Petrozavodsk is the capital of the Republic of Karelia, Russia. It stretches along the western shore of the Lake Onega for some 27 kilometers. The city is served by Besovets Airport. The city was founded on September 11, 1703 as Petrovskaya Sloboda by Prince Menshikov at the behest of Peter the Great who needed a new iron foundry for manufacturing cannons and anchors for the Baltic Fleet at the time of the Great Northern War.
During Catherine the Great's municipal reform of 1777, Petrovskaya Sloboda was incorporated as a town, whereupon its name was changed to Petrozavodsk. Petrozavodsk is distinguished among other towns of North Russia by its Neoclassical architectural heritage, which includes the Round Square and the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. Among the town's landmarks are the outdoor statues of Peter I and Gavrila Derzhavin. The modern embankment on the Gulf of Petrozavodsk displays an assortment of Karelian granites and marbles. It is lined with extravagant postmodernist sculptures presented by sister cities of Petrozavodsk from around the world.
Petrozavodsk is home to the Karelia Philharmonic Orchestra, the Karelian Musical Theatre, National Library of Karelia, Finnish-speaking National Theatre of Karelia, Petrozavodsk State University, a conservatory, a city museum founded in 1871, and a branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.
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