What to see and do in Priozersk

The Korela fortress

On a recent day trip, I rented a car and drove to Priozersk (Приозерск). Priozersk is a small town of around 19,000 people in the Leningrad Oblast region of Russia, roughly two hours drive from Saint Petersburg. Located near the border with the Karelia region, it is sandwiched between Lake Ladoga and the Vuoksi River. It is a very old, and beautiful town and is definitely worth a day trip i you have the time. You can drive there or take a train. Here is what to see and do in Priozersk

Korela Fortress
The Korela Fortress

The main attraction in Priozersk is the Korela Fortress. The first mention of the Korela fortress dates back to 1143, but after the original wooden fortress burnt down it was rebuilt with stone in the 14th century. The ownership of the Korela fortress and Priozersk has changed hands many times. Originally it was part of the Novgorod Republic, and than Muscovite Rus which would become the predecessor to the Tsardom of Russia. The Kingdom of Sweden captured the fortress twice, from 1578-1595 and then again from  1611-1710. Russia would then again rule it for another 100 years, before Finland would incorporate it (1812-1940). During the second world war, Priozersk and the Korela Fortress would go back and forth between Finland and the Soviet Union, like much of this region, but since 1944 it has been part of the Soviet Union and now Russia. Korela is also rumoured to be the death and burial spot of King Rurik, the founder of the Rurik Dynasty which would become Kievan Rus, and eventually the Tsardom of Russia.

Memorial stone to King Rurik
“In the year 879 Rurik died in the war in Korela, and was buried in Korela”

The Korela fortress costs 100₽ to enter, and once inside there is a museum which has many old weapons, armor, clothing, and other tools that have been found in the fort in addition to some WWII era items. There is another small museum which has pictures, and some history about the fortress. The last two points of interest inside the fortress are the building which was used as a prison for a few of the 1825 Decembrists. This building also contains what remains of the tunnel system that was built under the fortress. The final point of interest is a small tunnel that you can walk into.

Apart from the Korela fortress, Lake Ladoga is very pretty, and definitely worth a visit either in

Statue of Lenin
Statue of Lenin in the square

Priozersk or one of the other towns along the lake. In the centre of Priozersk there is a square which has “The Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary”. In front of the cathedral is a small monument to Peter the Great, and opposite the church is a statue of Lenin. In a park not far from the square there is also a statue of Mowgli and Bagheera from the Jungle Book. I’m not entirely sure why there is a statue of them, but apparently it’s the only statue of Maugli in all of Russia.

Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Priozersk is definitely an interesting town to visit, especially if you are into history. It is very small, and all the sites are walking distance of each other. From the square to the Korela Fortress was maybe a 15 minute walk at most. It is worth a visit, and if you rent a car you can drive down Lake Ladoga and visit a few other towns on the way back to Saint Petersburg.

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