Top Historic Sights in Kotka, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Kotka

Maritime Centre Vellamo

Maritime Centre Vellamo is a unique building in Finland with a wave-like roof. It houses the Maritime Museum of Finland, Museum of Kymenlaakso and Information Centre Vellamo.The Maritime Museum of Finland is a national maritime museum operating under the National Board of Antiquities and the Ministry of Education, destined to record the history of seafaring in Finland and to convey related information. The Maritime Museum ...
Founded: 2008 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Kotka Church

The church of Kotka was designed by architect Josef Stenbäck and completed in 1898. The red-brick church was built in the Neo-Gothic style. The altarpiece was painted by famous painter Pekka Halonen.
Founded: 1897-1898 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Orthodox Church of St. Nicholas

The Orthodox Church of Kotka, known also as St. Nicolas church, was built between 1799-1801 under the Russian order. It was designed in accordance with drawings by Jakov Perrin, architect of the St Petersburg Admiralty. The orthodox church is probably the oldest building in Kotka and one of the rare to survive a British bombardment of the town in 1855.The church was built in Russian Neo-classicism style. Differing from a ...
Founded: 1799-1801 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Ruotsinsalmi Sea Fortress

Ruotsinsalmi fortress was built by Russians in 1790-1796. It was part of the South-Eastern Finland fortification system which was planned to defence St. Petersburg. The sea fortress was located to islands in front of the city of Kotka and Kyminlinna fortress. It contained three main strongholds (Fort Katarina, Fort Elisabeth and Fort Slava) and several redoubts and artillery batteries.Ruotsinsalmi fortress lost its origin ...
Founded: 1790-1796 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Kyminlinna

Kyminlinna fortress was part of the South-Eastern Finland fortification system built by Russia after Russo-Swedish War of 1788-1790. Kyminlinna and Ruotsinsalmi sea fortress formed together a defense line, which was planned to stop enemies attacking from the west. First fortress was a bastion constructed in 1791-1795 by the general Aleksandr Suvorov. The older part was replaced only couple of years later by the much bigge ...
Founded: 1791-1808 | Location: Kotka, Finland

Kyminkartano Manor

The history of Kyminkartano estate starts around 1350, when Earl Erengisle Suneson acquired some farms around the branches of Kymijoki river. He donated the estate in 1370 to Seneschal Bo Jonsson Grip, who was one of the most powerful noblemen of the kingdom. Late Grip donated Kyminkartano to Vadstena Abbey. King Gustav Vasa visited in Kyminkartano in 1555 and acquired it to the Crown. After Russia had conquered the area ...
Founded: 1790s | Location: Kotka, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hagios Demetrios

The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios, is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

The church had an unusual shrine called the ciborium, a hexagonal, roofed structure at one side of the nave. It was made of or covered with silver. The structure had doors and inside was a couch or bed. Unusually, it did not hold any physical relics of the saint. The ciborium seems to have been a symbolic tomb. It was rebuilt at least once.

The basilica is famous for six extant mosaic panels, dated to the period between the latest reconstruction and the inauguration of the Byzantine Iconoclasm in 730. These mosaics depict St. Demetrius with officials responsible for the restoration of the church (called the founders, ktetors) and with children. An inscription below one of the images glorifies heaven for saving the people of Thessalonica from a pagan Slavic raid in 615.

Thessaloniki became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1430. About 60 years later, during the reign of Bayezid II, the church was converted into a mosque, known as the Kasımiye Camii after the local Ottoman mayor, Cezeri Kasım Pasha. The symbolic tomb however was kept open for Christian veneration. Other magnificent mosaics, recorded as covering the church interior, were lost either during the four centuries when it functioned as a mosque (1493–1912) or in the Great Thessaloniki Fire of 1917 that destroyed much of the city. It also destroyed the roof and upper walls of the church. Black-and-white photographs and good watercolour versions give an idea of the early Byzantine craftsmanship lost during the fire.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. Tombstones from the city"s Jewish cemetery - destroyed by the Greek and Nazi German authorities - were used as building materials in these restoration efforts in the 1940s. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artifacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church"s crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.