Ironworks in Finland

Fiskars

Fiskars is the best known of a number of ironworks villages that were established in the early 17th century to the Pohja area. A crushing mill was established by the lower rapids in 1649, with a blastfurnace on the opposite bank. The founder of Fiskars ironworks was the Dutch businessman Peter Thorwöste, who was allowed by Queen Christina of Sweden to manufacture cast iron and forged products, with the exception of c ...
Founded: 1649-1900 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Strömfors Ironworks

Strömfors Ironworks is one of the oldest in Finland. It was founded in 1695 by Johan Creuz. The ironworks was renamed to Strömfors in 1744, when A. Nohrström and J. Forsell acquired the site and business. They also expanded Strömfors by building a new forge and sawmill.In 1790, the iron works got a new manager, the 31-year-old Virginia af Forselles, who managed Strömfors Iron Works for almost 60 years. A large part o ...
Founded: 1695 | Location: Loviisa, Finland

Kellokoski Ironworks

Kellokoski ironworks was founded in 1795 and it manufactured all kind of agriculture tools until 1963. The wooden church was built in 1800. The nearby Kellokoski manor is functioned as a mental hospital since 1915.Today Kellokoski is a well-preserved milieu representing habitation and industry of the 19th century. The hospital museum, handicraft shops, restaurant and arboretum are located to the old ironworks buildings.
Founded: 1795 | Location: Tuusula, Finland

Fagervik

Fagervik ironworks, one of the oldest in Finland, was founded in 1646. The ironworks consisted of two iron forges and one blast furnace. The remarkable rococo-style manor was built in 1773 by Johan Hisinger. It’s located near the "King’s Way", a road from Turku to Vyborg. Both Gustav III (the king of Sweden) and Alexander I (the tzar of Russia) have stood overnight in Fagervik. The large baroque-style park with the Ch ...
Founded: 1646 | Location: Inkoo, Finland

Billnäs

Billnäs ironworks was founded in 1641 by Carl Billsten. It faced many difficulties during 17th and 18th century. Local peasants destroyed the ironworks already in 1659 because of too heavy taxation. During the Great Wrath Russians occupied and destroyed it again in the 18th century.Billnäs Ironworks moved to Hisinger family's possession in 1723. Bar hammer workshops with forges and waterwheels, and coal rooms were built ...
Founded: 1641 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Mathildedal Ironworks

Mathildedal is one of the three Teijo area ironworks villages. It offers all the elements of an idyllic environment: Wooden houses painted with traditional red paint, buildings of the ironwork, history, culture, nature and of course the living village itself. The origins of Mathildedal ironworks go back to 1686. Mr Lorenz Creutz from Teijo was granted a right to build a forgery in Hummeldal. In 1825 Mr Robert Bremer dis ...
Founded: 1852 | Location: Salo, Finland

Teijo Ironworks

Teijo ironworks was established in 1686 to the lands of old Teijo manor by Lorentz Creutz. The industrial work ended in 1908, but today there still exists old buildings, restaurant and fascinating manor building and park. The manor is privately owned, but you can walk the road adjacent to it. Teijo church on the hill near the manor is the smallest stone church in Finland. It was built in 1830.
Founded: 1686 | Location: Salo, Finland

Juankoski Iron Foundry

In 1746 Brynolf Brunou was granted to establish an ironworks to the Juankoski rapids. Juankoski was in the periphery of Sweden borderlands with no roads or cities. Water routes were the only way to transport goods. Juankoski became the only ironworks in Finland which used only the bog iron to manufacture different kind of tools.The heyday of Juankoski was between 1851 and 1900 when it was owned by Anastasia Ponomareva, a ...
Founded: 1746 | Location: Juankoski, Finland

Kimo Ironworks

The ironworks in Kimo was founded by Petter Heijke in 1703. Petter Heijke chose the place because there was an enough deep harbour in Oravainen, waterpower and wood for making charcoal. The ore was brought from Utö in the southern Baltic sea and from Herräng mines in Roslagen. In Kimo it was forged into iron-pigs. The iron-pigs were then tranported further up the river to the forges in Kimo where it was refined ...
Founded: 1703 | Location: Oravainen, Finland

Jyrkkäkoski Ironworks

In 1831 Mr. Franzen, the owner of the Salahmi Ironworks was given permission to establish a blast furnace and a bar-iron forge at Jyrkkäkoski. The early years were difficult, because Jyrkkäkoski was not at any close distance of main travel routes and sufficient labour was not available. In 1856, the ironworks was obtained by Paul Wahl & Co. as part of a larger consortium. A new Scottish-type blast furnace of ...
Founded: 1831-1874 | Location: Sonkajärvi, Finland

Möhkö Ironworks Museum

Möhkö Ironworks was built in the middle of wilderness in the eastern part of Ilomantsi, by Möhkönkoski rapids of Koitajoki river. Ilomantsi born Carl G. Nygren was granted to build the ironworks in 1838. After him the factory was built by Adolf von Rauch from St. Petersburg between 1847 and 1849. Industrialist Nils Ludvig Arppe modernised the ironworks.The conditions for the foundation of ironworks wer ...
Founded: 1838-1908 | Location: Ilomantsi, Finland

Leineperi Ironworks

The history of Leineperi (Fredriksfors in Swedish) village dates back to the 1630s. The ironworks was founded in 1771 by Berndt Johan Hastfehr. Until the end of 19th century ironworks manufactured all kinds of iron tools like nails, bolts and spades. The ironworks expanded little by little and in the the 19th century Leineperi was one of the largest iron manufacturers in Finland. The ironworks area consisted several manuf ...
Founded: 1771-1902 | Location: Ulvila, Finland

Kauttua Ironworks

The iron manufacturing in Kauttua started in 1689, when nobleman Lorentz Creutz was granted to establish an ironworks to Kauttua rapids. The ironworks business created an historically valuable industrial village milieu, which is called today as “Kauttua Ruukinpuisto”. In 1907 the ironworks was acquired by Ahlström Oy and it was changed to manufacture paper.Most of village buildings are from the 19th centu ...
Founded: 1689 - 20th century | Location: Eura, Finland

Antskog

Antskog ironworks, one of the oldest industrial sites in Finland, was established in 1640. The heyday of Antskog was in the 17th century, when Pohja town became a center of iron manufacturing in Finland. Industrial buildings were mainly destroyed in the Greater Wrath (1714-1721) and it caused the financial downturn. The ironworks went bankrupt couple of times. The next upswing was in the 1860s, when Antskog started to pro ...
Founded: 1640-1900 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wawel Castle

Wawel Hill – a Jurassic limestone rock, a dominant feature in the landscape of Kraków, have provided a safe haven for people who have settled here since the Paleolithic Age. It is supposed that the Slav people started living on Wawel hill as early as the 7th century. Early medieval legends tell stories about a dreadful dragon that lived in a cave on Wawel Hill, about his slayer Krakus, and about the latter’s daughter Wanda, who drowned herself in the Vistula rather than marry a German knight. Towards the end of the first millennium A.D Wawel began to play the role of the centre of political power.In the 9th century it became the principal fortified castrum of the Vislane tribe. The first historical ruler of Poland, Miesco I (c.965-992) of the Piast dynasty as well as his successors: Boleslas the Brave (992-1025) and Miesco II (1025-1034) chose Wawel Hill as one of their residences.

At that time Wawel became one of the main Polish centres of Christianity. The first early Romanesque and Romanesque sacral buildings were raised here, including a stone cathedral that was erected after the bishopric of Kraków was established in the year 1000.

During the reign of Casimir the Restorer (1034-1058) Wawel became a significant political and administrative centre for the Polish State. Casimir’s son, Boleslas the Bold (1058-1079) began the construction of a second Romanesque cathedral, which was finished by Boleslas the Wrymouth (1102-1138). In his last will of 1138, this prince divided Poland into districts, and provided that Kraków was to be the residence of the senior prince. In 1291 the city of Kraków along with Wawel Hill temporarily fell under the Czech rule, and Wenceslas II from the Premysl dynasty was crowned King of Poland in Wawel cathedral.

In 1306 the Duke of Kuyavia Ladislas the Short (1306-1333) entered Wawel and was crowned King of Poland in the Cathedral in 1320. It was the first historically recorded coronation of a Polish ruler on Wawel Hill. Around that time, at the initiative of Ladislas the Short, the construction of the third Gothic cathedral began, the castle was expanded and the old wooden and earthen fortifications were replaced by brick ones. The tomb of Ladislas the Short in the cathedral started a royal necropolis of Polish kings in Krakow.The last descendant of the Piast dynasty, Casimir the Great (1333-1370) brought Wawel to a state of unprecedented splendour. In 1364 the expanded gothic castle witnessed the marriage of Casimir’s granddaughter Elizabeth to Charles IV accompanied by a famous convention of kings and princes, subsequently entertained by a rich burgher Wierzynek. The accession to the throne in 1385 of Jadwiga from the Hungarian dynasty of Andegavens, and her marriage to a Lithuanian prince Ladislas Jagiello (1386-1434) started another era of prosperity for Wawel. The royal court employed local and western European artists and also Rus painters. During the reign of Casimir Jagiellon (1447-1492) the silhouette of the hill was enriched by three high brick towers: the Thieves’ Tower, the Sandomierz Tower and the Senatorial Tower. The first humanists in Poland and tutors to the king’s sons: historian Jan Długosz and an Italian by the name Filippo Buonacorsi (also known as Callimachus) worked there at that time.

The Italian Renaissance arrived at Wawel in the early 16th century. King Alexander (1501-1506) and his brother Sigismund I the Old (1506-1548) commissioned the construction of a new palace in place of the Gothic residence, with an impressive large courtyard with arcaded galleries which was completed about 1540. Sigismund’s patronage also left an indelible impression in the cathedral, where a family chapel was erected, known today as Sigismund’s Chapel - the work of Bartolomeo of Berrecci Florence, and through various foundations, one of which was that of a large bell, called the Sigismund to commemorate the king. Close artistic and cultural relations with Italy were strengthened in 1518 by the king’s marriage to Bona Sforza. Alongside Italian artists, German architects, wood workers, painters and metal smiths worked for the king. The last descendant of the Jagiellonian dynasty, Sigismund II Augustus (1548-1572), enriched the castle’s interiors with a magnificent collection of tapestries woven in Brussels. In the “Golden Age” of Polish culture Wawel became one of the main centres of humanism in Europe.

The reign of Sigismund III Waza (1587-1632) also made a strong impression on the history of Wawel. After a fire in the castle in 1595 the king rebuilt the burned wing of the building in the early Baroque style. The relocation of the royal court to Warsaw was the cause of a slow but nevertheless steady deterioration in the castle’s condition. The monarchs visited Kraków only occasionally. Restoration of the castle was undertaken during the reign of John III Sobieski, the Wettins and Stanislas Augustus to counteract neglect.

After Poland had lost its independence in 1795, the troops of partitioning nations, Russia, Prussia and Austria, subsequently occupied Wawel which finally passed into the hands of the Austrians. The new owners converted the castle and some of the secular buildings into a military hospital, and demolished some others, including churches. After the period of the Free City of Kraków (1815-1846) Wawel was once more annexed by Austria and turned into a citadel dominating the city. By the resolution passed by the Seym of Galicia in 1880, the castle was presented as a residence to the Emperor of Austria Franz Josef I. The Austrian troops left the hill between 1905-1911. At the turn of the 20th century a thorough restoration of the cathedral was conducted, and shortly afterwards a process of restoration of the royal castle began which lasted several decades.

When Poland regained its independence in 1918, the castle served as an official residence of the Head of State, and as a museum of historic interiors. During the Nazi occupation the castle was the residence of the German governor general, Hans Frank. Polish people managed to remove the most valuable objects, including the tapestries and the “Szczerbiec” coronation sword to Canada, from where they returned as late as 1959-1961. At present, the main curators of Wawel are Wawel Royal Castle – State Art Collection and the Metropolitan Basilica Board on Wawel Hill.