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RUSSIA - LENINGRAD REGION

LENINGRAD REGION:

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The Leningrad Region's system of recreation, tourism, and sports is one of the most developed in Russia. The region has a population of 1.7 million people and is visited by more than two million guests per year. The recreational demand is related to the cultural and historic monuments of St. Petersburg and its nearest suburbs.

The cultural potential of Leningrad region is a result of its rich history. It is difficult to overestimate the historical value of the Neva grounds for . The foundation of Russian statehood was laid in Ladoga. It was in Ladoga the legendary Ruric reigned, called by the people of Ladoga to protect it with his army (since the beg. of the 18th century the town has been called Old Ladoga) - one of the largest of the medieval world’s trade centers which nowadays is rightly recognized as the ancient capital of Northern Rus. Today in Old Ladoga restoration works are conducted under the patronage of the Administration of the President of the . The President of the Russian Federation, V.V. Putin, has visited several times - in 2003 during the celebration of the 1250-anniversary of Old Ladoga, and in 2004 - at the archeological excavations conducted here for over 20 years by the Institute of History of Material Culture of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

The return of the Tikhvin Icon of Our Lady to the Tikhvin monastery of Our Lady's Assumption in the summer of 2004 was a cultural and historical event of global importance. It has become famous for many miracles of healing, but is especially esteemed as the guardian of the Northwest boundaries of . For more than 60 years, since the time of the Second World War, the icon was in the . Its return became a symbolic event - portraying the continuity of historical events which is expressed in the preservation of the cultural and spiritual heritage of our ancestors. Hundreds of thousands of people welcomed the relic all along its way to Russia, in the USA, Latvia and in Russia .

At present there are 4700 objects of cultural heritage in the region - monuments of history, architecture, culture and archeology. Among them 179 are deemed objects of cultural heritage of federal importance; 1300 are objects of cultural heritage of regional importance; 3225 are the so-called revealed objects of cultural heritage.

Of special importance for the history and culture of the territory are the monasteries founded and constructed during the period from the 13th to the 19th centuries, a number of which are active to this day: Old Ladoga, Big Assumption in Tikhvin, Trinity, Transfiguration Alexandro-Svirsky and Vvedeno-Oyatsky Island in Lodejnoe Pole District, Trinity-Zelenetsky in the Zelenets settlement of the Volkhov district, Konevsky on Konevets island in Ladoga lake. And unforgettable impression is made by the forts of Old Ladoga, Ivangorod, Koporje, Vyborg , Oreshek, Korela, Yamgorod (Kingisepp), as well as by the many monuments of wooden architecture.

The region’s proximity to Saint Petersburg , capital of the Russian empire for two hundred years, led to the construction of magnificent princely residences and manors of nobility that are of undeniable architectural and historical value. From the second half of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries the suburbs of Saint-Petersburg were a favorite place of rest for outstanding men of science, culture and arts. The Petersburg province, with its manors and settlements located less than in one day of travel from Petersburg , was an ideal place to combine creative solitude with lively cultural dialogue. The various summer residences and manors were visited at different times by poets and writers such as A.S. Pushkin, A.N. Majkov, A.K. Tolstoj, A.I. Kuprin, V.V. Nabokov, N.A. Nekrasov, I.S. Turgenev, artists N.K. Rerikh, O.A. Kiprensky, I.N. Kramskoj, I.I. Shishkin, musicians N.A. Rimskij-Korsakov (a native of Tikhvin), M.P. Musorgsky and many others.

The most precious natural resource of the Leningrad Region is an extensive system of rivers and lakes, which covers practically the entire region and links it both to other regions of as well as to neighboring countries. There are about 80 species of fish in the river and lakes of the Leningrad Region, which provide unrivalled opportunities for fishing and water sports.

The region has unique landscapes, which are a combination of coniferous and deciduous forests, granite rocks and caves, underground water springs, dunes, and sand beaches. The flora and fauna are rich and diverse. There are 60 species of mammals and 33 species of birds.