History of Sortavala

Coat of arms of Sortavala

For ages Sortavala area has been attractive to settle it in order to an exceptional geographic location as well a beneficial nature.

In XII century on a hill near the confluence of Tohmajoki and Helyläjoki rivers ancient Karelians founded a reinforced site (linnamäki) of Paaso ancient settlement, that was destroyed by Swedes later.

In a document of 1500 was a mention of Karelian Nickolsko-Serdovolsky pogost on Riekkalansaari island for the first time.

In 1632 near that churchyard on shore of Lappajärvi bay Swedes founded Sordavalla town.

The official document of town foundation dates back to 1646. The lands around a town consolidated in a county of the Banners. In 1657 Sordavalla was raised to county's town house but in 1681 county was liquidated. Sordavalla town's emblem was based on the Banners' family emblem.

In January, 1705 in the course of the North War Sordavalla during 3 days was occupied by Russian forces crossed the Ladoga Lake by ice.

According to Nischtad Peace Treaty of 1721 a town passed into Russia and renamed to Serdobol.

During the 1742-1743 war Swedes seized Serdobol and burned to ashes it.

In 1783 by decree of Katharine II Serdobol became chief town of a district in Vyborg province and in 1811 together with whole province belonged to the Finnish Grand Duchy.

After declaration of independence of Finland a town renamed to Sortavala.

During the Winter War the town was bombed by Soviet aviation.

As a result of the Winter War under the treaty of March 12th, 1940 Sortavala passed into USSR. The inhabitants evacuated over a new border.

On the 15th of August, 1941 Sortavala liberated by Finnish troops. The inhabitants came back to their houses.

Under the treaty of September 19, 1944 Sortavala again is on USSR territory. The inhabitants abandoned a town.

At present Sortavala with suburbs is administrative unit of Republic of Karelia in a part of Russian Federation.