Staraya Ladoga (Old Ladoga), a township near St. Petersburg, just a two-hour trip by car away from the city, is a new point on Russian river cruise map after a pier capable of serving passenger ships had been launched into operation last summer.
What’s Staraya Ladoga In Brief?
Russian history is a rather complicated subject with a lot of theories on how and when the Russian state, then called Rus’, was established. Unfortunately, this variety of theories is poorly reflected in most English-language sources, including Wikipedia.
The most common theory which is also being taught in Russian schools claims that Slavic tribes inhabiting the northern-western, central and western parts of the modern Russia turned to the Varangians and asked them to send a ruler to unite all the tribes and govern them. So Rurik arrived and made Ladoga (as Staraya Ladoga was then named) his capital, that’s why the settlement is called the first capital of Russia, or, more accurately, Rus’ (or Ancient Rus’ as it’s called in Russia).
Other sources say that Rurik went first to the town of Novgorod, which means that the capital is there.
Some scientists say that Rurik was not a Varangian. And some claim he has never existed at all.
Staraya Ladoga map
Whatsoever, Staraya Ladoga is the oldest known settlement in Russia, its first houses date back to the year 753. The first known street of the country was built here and still exists (though you would hardly want to make a selfie here).
Standing here, you can say: «I’m at the birthplace of Russia!»
The township was a great trading hub due to its location. It stood on the ways «from the Varangians to the Greeks» and «from the Varangians to the Arabs».
Archeologists have been excavating the site for years and are still far from end of their work. They have extracted lots of artefacts which are on display at the Staraya Ladoga fortress (on photo below) and a nearby archeology museum.
Basic information about Staraya Ladoga, though some moments look questionable, is here.
River Cruises To Staraya Ladoga
All three major river cruise market players in Russia put Staraya Ladoga into their route maps for the navigation 2020. It’s included into
— long routes, for example, a circle route Moscow to Moscow or Nizhniy Novgorod to St. Petersburg, etc.;
— middle routes, which include a few ports of call;
— short, three to four fays, circle routes from St. Petersburg:
St. Petersburg — Valaam — Staraya Ladoga — St. Petersburg
or St. Petersburg — Staraya Ladoga — St. Petersburg.
Ships which serve short circle routes from St. Petersburg including Staraya Ladoga during the navigation 2020: «Dmitry Furmanov», «Leonid Sobolev» and «Yuri Andropov». Something like that one on photo:
Prices for St. Petersburg — Staraya Ladoga — St. Petersburg for one adult:
— from 12 900 rubles in July for one seat in a four-person cabin and 17 500 rubles in May;
— to 34 200 rubles for a seat in a luxury cabin in July and 46 500 rubles in May.
Prices for St. Petersburg — Valaam — Staraya Ladoga — St. Petersburg for one adult:
— from 17 290 rubles for one seat in a four-person cabin in May и 20 690 rubles in July;
— to 38 090 rubles for a seat in a luxury cabin in May and 44 990 rubles in July.
Prices tend to rise toward the start of a season. River cruise navigation in Russia starts in May and till late September.
Contact your travel agency to get information if there will be an English- or any language speaking guide on a vessel during your tour. Typically, they provide a guide for a group of foreign tourists, usually for 5 or more persons. At any vessel, there is an English-speaking personnel, sometimes they have staff speaking other languages.