Luga (Russian: Лу́га; Finnish: Laukaa; Votic: Laugaz) is a town and the administrative center of Luzhsky District of Leningrad Oblast, Russia, located on the Luga River 140 kilometers (87 mi) south of St. Petersburg. Population: 38,593 (2010 Census); 40,434 (2002 Census); 41,769 (1989 Census).
Luga was founded on the banks of the river of that name by order of the Catherine the Great on August 3, 1777. Locals divide the town’s development into six stages:
Early growth to population of 3,000 (c. 1810–c. 1860)
Intense social and urban development (c. 1870–1910)
Soviet development according to the typical plan for smaller towns (1926–c. 1950)
Reconstruction of the historical town structure (c. 1960–c. 1995)
Transition to free market agro-industrial town (c. 1995–2005).
The World War II German advance on Leningrad was temporarily halted by seven regular, militia and irregular divisions in the Luga area and this delayed the commencement of the Siege of Leningrad by over a month. In recognition of this feat, the town was awarded the title of «Hero City» and listed as one of the World War II Cities of Military Glory by Vladimir Putin on his last working day as president. German occupation of Luga lasted from August 24, 1941 to February 12, 1944.