft).
Vuoksi, the largest river, runs southeastwards from Lake
Saimaaof Finland to Lake Ladoga, dividing the isthmus into two uneven parts. Saimaa Canalopened in 1856 links Lake Saimaa to the Bay of Vyborg.
The Karelian Isthmus lies within the
ecoregionof Scandinavian and Russian taiga. Geobotanically, it lies at the juncture of the Central European, Eastern European and Northern European floristic provinces of the Circumboreal Regionof the Holarctic Kingdom.
The isthmus is mostly covered by coniferous forests formed by
Scots pine("Pinus sylvestris") and Norway spruce("Picea abies"), with numerous lakes (e.g. Lake Sukhodolskoyeand Lake Glubokoye) as well as small grass low moors and "Sphagnum" peat bogs. Forests cover approximately 11.700 km of the isthmus, more than three-fourths of its total square. Swampy areas occupy on average 5.5 percent of the territory. In the large contiguous area along the shore of Lake Ladogain Vsevolozhsky District, in the southeastern part of the isthmus, bogs occur much more frequently than in other parts. The same was once true of the lowland along Neva River, which has been drained. [ [http://www.baltic.pu.ru/forecast.eng/karelia/karelia.htm Karelian Isthmus ] ] The soil is predominantly podsol, which contains massive boulders, especially in the north and northwest, where large graniterocks occur.
Pine forests (with "
Pinus sylvestris") are the most widespread and occupy 51% of the forested area of the Karelian Isthmus, followed by spruce forests (with " Picea abies", 29%) and birch forests (with " Betula pendula" and "B. pubescens", 16%). Stands on more fertile soils and in more favorable locations are occasionally dominated by " Acer platanoides", " Alnus glutinosa", "A. incana", " Populus tremula", " Quercus robur", " Salix cinerea", "S. myrsinifolia", "S. phylicifolia", " Tilia cordata" or " Ulmus laevis". Common vegetation of various types of pine forests includes " Avenella flexuosa", " Calluna vulgaris", " Carex globularis", " Cladonia" spp., " Empetrum nigrum", " Equisetum fluviatile", " Juniperus communis", " Pleurozium schreberi", " Pteridium aquilinum", " Salix aurita", " Sphagnum angustifolium", "S. russowii" and " Vaccinium vitis-idaea". Prominent in various spruce forests are "Avenella flexuosa", " Calamagrostis arundinacea", "Carex globularis", " Equisetum sylvaticum", " Oxalis acetosella", " Polytrichum commune", " Sphagnum girgensohnii", " Vaccinium myrtillus", "V. vitis-idaea". Prominent vegetation of various birch forests include "Calamagrostis arundinacea", "C. canescens", " Filipendula ulmaria", "Oxalis acetosella", "Vaccinium myrtillus".
1184 species of wild
vascular plantsare recorded in the isthmus. [Доронина, Анна. [http://www.webstudio.fi/vyh/rus/44-163-6363.html Флористическиe исследования на Карельском перешейке] ] Red squirrel, moose, red fox, mountain hareand boar(reintroduced) are typical inhabitants of the forests.The climate of the isthmus is moderately continental, with 650-800 mm (25-32 in) average precipitation per year, long snowy winters lasting from November through mid-April and occasionally reaching about -40°C (-40 F), moderately cool summers and short frost-free period. Compared to other parts of the Leningrad Oblast, the winter here is usually milder due to the moderating influence of the Gulf of Finland, but longer.
cityof Vyborgand the townof Priozerskare situated on the northwestern part of the isthmus.
The Karelian Isthmus is a place of
ski resorts ( Korobitsynoand Kavgolovo), climbing areas (near Kuznechnoye), canoe areas (Losevo), fishingfor consumption (of carp bream, northern pike, roach, European perch, ruffe, burbotand others), mushroom hunting(of porcini, red-capped scaber stalk, birch bolete, chanterelle, " Xerocomus", slippery Jacks, milk caps, " Russula" and others), berry picking(of bilberry, raspberry, woodland strawberry, cowberry, cranberry, cloudberry, bog bilberryand stone bramble), popular summer resort for Saint Petersburgcitizens since the late 19th century, served by trains of Finlyandsky Rail Terminal. The isthmus, especially the land along Saint Petersburg–Vyborg and Saint Petersburg–Priozersk railroads, hosts numerous dachas.
A 20-35 km wide stretch of land in Vyborgsky District and
Republic of Kareliato the west of the Vyborg–Hiitola railway, as well as the islands and shores of the Gulf of Vyborg, belongs to the strictly guarded zone of the border control, reaching the shore of Lake Ladogaat Hiitola. In 1993–2006 the zone was formally 5 km wide, although in fact it has always been much wider. [See maps: [http://www.around.spb.ru/guide/steelcurtain/steelcurtain.php] (in Russian)] Visiting it is forbidden without a permit issued by the FSB (by KGBduring the time of the Soviet Union).
Geologically the Karelian Isthmus lies on the southern edge of the
Baltic Shield's crystalline bedrock. During the final part of the last Weichsel glaciation, deglaciation in the central parts of the Isthmus started as early as 14000 BP, when it formed the bottom of a large lake dammed by the surrounding ice sheet. During further deglaciation, at the time of the Baltic Ice Lake, an early high water stage of the Baltic Sea, when the ice sheet retreated to Salpausselkä, the upland area of the Isthmus remained a large island and many upland lakes emerged.Davydova, Natalia N. et al. (1996). [http://www.springerlink.com/content/m5423367j2p82762/fulltext.pdf Late- and postglacial history of lakes of the Karelian Isthmus] . " Hydrobiologia" 322.1-3, 199-204.] Prior to 12650 BP, the land was characterized by harsh Arctic conditions with permafrostand sparse vegetation. Steppe-tundracomplexes developed after this point. Around 11000 BP climate began to warm and became humid, first pine and birch forests were established. [Subetto, Dmitry A. et al. (2002). [http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/tandf/sbor/2002/00000031/00000001/art00001 Climate and environment on the Karelian Isthmus, northwestern Russia, 13000–9000 cal. yrs BP] . "Boreas" 31.1, 1-19.]
Around 9000 BP
Ancylus Lake, another stage of the Baltic Sea, retreated, and many lowland lakes were also isolated in depressions formed earlier by glacial exaration and fluvioglacial activity. Lake Ladogawas separated from the sea as well. Due to land uplift, around 5000 BP River Vuoksistarted emptying into Lake Ladoga as a new outlet of Lake Saimaa. Lake Ladoga transgressed, flooding lowland lakes and Vuoksi, and got connected with the sea at Heinjoki(now Veshchevo), to the east of present-day Vyborg. Around 3100–2400 BP Neva Riveremerged, draining Lake Ladogainto the Baltic Sea. [Saarnisto, Matti & Tuulikki Grönlund (1996). [http://www.springerlink.com/content/j5148205236j4710/fulltext.pdf Shoreline displacement of Lake Ladoga - new data from Kilpolansaari] . " Hydrobiologia" 322.1-3, 205-215.] Ladoga level gradually sank from 15-18 m to its modern position of 4-5 m above sea-level, and lowland lakes were isolated again. However, Vuoksi still had a significant direct outflow connection to the Bay of Vyborg, possibly as late as in the 12th century AD. [Timofeev, V. I. et al. (2005). [http://www.geochronometria.pl/pdf/geo_24/Geo24_12.pdf Evolution of the Waterways and Early Human Migrations in the North-Eastern Baltic Area] . " Geochronometria" 24, 81-85.] The connection disappeared due to ongoing land uplift in the 2nd millennium AD.
In 1818 a canal, which was dug to drain spring flood waters from
Lake Suvanto(now Lake Sukhodolskoye, a 40-km long narrow lake in the eastern part of the Isthmus) into Viisijoki (River Vyun) and then Lake Ladoga, unexpectedly eroded and turned into Taipaleenjoki(now Burnaya River). Taipaleenjoki started draining Suvanto and decreased its level by 7 m. Originally waters of Lake Suvanto flowed into Vuoksi River through a waterway at Kiviniemi(now Losevo), but as a result of the change, the waterway dried out. In 1857 the canal was dug there, but the stream reversed direction, revealed rapidsand rendered navigation at Kiviniemi impossible. Since 1857 Suvanto and Taipaleenjoki have constituted the southern armlet of Vuoksi River, which has decreased the level of the original northern armlet emptying into Ladoga near Kexholm(now Priozersk) by 4 m, isolating it as a separate river basin.
Cities, towns and urban-type settlements
Apart from the old towns of Vyborg and Priozersk, and churches on the
Konevetsisland of Lake Ladoga, since the late 19th century a number of other archaeological sites have been discovered on the isthmus. [Лапшин В. А. Археологическая карта Ленинградской области. Часть 2. Санкт-Петербург: Изд. СПбГУ, 1995. ISBN 5-87403-052-2] Numerous archaeological remnants of the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Copper Ageand Bronze Ageoccur all over the isthmus. The eastern part of the Karelian Isthmus hosts a number of medieval remnants. There are many grave pits of Karelians of the 10th-15th centuries with metal and ceramic artifacts along the northern armlet of Vuoksi, near Lake Sukhodolskoyeand in a few other places in Priozersky District. [Лебедев Г. С. Археологические памятники Ленинградской области. Ленинград: Лениздат, 1977.] [Saksa, A. I. (2006). [http://www.springerlink.com/content/d1738g4800t10580/fulltext.pdf The Karelian Isthmus: Origins of the natural and human environment] . " Archaeology, Ethnology and Anthropology of Eurasia" 26.2, 35-44.] On the southern shore of Lake Sukhodolskoye small medieval burial moundsare abundant as well. A lot of large cult stones have been found along these bodies of water, as well as agglomerations of cairns. Remnants of several rural settlements were also discovered there as well as on the shore of Lake Ladoga. Remnants of the Tiuri ( Tiversk) town (10th-15th centuries) were excavated on a former island in the northern Vuoksi armlet near the Tiuri village (now Vasilyevo). A few treasures of silver adornments and medieval Arabian and Western European coins have also been found, as the isthmus laid on the Volga trade route(at that time, Vuoksi Riverhad a distributary emptying into the Bay of Vyborg).
Prehistory and Medieval
Finnic peoplewandered to the Karelian Isthmus possibly around 8500BCE.
During 17th century Sweden gained the whole isthmus and also
Ingria. In this time many Karelians escaped to Tver's Karelia.
From 1721–1812 the isthmus belonged to the
Russian Empire, won in the Great Northern Warthat started with the Russian conquest of Ingria where the new imperial capital, Saint Petersburg, was founded (1703) in the southern end of the isthmus, in place of old Swedish town Nyenskans. Then in 1812, the northwestern half was transferred, as a part of Old Finland, to the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland, created in 1809 and in a personal unionwith Russia.
Due to its size, favorable climate, rich fishing waters and proximity to
Saint Petersburg, the capital of the Russian Empire, the Karelian Isthmus became the wealthiest part of Finland once the industrial revolutionhad gained momentum in the 19th century. The railroads Saint Petersburg–Vyborg–Riihimäki (1870), Vyborg–Hiitola–Sortavala (1893), Saint Petersburg–Kexholm–Hiitola (1917) crossed the isthmus, contributing to its economic development. By the end of the 19th century the nearby areas along the Saint Petersburg–Vyborg section had become popular place of summer resort for wealthy Saint Petersburgers.
" 33.1, 107-113.]
World War II
A number of defensive lines crossed the isthmus during the Soviet-Finnish hostilities in
World War II, such as Mannerheim Line, VKT-line, VT-line, Main line (Finnish) and KaUR(Soviet), and fronts moved back and forth over it. [Vehviläinen, Olli. "Finland in the Second World War: Between Germany and Russia".New York: Palgrave, 2002. ISBN 0-333-80149-0]
In November 1939, the
Soviet Unionstaged the Shelling of Mainilaand invaded Finland in what became known as the Winter War, which took a disproportionally heavy death toll on the Red Army. Only in February 1940 did the Soviet forces manage to penetrate the Mannerheim Lineacross the isthmus, strength of which is often exaggerated. [Van Dyke, Carl. "The Soviet Invasion of Finland 1939-1940". London: Frank Cass, 1997. ISBN 0714643149.] Finland ceded the Karelian Isthmus and Ladoga Kareliato the Soviet Union in the Peace of Moscow of March 12. According to the protocol appended to the Moscow Peace Treaty, the fighting was ended at noon (Leningrad time), March 13, and by March 26 the Finnish troops had been completely withdrawn. [ [http://heninen.net/sopimus/1940p_e.htm Protocol appended to the treaty of peace concluded between Finland and The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics on March 12, 1940] ] The entire Karelian population of the ceded areas of about 422 thousand people was evacuated to other parts of Finland(see Evacuation of Finnish Karelia). On March 31 most of the ceded territories were incorporated into Karelo-Finnish SSRby a decision of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union(in the Karelian Isthmus the districts of Jääski, Kexholmand Vyborg). The districts of Kanneljärvi, Koivisto and Rautuas well as the town of Terijokiwere, however, included into Leningrad Oblast.Степаков, Виктор, Евгений Балашов. [http://kannas.nm.ru/new_district.pdf В «Новых районах»: Из истории освоения Карельского перешейка, 1940-1941, 1944-1950] . Saint Petersburg: Нордмедиздат, 2001.]
In 1941, during
World War II, Germany invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. Few days later Continuation Waras it is known in Finland (it is considered to be a front of the Great Patriotic Warin the Soviet Union and Russia) started. Finland initially regained the lost territory, reaching the Russian side of the border of 1939 and seen by the Russians as indirectly contributing to the Siege of Leningrad(see Finnish reconquest of the Karelian Isthmus (1941)). Some 260,000 Karelian evacuees returned home.
9 June, 1944, strong Soviet forces opened a counter-offensive and pushed the front from the pre-1939 border to Vyborg in ten days. The returned Karelians were evacuated to Finlandagain. In the Battle of Tali-Ihantala, 25 June– 9 July, the Finns concentrated their military strength and brought the offensive to a halt at the River Vuoksi, in the northwesternmost part of the isthmus, at the closest point only 40 kilometres from the border of 1940. The Moscow Armisticeending the war was signed on September 19 1944. The entire isthmus became Soviet, although most of it has never been captured by the Soviets in battles. This time the ceded territories of the Karelian Isthmus (including the districts of Jääski, Kexholmand Vyborg) were incorporated into Leningrad Oblast(unlike Ladoga Karelia, which remained within the Karelo-Finnish SSR). The border of the Moscow Peace Treaty (1940)was recognized by Finland again in the Peace of Paris, 1947. see|Winter War|Continuation War
After the war
As a result of the war, the population of the Karelian Isthmus has been almost completely replaced. After the war the isthmus was included into the
Leningrad Oblastand people from other parts of the Soviet Union, mostly Russian, were settled here. The vast majority of the old Finnish toponyms in the conquered territories were renamed to invented Russian ones by the government around 1948. The Finnish toponyms of the territories included within Karelo-Finnish SSR and of the southern part of the isthmus (albeit assimilated) mostly remained. A lot of youth summer camps were built all over the isthmus during the time of the Soviet Union. Some of them still exist.
In 1998 construction of a 32-meter (100 ft)
radio telescopewas completed in Svetloye on the Karelian Isthmus (coord|60|31|N|29|46|E|display=inline).
s, is also located here.
motorwayon the isthmus is the recently completed E18 "Scandinavia" (M10) going from Saint Petersburgthrough Vyborgand Vaalimaa. Saimaa Canal(opened in 1856) is an important link connecting inland waterways of Finlandwith the Gulf of Finland.
The Karelian Isthmus is served by a number of railways; the trains arrive from
Finlyandsky Rail Terminaland Ladozhsky Rail Terminalof Saint Petersburg:
Saint Petersburg-Hiitola railroad
*eastern part of the
Saint Petersburg-Riihimäki railroad
Saint Petersburg– Sestroretsk- Beloostrov
*southern part of the
Saint Petersburg– Vsevolozhsk– Ladozhskoye Ozero
Saint Petersburg– Vsevolozhsk– Petrokrepost– Nevskaya Dubrovka
Veschevo(earlier also through Zhitkovoto Michurinskoye)
Kamennogorsk– Svetogorsk– Imatra
Zelenogorsk– Primorsk – Sovetsky - Vyborg
pulp-and-paper, timber and woodworkingindustries ("JSC Svetogorsk", pulp and paper mill in Svetogorsk, "Vyborgsky Pulp and Paper Mill" in Vyborg, "Priozersky Furniture and Woodworking Industrial Complex" and "Priozersky Woodworking Factory" in Priozersk, as well as other smaller enterprises all over the isthmus) are well developed in Vyborgsky and Priozersky Districts. The pulp and paper industry, however, affects the environment adversely. The predecessor of the Priozersk facilities, "Priozersky Pulp and Paper Mill", a major polluter of Lake Ladogaconstructed in 1931, was closed down in 1986. Northern and western parts of the isthmus are also an important reserve of granite(quarries in Kuznechnoye, as well as a number of others along the Vyborg-Hiitola railroad). [Малков, Виктор (2006). [http://spbpromstroy.ru/93/30.php Потенциал недр] . "Промышленно-строительное обозрение" 93.]
Vsevolozhsky Districtstate-owned "Morozov Plant" is located, which is an important producer of paints, adhesives, abrasives and other substances. In Kuzmolovsky, Vsevolozhsky District, near the station Kapitolovo of the Saint Petersburg–Hiitola railroad, a facility of the Saint Petersburg nuclear enterprise "Izotop" is located, which specializes in transportation of nuclear materialsand radioactive waste. Bogsof Vsevolozhsky Districtalong the shores of Lake Ladogaand Neva Riverwere major sources of peatfor fuel. Now it is extracted in smaller quantities, mostly for agricultural purposes. The district is also an important supplier of sand. A plant of Ford Motor Companyproducing Ford Focus cars was opened in Vsevolozhskin 2002.
The Karelian Isthmus is included within
Leningrad Military Districtof the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. The isthmus hosts airfields in Levashovo, Pribylovoand Gromovo. Other airfields in Veshchevoand Kasimovo(Vartemyagi) have been abandoned. In the northern part of Vsevolozhsky District, to the south of the old Finnish border, Karelian Fortified Region(KaUR) is located, which was reconstructed as late as in the 1960s, but now seems to be abandoned as well. There is "Bobochinsky tank range" (195.975 km², founded in 1913) between Kamenka and Kirillovskoyeand a number of military facilities in Vsevolozhsky Districtin the lowlands between Lake Ladogaand Saint Petersburg-Hiitola railroad, including "Rzhevsky artillery range" (founded in 1879), a huge area encircled by the Road of Life, the roads Rzhevka- Devyatkinoand Devyatkino - Matoksaand the coast of Lake Ladoga(available for visitors since 2003). In 2006 an over-the-horizon radarwas built in Lekhtusi, Vsevolozhsky District. The port of Vysotskis a base of the Baltic Fleet. 138th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade is dislocated in Kamenka, and 56th District Training Centre in Sertolovo.
Notable people from the isthmus
Martti Ahtisaari, Finnish president
Georg Elfvengren, Finnish military commander
Gustav Hägglund, Finnish military commander
Max Jakobson, Finnish diplomat
Gustaf Komppa, Finnish chemist
Juho Niukkanen, Finnish politician
Karl Lennart Oesch, Finnish military commander
Larin Paraske, Finnish oral poet
Uno Ullberg, Finnish architect
Johannes Virolainen, Finnish politician
Artturi Ilmari Virtanen, Finnish chemist, recipient of the 1945 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
* [http://www.around.spb.ru/maps/ Detailed and historical maps] (site navigation in Russian)
* [http://kannas.nm.ru Site of the local history association "Karelia"] (in Russian).
* [http://www.terijoki.spb.ru/ Terijoki.spb.ru] (in Russian)
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Юго-западный сектор, часть 1: Кивеннапа - Териоки (Первомайское - Зеленогорск). СПб.: Новое время, 1998. ISBN 5930450161.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Юго-западный сектор, часть 2: Уусикиркко (Поляны). СПб.: Новое время, 2000. ISBN 5875170220.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Юго-западный сектор, часть 3: Каннельярви - Куолемаярви (Победа - Пионерское). СПб.: Новое время, 1998. ISBN 593045017Х.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 2-3. Юго-западный сектор: Уусикиркко - Куолемаярви - Каннельярви (Поляны - Красная Долина - Победа). 2-е изд., перераб. и доп. СПб.: Нива, 2002. ISBN 586456124Х.
*Шитов Д.И. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 4. Восточный сектор: Рауту - Саккола (Сосново - Громово). СПб.: Нордмед-Издат, 2000. ISBN 5931140409.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 5. Западный сектор: Койвисто (Приморск). СПб.: КультИнформПресс, 2002. ISBN 5839202169.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 5 - 6. Западный сектор: Койвисто - Йоханнес (Приморск - Советский). 2-е изд., испр. и доп. СПб.: Нива, 2003. ISBN 5864561029.
*Орехов Д.И., Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 7. Центральный сектор: Муолаа - Яюряпяя (Красносельское - Барышево). СПб.: Нива, 2004. ISBN 5864560782.
*Орехов Д.И., Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 8. Восточный сектор: Метсяпиртти (Запорожское). СПб.: Нива, 2005. ISBN 5864561169.
*Балашов Е. А. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 9. Центральный сектор: Валкъярви - Вуоксела (Мичуринское - Ромашки). СПб.: Нива, 2005. ISBN 5864560650.
*Шитов Д.И. Карельский перешеек: Земля неизведанная. Часть 10. Северо-восточный сектор: Ряйсяля (Мельниково). СПб., 2006. ISBN 5864561185.
*Иллюстрированный определитель растений Карельского перешейка / Под ред. А. Л. Буданцева, Г. П. Яковлева. – СПб: СпецЛит, 2000.
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