The Neva is the main waterway of Petersburg and the town is situated along its banks and across the islands of its broad delta. It is one of the largest rivers in Europe by volume of water and also one of the world's shortest major rivers at only 74 kilometers.
When Peter the Great re-claimed the lands along the Neva River in 1703, he decided to build a fort to protect the area from possible attack by the Swedish army and navy. The fortress was founded on a small island in the Neva delta on May 27, 1703 (May 16 according to the old calendar) and that day became the birthday of the city of St. Petersburg.
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