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 ...
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

Veste Coburg

The Veste Coburg is one of Germany's largest castles. The hill on which the fortress stands was inhabited from the Neolithic to the early Middle Ages according to the results of excavations. The first documentary mention of Coburg occurs in 1056, in a gift by Richeza of Lotharingia. Richeza gave her properties to Anno II, Archbishop of Cologne, to allow the creation of Saalfeld Abbey in 1071. In 1075, a chapel dedicated to Saint Peter and Saint Paul is mentioned on the fortified Coberg. This document also refers to a Vogt named Gerhart, implying that the local possessions of the Saalfeld Benedictines were administered from the hill.

A document signed by Pope Honorius II in 1206 refers to a mons coburg, a hill settlement. In the 13th century, the hill overlooked the town of Trufalistat (Coburg's predecessor) and the important trade route from Nuremberg via Erfurt to Leipzig. A document dated from 1225 uses the term schloss (palace) for the first time. At the time, the town was controlled by the Dukes of Merania. They were followed in 1248 by the Counts of Henneberg who ruled Coburg until 1353, save for a period from 1292-1312, when the House of Ascania was in charge.

In 1353, Coburg fell to Friedrich, Markgraf von Meißen of the House of Wettin. His successor, Friedrich der Streitbare was awarded the status of Elector of Saxony in 1423. As a result of the Hussite Wars the fortifications of the Veste were expanded in 1430.

Early modern times through Thirty Years' War

In 1485, in the Partition of Leipzig, Veste Coburg fell to the Ernestine branch of the family. A year later, Elector Friedrich der Weise and Johann der Beständige took over the rule of Coburg. Johann used the Veste as a residence from 1499. In 1506/07, Lucas Cranach the Elder lived and worked in the Veste. From April to October 1530, during the Diet of Augsburg, Martin Luther sought protection at the Veste, as he was under an Imperial ban at the time. Whilst he stayed at the fortress, Luther continued with his work translating the Bible into German. In 1547, Johann Ernst moved the residence of the ducal family to a more convenient and fashionable location, Ehrenburg Palace in the town centre of Coburg. The Veste now only served as a fortification.

In the further splitting of the Ernestine line, Coburg became the seat of the Herzogtum von Sachsen-Coburg, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg. The first duke was Johann Casimir (1564-1633), who modernized the fortifications. In 1632, the fortress was unsuccessfully besieged by Imperial and Bavarian forces commanded by Albrecht von Wallenstein for seven days during the Thirty Years' War. Its defence was commanded by Georg Christoph von Taupadel. On 17 March 1635, after a renewed siege of five months' duration, the Veste was handed over to the Imperials under Guillaume de Lamboy.

17th through 19th centuries

From 1638-72, Coburg and the Veste were part of the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg. In 1672, they passed to the Dukes of Saxe-Gotha and in 1735 it was joined to the Duchy of Saxe-Saalfeld. Following the introduction of Primogeniture by Duke Franz Josias (1697-1764), Coburg went by way of Ernst Friedrich (1724-1800) to Franz (1750-1806), noted art collector, and to Duke Ernst III (1784-1844), who remodeled the castle.

In 1826, the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha was created and Ernst now styled himself 'Ernst I'. Military use of the Veste had ceased by 1700 and outer fortifications had been demolished in 1803-38. From 1838-60, Ernst had the run-down fortress converted into a Gothic revival residence. In 1860, use of the Zeughaus as a prison (since 1782) was discontinued. Through a successful policy of political marriages, the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha established links with several of the major European dynasties, including that of the United Kingdom.

20th century

The dynasty ended with the reign of Herzog Carl Eduard (1884-1954), also known as Charles Edward, Duke of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a grandson of Queen Victoria, who until 1919 also was the 2nd Duke of Albany in the United Kingdom. Under his rule, many changes made to the Veste in the 19th century were reversed under architect Bodo Ebhardt, with the aim of restoring a more authentic medieval look. Along with the other ruling princes of Germany, Carl Eduard was deposed in the revolution of 1918-1919. After Carl Eduard abdicated in late 1918, the Veste came into possession of the state of Bavaria, but the former duke was allowed to live there until his death. The works of art collected by the family were gifted to the Coburger Landesstiftung, a foundation, which today runs the museum.

In 1945, the Veste was seriously damaged by artillery fire in the final days of World War II. After 1946, renovation works were undertaken by the new owner, the Bayerische Verwaltung der staatlichen Schlösser, Gärten und Seen.

Today

The Veste is open to the public and today houses museums, including a collection art objects and paintings that belonged to the ducal family of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, a large collection of arms and armor, significant examples of early modern coaches and sleighs, and important collections of prints, drawings and coins.