Medieval castles in Finland

Turku Castle

Turku castle is a national monument and one the most remarkable medieval castles in Finland. It's also one of the largest existing castles in Scandinavia. A history of Turku castle begins from the year 1280. The Swedish conquerors of Finland intended it originally as a military fortress.During 15th and 16th centuries its defences were strengthened and living quarters were added. The castle served as a bastion and administ ...
Founded: 1280 | Location: Turku, Finland

Häme Castle

The medieval castle of Häme is located on the coast of lake Vanajavesi. It was originally located on an island.The castle's age is disputed. Traditionally the construction of the castle has been connected to the legendary Second Swedish Crusade which would date the castle in the mid-13th century. However, there are no finds from the castle that can be firmly dated to a period earlier than 1320s. Also the contents of the ...
Founded: ca. 1250-1300 | Location: Hämeenlinna, Finland

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

Raasepori Castle

The Raseborg or Raasepori Castle is one the five remaining medieval castles in Finland. It was founded by Bo Jonsson Grip and it is thought that the castle's first phase was completed sometime between 1373 and 1378. The first written data about the castle is from 1378. Its main purpose was to protect Sweden's interests in southern Finland against the Hanseatic city of Tallinn. The castle was originally built on a small is ...
Founded: 1360-1378 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Porvoo Hill Fort

There are two ancient hill forts in Porvoo, so-called small and big one. There is burial ground in a small hill from the Roman Iron Age (0-400 AD). The items found in excavations reveal that Porvoo river has been a remarkable trading centre already in prehistoric times and local people has had connections to Estonia and Latvia. The bigger hill fort is one of the largest in Finland. It was used for defensive purposes alre ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Porvoo, Finland

Kuusisto Castle

Kuusisto Castle was a medieval episcopal castle built in the beginning of the 14th century. It was the main residence of Finnish Catholic bishops until 1522, when the last bishop Arvid Kurki drowned when fleeing from Danish soldiers.Kuusisto heyday was in the in the beginning of the 15th century, when bishop Maunu Tawast spent lot of time and money to enlarge the castle. The castle was ordered to be demolished during the ...
Founded: ca. 1300 | Location: Kaarina, Finland

Kastelholma Castle

First record of Kastelholma (or Kastelholm) castle is from the year 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I of Denmark, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to the queen. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries when it was administrated by Danish and Swedish kings and stewards of the realms. Kastelhoma was expanded and enhanced several times.In the end of 16th century ...
Founded: 1388 | Location: Sund, Finland

Sundholma Manor

The first known owner of Sundholma was Henrik Klauson Fleming, who moved the estate to the current site in the late 1400s. He built a fortified manor house which was surrounded by a moat (it is still visible in the park). The current main building was built in the 1770s and early 1800s. The stone basement remains probably from the original Fleming's castle manor.
Founded: 15th century | Location: Uusikaupunki, Finland

Korsholm Castle Ruins

Korsholm Castle was a medieval castle in Vaasa. It was probably built in the 1370s and the oldest record dates back to 1384 (the testament of Bo Jonsson Grip, where the castle was called as Krytzeborg). The castle was originally built to a small island and it was surrounded by a moat and two walls. The castle itself was probably built of wood. In the Middle Ages Korsholm was a property of several nobles. The most famous ...
Founded: 1370s | Location: Vaasa, Finland

Junkarsborg Castle

Junkarsborg was a medieval castle in Raasepori. There are no documents left of castle, but archaeologists suppose that the castle was built in the early 14th century and was used until the beginning of the 15th century. Iron and bronze items, ceramics and silver coins have been found from the castle site. Remains refers to Rheinland in Germany and one theory believes that the castle was originally built by the Danish sold ...
Founded: ca. 1320 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Kokemäki Castle

Kokemäki Castle (Kokemäen linna) was a medieval castle in Kokemäki town. The time of its foundation is unclear, but the castle was most likely completed in 1324-1325. It was demolished in 1367 by order of King Albert, as the local residents complained of heavy taxation for the upkeep of the castle. The castle was located on the Linnaluoto Island in the river Kokemäenjoki. Kokemäki Castle was the administrative centr ...
Founded: 1324 | Location: Kokemäki, Finland

Haapaniemi Castle

Haapaniemi castle was one of the oldest manor houses in Finland, first record of Haapaniemi dates back to year 1469. The castle manor was built probably between 1450-1525 by the powerful nobleman Henrik Klaunpoika Horn, who owned it until 1540s. After Horns Haapaniemi was owned by another famous noble family Fleming.The castle manor was ruined in the Great Wrath (1713-1721). Fiskars Ironworks bought manor properties in 17 ...
Founded: 1450-1525 | Location: Salo, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.