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Coordinates: 59°57′N 31°02′E / 59.95°N 31.033°E / 59.95; 31.033

Oreshek Fortress

Inside the fortress

Shlisselburg (Russian: Шлиссельбург; German language: Schlüsselburg; Swedish language: Nöteborg ) is a town in Kirovsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located at the head of the Neva River on Lake Ladoga, 35 kilometers (22 mi) east of St. Petersburg. From 1944 to 1992, it was known as Petrokrepost. Population: 13,170 (2010 Census);[1] 12,401 (2002 Census);[2] 12,589 (1989 Census).[3]

The fortress and the city center are UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The fortress

The first fortification was built by Swedes in 1299 but was lost to the Novgorodians in 1301. A wooden fortress named Oreshek (also Orekhov) ("Nutlet") was built by Grand Prince Yury of Moscow (in his capacity as Prince of Novgorod) on behalf of the Novgorod Republic in 1323. It guarded the northern approaches to Novgorod and access to the Baltic Sea. The fortress is situated on Orekhovets Island, whose name, refers to nuts in Swedish and (Pähkinäsaari, "Nut Island") in Finnish and Russian.

After a series of conflicts, a peace treaty, was signed at Oreshek on August 12, 1323, between Sweden and Grand Prince Yury and the Novgorod Republic which was the first agreement on the border between Eastern and Western Christianity running through present-day Finland. A modern stone monument to the north of the Church of St. John in the fortress commemorates the treaty.

Twenty-five years later, King Magnus Eriksson attacked and briefly took the fortress during his crusade in the region (1348–1352).[4] It was largely ruined by the time the Novgorodians retook the fortress in 1351. The fortress was rebuilt in stone in 1352 by Archbishop Vasilii Kalika of Novgorod (1330–1352), who, according to the Novgorod First Chronicle, was sent by the Novgorodians after several Russian and Lithuanian princes ignored the city's pleas to help them rebuild and defend the fort.[5] The remnants of the walls of 1352 were excavated in 1969 and can be seen just north of the Church of St. John in the center of the present fortress.

The fort was captured by Sweden in 1611 during the Ingrian War. As part of the Swedish Empire, the fortress was known as Nöteborg ("Nut-fortress") in Swedish or Pähkinälinna in Finnish, and became the center of the north-Ingrian Nöteborg county (slottslän).

Interior of the dungeon

In 1702, during the Great Northern War, the fortress was taken by Russians under Peter the Great in an amphibious assault: 250 Swedish soldiers defended the fort for 10 days before they surrendered. The Russian losses were 6000 men against 110 Swedish losses. It was then given its current name, Shlisselburg, a transcription of Schlüsselburg. The name, meaning "Key-fortress" in German, refers to Peter's perception of the fortress as the "key to Ingria".

During the times of Imperial Russia, the fortress was used as a notorious political prison; among its famous prisoners were Wilhelm Küchelbecker, Mikhail Bakunin and, for 38 years, Walerian Łukasiński. Ivan VI of Russia was murdered in the fortress in 1764, and Lenin's brother, Aleksandr Ulyanov, was hanged there as well.

Out of ten towers, the fortress retains only six (five Russian and one Swedish). The remains of a church inside the fortress were transformed into a memorial to the fortress's defenders. The fortress has been the site of an annual rock concert since 2003. There is also a museum of political prisoners of the Russian Empire, and a small collection of World War II artillery.

The town

The sluices of the Ladoga Canal

The town on the mainland opposite the island fortress was founded in 1702 by Peter the Great. It does not retain many historical buildings, apart from a handful of 18th-century churches. Perhaps the most remarkable landmark is the Old Ladoga Canal, started at the behest of Peter I in 1719 and completed under the guidance of Fieldmarshal Munnich twelve years later. The canal stretches for 104 versts; its granite sluices date from 1836.

In the course of the administrative reform carried out in 1708 by Peter the Great, Shlisselburg was included into Ingermanland Governorate (known since 1710 as Saint Petersburg Governorate). In 1727, it became a part of Saint Petersburgsky Uyezd, and in 1755, Shlisselburgsky Uyezd was established. In 1914, Saint Peterburgsky Uyezd was renamed Petrogradsky Uyezd. On Febryary 14, 1923 Shlisselburgsky Uyezd was merged into Petrogradsky Uyezd. In January, 1924 the uyezd was renamed Leningradsky.[6] Saint Petersburg Governorate was twice renamed, to Petrograd Governorate and subsequently to Leningrad Governorate.

On August 1, 1927, the uyezds were abolished. Shlisselburg was subordinated to Leningrad City Soviet. On August 19, 1930 Leningradsky Prigorodny District, with the administrative center in Leningrad, was established. On August 19, 1936 the district was abolished, and Shlisselburg became the town of oblast significance.[7] During World War II, the town (not the fortress) was seized by German troops. German occupation lasted from 8 September 1941 to 18 January 1943. The recapture of Shlisselburg in January 1943 by the Red Army reopened access to besieged Leningrad. Between 1944 and 1992, the town's name was Russified as Petrokrepost (literally: "Fortress of Peter"). Shlisselburg regained its former name after the fall of the Soviet Union.

In 2010, the administrative division of Leningrad Oblast was harmonized with the municipal division, and Kirovsk was made the town of district significance, subordinated to Kirovsky District.[8]



There are several shipyards in Shlisselburg.[9]


The railway platform of Petrokrepost, which has passenger service to Ladozhsky railway station in Saint Petersburg, is located on the other bank of the Neva opposite to Shlisselburg.

The A120 road, which encircles Saint Petersburg, and the M18 highway, which connects Saint Petersburg and Murmansk, pass several kilometers south of the town. The Neva and Lake Ladoga are navigable. In the beginning of the 19th century, a system of canals bypassing Lake Ladoga were built, which at the time were a part of Mariinsky Water System, connecting the Neva and the Volga River. In particular, the New Ladoga Canal connects the Volkhov and the Neva. It replaced the Old Ladoga Canal, built by Peter the Great, which thus became disused and decayed. The canals collectively are known as the Ladoga Canal. The canals originate from the Neva in Shlisselburg.



  1. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  2. Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек" (in Russian) (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  3. Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" (in Russian). Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года [All-Union Population Census of 1989]. Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  4. Michael C. Paul, "Archbishop Vasilii Kalika, the Fortress at Orekhov and the Defense of Orthodoxy," in Alan V. Murray, ed., The Clash of Cultures on the Medieval Baltic Frontier (Farnham, UK: Ashgate, 2009): 266-267.
  5. Arsenii Nikolaevich Nasonov, ed., Novgorodskaia Pervaia Letopis: Starshego i Mladshego Izvodov (Moscow and Leningrad, 1950), p. 100; Michael C. Paul, "Secular Power and the Archbishops of Novgorod Before the Muscovite Conquest," Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History 8, No. 2, pp. 237, 249; Paul, "Archbishop Vasilii Kalika," 257-258.
  6. "Петроградский уезд (1917 - янв. 1924), Ленинградский уезд( янв.1924 г.- авг. 1927 г.)" (in Russian). Система классификаторов исполнительных органов государственной власти Санкт-Петербурга. Retrieved December 14, 2012. 
  7. "Ленинградский Пригородный район (август 1930 - август 1936)" (in Russian). Система классификаторов исполнительных органов государственной власти Санкт-Петербурга. Retrieved January 10, 2012. 
  8. "Отчет о работе комитета по взаимодействию с органами местного самоуправления Ленинградской области в 2010 году" (in Russian). Комитет по печати и связям с общественностью Ленинградской области. Retrieved 16 November 2012. 
  9. "Промышленные предприятия города Шлиссельбурга" (in Russian). Retrieved 10 January 2013. 


  • Законодательное собрание Ленинградской области. Областной закон №32-оз от 15 июня 2010 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Ленинградской области и порядке его изменения», в ред. Областного закона №23-оз от 8 мая 2014 г. «Об объединении муниципальных образований "Приморское городское поселение" Выборгского района Ленинградской области и "Глебычевское сельское поселение" Выборгского района Ленинградской области и о внесении изменений в отдельные Областные законы». Вступил в силу со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Вести", №112, 23 июня 2010 г. (Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Oblast. Oblast Law #32-oz of June 15, 2010 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Leningrad Oblast and on the Procedures for Its Change, as amended by the Oblast Law #23-oz of May 8, 2014 On Merging the Municipal Formations of "Primorskoye Urban Settlement" in Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast and "Glebychevskoye Rural Settlement" in Vyborgsky District of Leningrad Oblast and on Amending Various Oblast Laws. Effective as of the day of the official publication.).
  • Законодательное собрание Ленинградской области. Областной закон №100-оз от 29 ноября 2004 г. «Об установлении границ и наделении соответствующим статусом муниципального образования Кировский муниципальный район и муниципальных образований в его составе», в ред. Областного закона №17-оз от 6 мая 2010 г «О внесении изменений в некоторые областные законы в связи с принятием федерального закона "О внесении изменений в отдельные законодательные акты Российской Федерации в связи с совершенствованием организации местного самоуправления"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Вестник Правительства Ленинградской области", №40, 20 декабря 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Leningrad Oblast. Oblast Law #100-oz of November 29, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of and Granting an Appropriate Status to the Municipal Formation of Kirovsky Municipal District and to the Municipal Formations It Comprises, as amended by the Oblast Law #17-oz of May 6, 2010 On Amending Certain Oblast Laws Due to the Adoption of the Federal Law "On Amending Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation Due to the Improvement of the Organization of the Local Self-Government". Effective as of after 10 days from the day of the official publication.).

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