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The history of Petrozavodsk, a contemporary of Saint Petersburg, dates back to 1703 when Peter the Great ordered the construction of an iron foundry and cannon factory on the shores of Lake Onega. During the 18th century, this facility was the first of its kind in Europe to utilize a new cutting-edge iron production technology. The factory's production included thin-walled cast-iron cannons, wedge gates, balls and shells, anchors, steam engines, and more. Here, skilled craftsmen created masterpieces of art castings that surpassed their contemporaries. At present, Petrozavodsk is the capital of Karelia and the industrial, cultural, and scientific center of the Northwestern Region. The city, with a population of about 280,000 residents, occupies 121.8 square kilometers. Petrozavodsk boasts a favorable geographic location near Russia's main cities and the border of the European Union. It is located 1,091 km from Moscow, 412 km from Saint Petersburg, and about 350 km from Finland.