Top Historic Sights in Savonlinna, Finland

Explore the historic highlights of Savonlinna

Olavinlinna

Olavinlinna ("St. Olaf's Castle" or "Olofsborg") is one of the greatest medieval castles in Finland. It was built to secure the eastern border of the Kingdom of Sweden-Finland. The construction started in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott. Russians disturbed construction work sequently, because the castle was sited in Savonia to the Russian side of the border established by the Treaty of Nöteborg. Olavinlinna was completed prob ...
Founded: 1475-1483 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

Savonlinna Cathedral

The people of Savonlinna had to go to the Sääminki church when they didn't have their own church. In 1850 governor Aleksander Thesleff gave order to build a church in Savonniemi. The actual construction began in 1874 and was completed in 1878. The church was designed by architect Axel Hampus Dahlström in the Gothic Revival style and it has room for 1000 people.In 1896 the new diocese of Savonlinna was found ...
Founded: 1874-1878 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

The Savonlinna Provincial Museum

The Provincial Museum concentrates on the cultural history of Southern Savo and the sailing history of Lake Saimaa. It is located in a former state granary designed by Ernst B. Lohrmann was completed in 1852.The permanent exhibition "On the platform, life on the shores of Lake Saimaa" displays the living conditions on the shores of Lake Saimaa. It talks about prehistoric times, Sääminki Church art from the 18th ...
Founded: 1852 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

Pikkukirkko

Pikkukirkko (Small Church) of Savonlinna was built by the Orthodox parish in 1846 according the design by L. T. J. Visconti. The Lutheran parish bought it in 1938 and used it as the main church until 1950s. Today it is a popular wedding and christening church.
Founded: 1846 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

Orivirran Saarto

Orivirran saarto is a ruin of the 16th century fortress. It was built probably in 1540's, because in 1546 Russians complained about Swedish cutting forest and gathering stones in Orivirta. There were probably a main castle, outer fortication, watchtower and dock. During 16th century it was garrisoned by 400-600 men and 5-10 cannons.In 1592 Russian cossacks destroyed the fortress. In a fight over 200 men were died and ...
Founded: 1540 | Location: Savonlinna, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style building with side-aisles raised to the same height as the main aisle.

On the night of Palm Sunday (28–29 March) 1942 a Royal Air Force bombing raid destroyed a fifth of the town centre. Several bombs fell in the area around the church, causing the eastern vault of the quire to collapse and destroying the altar which dated from 1696. A fire from the neighbouring cathedral museum spread to the truss of the cathedral, and around noon on Palm Sunday the towers collapsed. An Arp Schnitger organ was lost in the flames. Nevertheless, a relatively large portion of the internal fittings was saved, including the cross and almost all of the medieval polyptychs. In 1946 a further collapse, of the gable of the north transept, destroyed the vestibule almost completely.

Reconstruction of the cathedral took several decades, as greater priority was given to the rebuilding of the Marienkirche. Work was completed only in 1982.

The cathedral is unique in that at 105 m, it is shorter than the tallest church in the city. This is the consequence of a power struggle between the church and the guilds.

The 17 m crucifix is the work of the Lübeck artist Bernt Notke. It was commissioned by the bishop of Lübeck, Albert II. Krummendiek, and erected in 1477. The carvings which decorate the rood screen are also by Notke.

Since the war, the famous altar of Hans Memling has been in the medieval collection of the St. Annen Museum, but notable polyptychs remain in the cathedral.

In the funeral chapels of the southern aisle are Baroque-era memorials by the Flemish sculptor Thomas Quellinus.