City Guide: Top 5 things to do in Petrozavodsk

Petrozavodsk is the capital city of Karelia (called Petroskoi in Karelian) and sits on the western edge of the beautiful Lake Onega. If you find yourself in this Russian town on business or as part of a holiday to the area, then read on and add our top five things to do in Petrozavodsk to your itinerary.

    1. The Wishing Tree

Take a few minutes to visit the famous ‘wishing tree’ sculpture in the park beside Lake Onega. This unique sculpture portrays a life-size tree that you can ask to make your wish come true. Just to make sure your wishes are heard, the tree has a large ear carved into the trunk with a ‘whisper your wish’ sign above it in Russian.  There used to be little bells on the branches of this tree that have now been lost. The sculpture was a gift from the people of Sweden in 1996. If the weather is fine then this park is a great place to spend some time enjoying the sculptures and great views of the lake.

    1. The ‘Black Tulip’ memorial

Another interesting sculpture to visit during your stay in Petrozavodsk is the ‘Black Tulip’ memorial. This war memorial opened in 1992 in memory of those who lost their lives in Afghanistan, and is situated in the historical part of the city, called ‘Senatorka’. It’s a granite monument surrounded by an alley with the names of 56 soldiers, images from the Afghan war, and the following lines from a poem shown on it:

I will remain young forever
And will live in the short word ‘Memory’

The sculpture has a contemporary, abstract feel and looks like a tulip with its petals opening up.

    1. Recreation Park (Petrov Park)

Formerly called Petrov Park, this is the oldest park in Russia  and was founded in 1703. The park was created as the garden around Peter the Great’s Imperial Palace, and was designed to reflect the aesthetic principles of French Baroque gardens of the time. The park has a lot of interesting historical monuments and a grand pond that was built to adorn Peter’s courtyard. Families can enjoy a day at the park with merry-go-rounds and other fairground rides in a relaxing, festive atmosphere.

    1. Peter the Great monument

This monument dedicated to the founder of the city, Peter the Great, is considered one of the best statues commemorating the Tsar in the region. Its construction started on 30th May, 1872, to celebrate 200 years since Peter the Great’s birth. The statue stands two meters high on a granite pedestal. Peter the Great founded the town around an iron foundry to supply his Baltic Fleet at the time of the Great Northern War with Sweden (1700-1721).

    1. The Onega Embankment

The Onega Embankment is like an art gallery under the sky. This area of open ground near Lake Onega is home to many of the city’s sculptures, including The Wishing Tree and the Peter the Great monument. The sculptures were created for the city’s 300th birthday and were gifted from all over the world. The Embankment is just a 30-minute walk from the Park Inn by Radisson, Petrozavodsk, which provides convenient central accommodation for visitors who want to explore the city. Take a walk along the lakeside and enjoy the uniqueness of this special place.

What’s your favourite sculpture in a public place?