Lake Ilmen

Coordinates: 58°16′12″N 31°17′18″E / 58.27000°N 31.28833°E / 58.27000; 31.28833
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Lake Ilmen
Lake Ilmen is located in Novgorod Oblast
Lake Ilmen
Lake Ilmen
LocationNovgorod Oblast
Coordinates58°16′12″N 31°17′18″E / 58.27000°N 31.28833°E / 58.27000; 31.28833
Primary inflowsMsta, Lovat, Shelon
Primary outflowsVolkhov
Catchment area67,200 km2 (25,900 sq mi)[1]
Basin countriesRussia
Max. length40 km (25 mi)
Max. width32 km (20 mi)
Surface area982 km2 (379 sq mi)[1]
Max. depth10 m (33 ft)
Water volume12 km3 (2.9 cu mi)
Surface elevation18 m (59 ft)
The Volkhov River drainage basin

Lake Ilmen (Russian: И́льмень, IPA: [ˈilʲmʲɪnʲ]) is a large lake in Novgorod Oblast, Russia. A historically important lake, it formed a vital part of the medieval trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks. The city of Veliky Novgorod, which is a major trade-center of the route, lies six kilometres (3.7 mi) below the lake's outflow.

According to Max Vasmer's Etymological Dictionary, the name of the lake originates from Finnic Ilmajärvi, which means "air lake". Thanks to Novgorodian colonisation, many lakes in Russia have names deriving from Lake Ilmen.[2] Yuri Otkupshchikov has argued that the presence of the name "Ilmen" in Southern Russia can't be explained by Novgorodian colonisation alone, and proposed a Slavic etymology instead.[3]

The average surface area is 982 square kilometres (379 sq mi) (it may vary between 733 square kilometres (283 sq mi) and 2,090 square kilometres (810 sq mi) depending on water level). The lake is fed by 52 inflowing rivers, the four main ones being the Msta, the Pola, the Lovat, and the Shelon. It is drained through a single outlet, the Volkhov, into Lake Ladoga, and subsequently via the Neva into the Gulf of Finland. The source of the Volkhov is marked by the Peryn Chapel built in the 1220s.

The basin of Lake Ilmen contains vast areas in Novgorod, Pskov, and Tver Oblasts of Russia, as well as minor areas in the north of Vitebsk Region in Belarus.

The water level is regulated by the Volkhov hydroelectric plant situated downstream the Volkhov River. Water temperature in July is 19-20 °C. The bathing season is about 90 days.

Lake Ilmen is navigable. Shipping lines are Veliky NovgorodStaraya Russa and Veliky NovgorodShimsk. There is a fishery in the lake.

The lake area was the location of an important battle during World War II, the Demyansk Pocket.


Media related to Ilmen Lake at Wikimedia Commons

  1. ^ a b Озеро Ильмень (in Russian). State Water Register of Russia. Retrieved 15 March 2012.
  2. ^ Фасмер, Макс. Этимологический словарь Фасмера (in Russian). p. 230.
  3. ^ Откупщиков Ю. В. Индоевропейский суффикс *-men-/*-mōn- в славянской топонимике // Откупщиков Ю. В. Из истории индоевропейского словообразования. СПб.: СПбГУ, 2005. С. 243—261. (in Russian)