Geologically, Petrozavodsk is situated on the Baltic Shield. Ancient volcanoes and multiple crustal movements shaped the city’s complex terrain, the moving ice sheet brought over the deposits needed for the soil to form, and polished rocks on the shore.
The city lies on three lacustrine terraces some 25 km long, and the landscape dominant is the bay of Lake Onega. Two natural landmarks – valleys of rivers Lososinka and Neglinka, delineate the central part of the city.
First proposals on Petrozavodsk city planning date back to 1774. They were put forward by counselor of the mining authority Anikita Yartsov.
This is when the radial ray structure of the Petrozavodsk downtown was cast to persist until today – the present-day Lenin Square and rays of the Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels streets originating from there. All transverse streets opened up to Lake Onega, and the streets parallel to the shore set the directions for further development and expansion of the city.
The key ideas from A. Yartsov’s plans were fixed also in later master plans.
… and the contemporary city
The current Petrozavodsk City Master Plan was adopted on July 11th, 2008.
The aim of the Master Plan is to facilitate qualitative development of the city and promote Petrozavodsk to a new position in Karelia, Russia and Northern Europe, to contribute to the advancement, adaptation and dissemination of high standards in the quality of life.
The long-term aspiration is to develop Petrozavodsk as:
• an administrative and economic centre of the republic, where the power engineering, machinery manufacturing and food industries prevail,
• an important transport, tourism and recreation, scientific and innovations centre for the republic,
• a university city – one of Russia’s humanitarian (educational, scientific, cultural, social) centres,
• a centre of business and enterprise,
• a comfortable and amenity-rich city with growing public welfare, promoting high urban life standards.
The biggest districts of the city:
Centre. The dominant feature of the district is the main street of the city – Lenin Prospekt. The central part of the city represents a combination of historical monuments with rapidly developing modern architecture.
Solomennoe is a residential district lying on both shores of the Petrozavodsk Bay.
The name descends from the Finno-Ugric ‘salmi’ – a straight, portraying quite accurately the location of the district at the straight connecting Lake Logmozero and the Petrozavodsk Bay.
Zareka is one of the city’s oldest districts. Originally built in the first half of the 18th century by the Peter’s plant workers. The district was placed beyond the Lososinka River, and hence the name (Zareka literally means ‘beyond the river’).
Perevalka. The district was founded in the 1930s as a lumberjacks’ camp. Timber was transferred from the yard to rail — this reloading (perevalka) gave the district its name.
Klyuchevaya used to be a remote village south of the city until the 1930s. It has now turned into a modern district with good infrastructure. The name is due to a great number of groundwater springs (klyuch) discharging in the area.
Pervomaisky district was named after its central avenue — Pervomaisky. It was there, in what at that time was the outskirts of Petrozavodsk, the second kilometre of the thoroughfare towards Petersburg, that the first revolutionary workers’ May Day meeting took place in 1906, gathering workers from the Alexander’s plant.
Kukkovka is one of the city’s first bigger districts, which lies on a low hill. The name of the district stems from the Vepsian ‘kuk’ — hill, mountain top (‘kukku’ — in Finnish).
Drevlyanka is the youngest district where construction began in 1986. It now sleeps around 65 000 inhabitants.