(; ; ) is a town
and the administrative center of Olonetsky District
in the Republic of Karelia
, 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).
Twin towns — Sister cities
Olonets is twinned