Karelia, the land of the Karelian peoples, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Finland, Russia, and Sweden. It is currently divided between the Russian Republic of Karelia, the Russian Leningrad Oblast, and Finland (the regions of South Karelia and North Karelia).
Karelia stretches from the White Sea coast to the Gulf of Finland. It contains the two largest lakes in Europe, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. The Karelian Isthmus is located between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga.
The border between Karelia and Ingria, the land of the closely related Ingrian people, had originally been the Neva river itself but later on it was moved northward into Karelian isthmus to follow the Sestra River, today in the Saint Petersburg metropolitan area, but in 1812–1940 the Russo-Finnish border.
On the other side of Lake Ladoga, River Svir is usually thought of as the traditional southern border of Karelian territory, as Lake Saimaa marks the Western border while Lake Onega and the White Sea mark the Eastern border. In the North there were the nomadic Samis, but no natural border except for huge woods (taiga) and tundra.
In historical texts Karelia is sometimes divided into East Karelia and West Karelia, which are also called Russian Karelia and Finnish Karelia respectively. The area to the north of Lake Ladoga which belonged to Finland before World War II is called Ladoga Karelia, and the parishes on the old pre-war border are sometimes called Border Karelia. White Sea Karelia (sometimes the Finnish or Karelian term "Viena Karelia", or in some English-language sources, "White Karelia", is used) is the northern part of East Karelia and Olonets Karelia is the southern part.
Tver Karelia denotes the villages in the Tver Oblast that are inhabited by Tver Karelians.
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