River Neva (Нева́) is a 74 km long Russian river flowing from the Lake Ladoga (Ладожское Озеро - Ladozhskoye Ozero) through the Carelian Isthmus (Карельский Перешеек - Karelskii Peresheyek) and the city of Saint Petersburg (Санкт Петербург - Sankt Peterburg) to the Gulf of Finland (Финский Залив - Finskii Zaliv).
In the Middle Ages the wide and navigable river had a great importance as a link between the Baltics and the Volga portages leading to the Orient. It was a site of the famous Battle of the Neva (1240). During the 16th century the mouth of the Neva river was the site of the Swedish fortress Nyen, and the inlet to the Ladoga - of the Russian fortress Oreshek, later renamed Shlisselburg.
The former was replaced with the Peter and Paul Fortress (Петропавловская Крепость - Petropavlovskaya Krepost') in 1703. Standing on the Hare Island (Зайчии Остров - Zaichii Ostrov), the fortress is considered the first structure of present-day St Petersburg.