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Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Republic of Karelia stretching along the western edge of Lake Onega. Literally meaning "Peter's Factory", the city was founded in 1703 by Peter the Great to house an iron foundry to manufacture and supply anchors for the Baltic Fleet during the Great Northern War between Russia and Sweden. Founded near the river Lososinka, the same year as the northern capital - Saint-Petersburg, during a certain period of time the plant even manufactured guns. The city is no longer home to the foundry, however the remnants and ruins can be seen one of the city's numerous parks. Therefore it is fair to say that Petrozavodsk is by no means the gritty, industrial city its name would suggest! Its neoclassical facades, a large student population and connections with Finland all make for a distinctly European atmosphere, and the appealing lakefront promenade is just made for strolling. Due to it's location, Petrozavodsk has a blend of Russian and local Karelian culture, which is personified in the local cuisine and language.

The architecture of the city is mainly neoclassical, however traditional wooden buildings can be found off of the beaten track. As the capital of Karelia, it is a local hub for nightlife and shopping, with several new shopping centres opening in recent years. The National Archive of the Republic of Karelia located in Petrozavodsk is one of the largest depositories of the 17th-21th centuries documents. It was founded in 1918. What is more, Petrozavodsk has the status of a historical city of Russia. The main tourist attractions are: the Museum in the open air, Lenin square - former Round square, with the administrative buildings of 1775, Recreation Park (former Petrov park, Summer Garden - founded in 1703, the oldest park in Russia), Alexander Nevsky Cathedral, the Stone grove (with the open-cast mine - a lake) and much more!

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