Petrozavodsk, the capital of Karelia, is an industrial, scientific and cultural centre of Karelia with a total population of 266 000 inhabitants. The city was founded by Peter the Great as an armaments plant (The city's name means ”Peter's Plant“) in the period of the Northern War against Sweden (1703). Near the plant grew a settlement which gained the city status in 1777.
Today Petrozavodsk is not only the Republic's centre but also a vital starting point for tourists wishing to experience the Karelian wilderness. The city is situated 400 km from St. Petersburg and 268 km from the Russian-Finnish border on the shore of Lake Onego which makes the city panorama exceptionally beautiful.
Petrozavodsk is distinguished among other towns of Karelia by its neoclassical architectural which includes the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (1832) and the ensemble of the Round Square (1775). Now the complex houses the Karelian State Museum of Local Lore which displays the history of the region and its capital as well as its wildlife and ethnographical heritage. The Petrozavodsk Museum of Fine Arts houses a comprehensive collection of Karelian and Russian folk and modern art, West European art and a very interesting collection of Karelian icon painting.
Among the city landmarks are the monument to Peter I, the building of the Petrozavodsk railway station and the Onego Lake embankment with an open-air museum of modern sculptures presented by sister cities of Petrozavodsk from all around the world.