Leningradskaya Oblast is washed by waters of Gulf of Finland in the northwest, by Ladoga, the largest lake in Europe, in the north, and in the northeast - by Lake Onega. Historically the region is regarded as one of the most significant territories of Russia. The first capital of the ancient Russian state - Ladoga, founded in IX century by Russian prince Ruric, was in those times the first Russian city on the famous trading way "from Varangians to Greeks". Here in XII century appeared a first stone fortress in Russia.
The stone fortresses of Vyborg, Priozersk (Korel), Ivangorod, Schlisselburg (Petrokrepost) contained enemies and contributed to defensibility of Russia. Hundreds monuments erected by grateful descendants in honour of died defenders attract numerous tourists.
Since XIII century monasteries of this land turned into large spiritual centres: Alexandro-Svirsky (Lodeynoye Pole), Zelenetsky (Volkhov), Uspensky (Tikhvin), Konevetsky (the Island of Konevets on Ladoga). These and other objects of old Russian architecture excite constant interest among tourists. Severe historical destiny, closeness to Saint Petersburg, its geographical position determined the characteristic features of nature and economy of Leningradskaya Oblast.
In its territory some unique natural complexes are situated. Among them are the Lindulovskaya (Petrovskaya) grove, the State Ornithological Nizhne-Svirsky reserve, the Sablinskiye caves and other objects under protection. Here were kept numerous ancient manors, churches and chapels.
Presence of large transport communications (motorways, railway, sea and river lines) and the modern international airport in Saint Petersburg provide convenient conditions for passenger transportation.
The area of Leningradskaya Oblast is 85,9 thousand square kilometers. There are 1800 lakes in the region. The largest one is Ladoga being largest in Europe as well. Its area is 18,135 thousand square kilometers.
General extension of all rivers in the region is about 50 thousand kilometers. Largest of them are Neva, Svir, Volkhov and Vuoksa. Forests occupy 55,5 % of the oblast. There are a lot of minerals. Bauxites, shale oil and phosphorites are of the greatest industrial value.
The original scenery of this place was presented by dense forests and bogs. Even today, after centuries of economic development, forests occupy about the half and bogs almost 12 % of the region. Leningradskaya Oblast is known for its historical monuments and the developed network of cultural establishments. There are more than 3900 monuments in the region. The ethnographic potential of the oblast is determined by the peoples of different cultural level. They are the Russians, the Karelians, the Veps, the Izhors and others.