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Olonets (; ; ) is a town and the administrative center of Olonetsky District in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, situated on the Olonka River, to the east from Lake Ladoga. According to the 2002 Russian Census, the population of the town is 10,240. This is a decrease from the 11,888 reported in the 1989 Soviet Union Census.


Olonets is the oldest documented settlement in Karelia, mentioned by Novgorodian sources as early as 1137. Its history is obscure until 1649, when a fortress was built there to protect Muscovy against the Swedes. The same year it was granted municipal rights. Until the Great Northern War, Olonets developed as a principal market for Russian trade with Sweden. To the south from the town, there sprawled a belt of fortified abbeys, of which the Alexander-Svirsky Monastery was the most important.

In the 18th century, Olonets's importance shifted from trade to ironworking industries. In 1773, it was made capital of Olonets Governorate. Eleven years later, however, the regional capital was moved to Petrozavodsk, and Olonets started to decline.

Modern Olonets is ranked among historical towns of Karelia, and it is the only city in the republic where Karelians are in majority (over 60% as of 2004).

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Olonets is twinned with:

See also

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