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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora

Monastery of São Vicente de Fora (Monastery of St. Vincent Outside the Walls) is a 17th-century church and monastery in the city of Lisbon. It is one of the most important monasteries and mannerist buildings in the country. The monastery also contains the royal pantheon of the Braganza monarchs of Portugal.

The original Monastery of São Vicente de Fora was founded around 1147 by the first Portuguese King, Afonso Henriques, for the Augustinian Order. The Monastery, built in Romanesque style outside the city walls, was one of the most important monastic foundations in mediaeval Portugal. It is dedicated to Saint Vincent of Saragossa, patron saint of Lisbon, whose relics were brought from the Algarve to Lisbon in the 12th century.

The present buildings are the result of a reconstruction ordered by King Philip II of Spain, who had become King of Portugal (as Philip I) after a succession crisis in 1580. The church of the monastery was built between 1582 and 1629, while other monastery buildings were finished only in the 18th century. The author of the design of the church is thought to be the Italian Jesuit Filippo Terzi and/or the Spaniard Juan de Herrera. The plans were followed and modified by Leonardo Turriano, Baltazar Álvares, Pedro Nunes Tinoco and João Nunes Tinoco.

The church of the Monastery has a majestic, austere façade that follows the later Renaissance style known as Mannerism. The façade, attributed to Baltazar Álvares, has several niches with statues of saints and is flanked by two towers (a model that would become widespread in Portugal). The lower part of the façade has three arches that lead to the galilee (entrance hall). The floorplan of the church reveals a Latin cross building with a one-aisled nave with lateral chapels. The church is covered by barrel vaulting and has a huge dome over the crossing. The general design of the church interior follows that of the prototypic church of Il Gesù, in Rome.

The beautiful main altarpiece is a Baroque work of the 18th century by one of the best Portuguese sculptors, Joaquim Machado de Castro. The altarpiece has the shape of a baldachin and is decorated with a large number of statues. The church also boasts several fine altarpieces in the lateral chapels.

The Monastery buildings are reached through a magnificent baroque portal, located beside the church façade. Inside, the entrance is decorated with blue-white 18th century tiles that tell the history of the Monastery, including scenes of the Siege of Lisbon in 1147. The ceiling of the room has an illusionistic painting executed in 1710 by the Italian Vincenzo Baccarelli. The sacristy of the Monastery is exuberantly decorated with polychromed marble and painting. The cloisters are also notable for the 18th century tiles that recount fables of La Fontaine, among other themes.

In 1834, after the religious orders were dissolved in Portugal, the monastery was transformed into a palace for the archbishops of Lisbon. Some decades later, King Ferdinand II transformed the monks' old refectory into a pantheon for the kings of the House of Braganza. Their tombs were transferred from the main chapel to this room.