Top Historic Sights in Kemiönsaari, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Kemiönsaari

Bengtskär Lighthouse

Towering 52 meters above the sea, Bengtskär lighthouse is the tallest one in Scandinavia. The building started in in 1905 after the shipwreck of S/S Helsingfors and was completed in 1906. The lighthouse was designed by architect Florentin Granholm. On December a special petrol lantern, designed and built in Paris, was brought to Bengtskär and installed atop the tower. German fleet bombarded Bengstkär in the First Worl ...
Founded: 1905-1906 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

Hiittinen Church

St Andrea's Church in Hiittinen (Hitis) was built in 1686 and it’s the second oldest cross shape church in Finland. There was a chapel in Hiittinen already in the 13th century. Some stone wall ruins of that building are remaining in the small cemetery.The altarpiece is painted by A.F.Ahlstedt, and the pulpit is a late plainer replica of the one in the Dome of Turku from 1650.
Founded: 1686 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

Söderlångvik

Söderlångvik has been inhabited since the early 16th century. In the past it frequently changed hands. Owners in the sixteenth century were called de Jonsson or Jönsson, in the 17th century Michelsson, Tomasson, Sigfridsson and Faxell-Cronmarck. In the 18th century Söderlångvik was owned for a long period by the Thesleff family and in the early 19th century by the af Petersen and Ramsay families, owners of Björkboda ...
Founded: 1934-1935 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

Västanfjärd Churches

The Old Church of Västanfjärd was built in 1759-1760. The wooden octagon shaped church was designed by Isak Olin and it’s dedicated to St. Jacob. The belfry was erected in 1763. Interior is mostly from the 19th century.The newer stone church is located near the old church site. It was built 1910-1912 and represents the Romantic Nationalism style. It was designed by Helge Rancken. The altarpiece (painted by ...
Founded: 1759 & 1910 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

Angelniemi Church

Angelniemi Church was built in 1772 by famous church builder Matti Åkerblom. It is oblong in shape, and the belfry is annexed to the church as if it was a bell-tower. The church has been restored several times in the 19th century, and in the 20th century. The altarpiece was painted by Aleksandra Stålt in 1897. There is also a crucifix from the 14th century. The pulpit was made in 1772.
Founded: 1772 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

The Sagalund Museum

The Sagalund Museum is one of the oldest and largest open-air museums in Finland. It consists of 26 historically valuable buildings with about 70 authentic room interiors. Among them are a courthouse from the 18th century and an old school from1649. There’s also a library with e.g. studies of Linné.
Founded: ca. 1900 | Location: Kemiönsaari, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lorca Castle

Castle of Lorca (Castillo de Lorca) is a fortress of medieval origin constructed between the 9th and 15th centuries. It consists of a series of defensive structures that, during the Middle Ages, made the town and the fortress an impregnable point in the southeast part of the Iberian Peninsula. Lorca Castle was a key strategic point of contention between Christians and Muslims during the Reconquista.

Archaeological excavations have revealed that the site of the castle has been inhabited since Neolithic times.

Muslim Era

It has not been determined exactly when a castle or fortress was first built on the hill. The first written documentation referring to a castle at Lorca is of Muslim origin, which in the 9th century, indicates that the city of Lurqa was an important town in the area ruled by Theudimer (Tudmir). During Muslim rule, Lorca Castle was an impregnable fortress and its interior was divided into two sections by the Espaldón Wall. In the western part, there was an area used to protect livestock and grain in times of danger. The eastern part had a neighbourhood called the barrio de Alcalá.

After Reconquista

Lorca was conquered by the Castilian Infante Don Alfonso, the future Alfonso X, in 1244, and the fortress became a key defensive point against the Kingdom of Granada. For 250 years, Lorca Castle was a watchpoint on the border between the Christian kingdom of Murcia and the Muslim state of Granada.

Alfonso X ordered the construction of the towers known as the Alfonsina and Espolón Towers, and strengthened and fixed the walls. Hardly a trace of the Muslim fortress remained due to this reconstruction. Muslim traces remain in the foundation stones and the wall known as the muro del Espaldón.

The Jewish Quarter was found within the alcazaba, the Moorish fortification, separated from the rest of the city by its walls. The physical separation had the purpose of protecting the Jewish people in the town from harm, but also had the result of keeping Christians and Jews separate, with the Christians inhabiting the lower part of town.

The remains of the Jewish Quarter extended over an area of 5,700 square m, and 12 homes and a synagogue have been found; the synagogue dates from the 14th century and is the only one found in the Murcia. The streets of the town had an irregular layout, adapted to the landscape, and is divided into four terraces. The synagogue was in the central location, and around it were the homes. The homes were of rectangular shape, with various compartmentalized rooms. The living quarters were elevated and a common feature was benches attached to the walls, kitchens, stand for earthenware jars, or cupboards.

Modern history

With the disappearance of the frontier after the conquest of Granada in 1492, Lorca Castle no longer became as important as before. With the expulsion of the Jews by order of Ferdinand and Isabella, Lorca Castle was also depopulated as a result. The castle was abandoned completely, and was almost a complete ruin by the 18th century. In the 19th century, the castle was refurbished due to the War of Spanish Independence. The walls and structures were repaired or modified and its medieval look changed. A battery of cannons was installed, for example, during this time. In 1931 Lorca Castle was declared a National Historic Monument.

Currently, a parador (luxury hotel) has been built within the castle. As a result, archaeological discoveries have been found, including the Jewish Quarter.