Vytegra is an administrative center of the Vytegra municipality. It is situated on the both banks of the river with the same name that is a part of the Volga-Baltic waterway. The population – 10 863 people.
The Vytegra lands were settled in old times by Finno-Ugric tribes. The Finno-Ugric names of rivers, lakes and settlements are preserved till nowadays. The name «Vytegra» is translated fr om Finno-Ugric language as a «lake river».
The first settlement under the name «Vyangi» on the location of the present city was first mentioned in 1710. The Vyangi dock was served as a transit point for shipment of goods from Rybinsk to Saint-Petersburg.
Under the edict of Peter the Great in 1710 the future canal between the Onega and Beloye Lakes was drafted. In 1715 a state shipyard was erected that built ships till 1847. A new stage of development came in 1773 after foundation of the Vytegra city on the basis of the Vyangi dock. Since 1937 Vytegra is a district center of Vologda oblast.
The plans of Peter the Great to build a canal between the Onega and the Beloye lakes came to being only in 1810 when the first ships went through the Mariinskaya waterway. The economic and cultural prosperity of Vytegra in the first half of the XIX century was connected with the canal.
Galliots and rowing boats were built. There were 2 sailcloth-manufacturing factories, a tallow candle and brick plants. Sawing and flour-grinding industries were developed.
In the second half of the XIX century the importance of Vytegra fell – the opening of railways in Russia took away the most part of cargo shipped through the Mariinskaya waterway. Reconstruction of Mariinskaya canal at the end of the XIX century led to a revival of a trade, industrial and construction life of the city. There were 3 500 inhabitants at that time, 17 stone buildings, 470 wooden houses, a sawmill, a brewery, a brick plant, 4 orthodox churches, 3 chapels, one Lutheran church, a hospital and a seminary.
During the first years of the Soviet power at the suburbs of the city a repair- and engineering works, a wood-working and fish plants were built. During the World War II the front line passed in 60 km from the city. The Vytegra municipality was the only area in Vologda Oblast wh ere military actions took place.
In 1964 the present Volga-Baltic waterway was laid that became the important transport route of the country. After the locks of the Volga-Baltic waterway were built, that took up the old Mariinskaya waterway, Vytegra became a port of 5 seas surrounding Russia: the Baltic, the White, the Caspian, the Azov and the Black seas. With every year the popularity of the tourist route along the Volga-Baltic waterway is increasing along with the popularity of the Vytegra city – one of the ancient northern cities of Russia.
Vytegra is among Russian cities with valuable historical heritage.