Ruins in Finland

Oulu Castle

Oulu castle ("Uleåborg") was built in 1590 for a stronghold to Swedish soldiers on their way to fight against Russian Karelia. The castle was mostly made of wood and earth walls. There probably was an earlier medieval castle on the same location. The Russian Sophia Chronicle has recorded that men from Novgorod tried to conquer a new castle in the Oulu River delta in 1377 but were unsuccessful. King of Sweden, Charle ...
Founded: 1590 | Location: Oulu, Finland

Koroinen Church

Koroinen was the residence of Bishop of Finland between years 1229 and 1300. in 1300 the bishop seat was moved couple of kilometres further down the River Aura, to the present-day Cathedral of Turku. There were at least two wooden churches in Koroinen built in the 14th century. The latest one was probably a stone church. It was later destroyed by the Victual Brothers in 1396. Archaeologists have found remains of three wa ...
Founded: 1229 | Location: Turku, Finland

Lieto Old Castle

There has been a fortified hill in Lieto (“Liedon Vanhalinna”) from the prehistoric age. According to excavations, the castle has been in use in the Late Bronze Age (1500-500 BC), in Middle Iron Age (500-700 AD, contested) and in the Middle Ages up to the end of the 14th century, when it was replaced by the "new castle" in Turku harbour.During the first crusade (ca. 1155) to Finland Swedish army fought heavy b ...
Founded: ca. 1000-1370 | Location: Lieto, 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

Kajaani Castle

The Kajaani Castle was built on the Ämmäkoski island of the Kajaani river in the 17th century. The castle functioned as a administrative centre, a prison, and a military strongpoint. The most famous prisoner in the castle was the historian Johannes Messenius, who was forced to live in the poor conditions of the castle from 1616 to 1635. Construction of the Kajaani castle began in 1604 and was completed in 1619. ...
Founded: 1604-1619 | Location: Kajaani, Finland

The Church of the Holy Trinity

According some references there has been a wooden church and stone sacristy in Rauma even since the 14th century. It might be true that stones of the sacristy was used as a part of the Holy Trinity Church. It was built in the 15th and 16th centuries to replace earlier wooden church. Anyway, church destroyed in a fire in 1640, and the Church of the Holy Cross has served as the parish church ever since. There are still som ...
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Rauma, Finland

Bomarsund

Bomarsund fortress and garrison was built in 1832-1854 by Russian Empire to defence Åland Islands against enemies. British and French fleet attacked against it during the Crimean War in 1854. After a week of fighting the British stormed the remaining fort. Anglo-French forces destroyed it totally after battle. In the Treaty of Paris 1856, the entire Åland Islands were demilitarized, which is a status that has been prese ...
Founded: 1832-1854 | Location: Sund, Finland

The Church of St. Michael

The old church of Pälkäne dates back to the beginning of 16th century. During reformation it was modified to meet the requirements of new religious policies. For example wooden statues of Catholic saints were removed. Church was robbed by the Russian troops during the Greater Wrath in 1714-1721. Church started to dilapidate during the 1740s and it was finally abandoned when new church was completed in 1839. The roof co ...
Founded: 1495-1505 | Location: Pälkäne, Finland

The Church of St. Mary

There are only ruins remaining of the medieval church in Mustasaari, Vaasa. It was built probably between 1500-1520.
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Vaasa, Finland

Rapola Hill Fort

The hill fort in Rapola Ridge the largest ancient fort in Finland. As is the case with most hill forts in the Baltic area not much is known about its exact origins or purposes. One postulation is that it was built by the inhabitants in their struggles against invading Novgorodians and Swedes. According to excavations, the fort seems to have been in operation at least during the 13th and 15th centuries. Parts of it may be ...
Founded: 600-1400 | Location: Valkeakoski, Finland

Hakoinen Castle

Hakoinen Castle was an ancient hill fortification, but nowadays there's only some ruins left. Dated medieval, the fortification was situated on a very steep rock by lake Kernaala (Kernaalanjärvi) reminiscent of a hill fort tradition. The top of the rock is 63 meters above the water level in the lake. Today very little remains of the castle. Equally little is known about its origins. One postulation is that it was ...
Founded: ca. 1250 | Location: Janakkala, Finland

Sulkava Hill Fort

The hill fort is located to the rock hill with high cliffs in Pisamalahti. The hill fort rises about 55 meters above Enovesi lake.First record of the fort dates back to the year 1561, but it was probably built in the Iron or Middle Ages. According one hypothesis it was built by Carelian people against conquerors from Tavastia (Häme) historical province. There is a 120 meters long and 2-3 meters high stone wall on the ...
Founded: 1100-1300 | Location: Sulkava, Finland

The Church of St. Birgit

The first stone church in Vihti was built in the end of Middle Ages, probably between years 1500-1520. Unfortunately it was located to a very soft ground and structures started to fall apart in the 17th century. Until 1801 humidity was damaged church so much that local municipality of Vihti decided to sell the church. Woods and stones were ripped off and used as part of local barns. The church was finally destroyed in st ...
Founded: 1500-1520 | Location: Vihti, Finland

The Church of Saint Lawrence

The old church of Hämeenkoski was built in the early 16th century and had been abandoned since 1650. Church had quite unique octagonal plan, there's only one similar church in Finland (in Renko).
Founded: 1510-1560 | Location: Hämeenkoski, Finland

Sipoonlinna

Sipoonlinna (Sibbesborg) was a medieval castle made of stone and wood. It was probably built in the 14th century as part of the fief system created by Albrecht von Mecklenburg. Regarding folklores castle was founded by viking Sibbe (Sighbion) or Danish crusaders in the 12th or 13th century. Nowadays only some earth walls remain on the forested hill upon which it stood. The site can be accessed on foot.
Founded: 14th century | Location: Sipoo, Finland

Lemböte Chapel

The chapel of Lemböte is a ruined stone church in Lemland. It has dated to the beginning of 16th century, but first records of the chapel are from the 13th century. Lemland was then an important waypoint between Denmark and Baltic.Archaeologists found a treasure of 270 silver coins inside the chapel in the 19th century. Coins are today in the Åland museum.
Founded: 1500-1530 | Location: Lemland, 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

Liinmaa Castle

Liinmaa Castle ("Vreghdenborch") was a medieval castle in Eura. In 1367 Albrecht von Mecklenburg, the king of Sweden, ordered to demolish a castle in Kokemäki. It was replaced by two new castles, one in Liinmaa and another in Linnaluoto (Aborch). Liinmaa castle contained two inner ground walls, wooden structures and a moat. The story of Liinmaa castle was very short: it was abandoded in the beginning of the 15th century ...
Founded: ca. 1370 | Location: Eurajoki, 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

Brahelinna

Brahelinna ("Brahe Castle") was built by the Swedish soldier and stateman Per (Pietari) Brahe in 1646–1669. Brahe was a Governor General in Finland and Ristiina town part of his fiefdom. Brahelinna contained 15-20 rooms and was used for living from the year 1657. Some planned parts were never completed.Brahelinna was abandoned during the Great Northern War in the beginning of the 18th century and finally demolished ...
Founded: 1646-1669 | Location: Ristiina, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Porta Nigra

The Porta Nigra (Latin for black gate) is the largest Roman city gate north of the Alps. It is designated as part of the Roman Monuments, Cathedral of St. Peter and Church of Our Lady in Trier UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name Porta Nigra originated in the Middle Ages due to the darkened colour of its stone; the original Roman name has not been preserved. Locals commonly refer to the Porta Nigra simply as Porta.

The Porta Nigra was built in grey sandstone between 186 and 200 AD. The original gate consisted of two four-storied towers, projecting as near semicircles on the outer side. A narrow courtyard separated the two gate openings on either side. For unknown reasons, however, the construction of the gate remained unfinished. For example, the stones at the northern (outer) side of the gate were never abraded, and the protruding stones would have made it impossible to install movable gates. Nonetheless, the gate was used for several centuries until the end of the Roman era in Trier.

In Roman times, the Porta Nigra was part of a system of four city gates, one of which stood at each side of the roughly rectangular Roman city. The Porta Nigra guarded the northern entry to the Roman city, while the Porta Alba (White Gate) was built in the east, the Porta Media (Middle Gate) in the south, and the Porta Inclyta (Famous Gate) in the west, next to the Roman bridge across the Moselle. The gates stood at the ends of the two main streets of the Roman Trier, one of which led north-south and the other east-west. Of these gates, only the Porta Nigra still exists today.

In the early Middle Ages the Roman city gates were no longer used for their original function and their stones were taken and reused for other buildings. Also iron and lead braces were broken out of the walls of the Porta Nigra for reuse. Traces of this destruction are still clearly visible on the north side of the gate.

After 1028, the Greek monk Simeon lived as a hermit in the ruins of the Porta Nigra. After his death (1035) and sanctification, the Simeonstift monastery was built next to the Porta Nigra to honor him. Saving it from further destruction, the Porta Nigra was transformed into a church: The inner court of the gate was roofed and intermediate ceilings were inserted. The two middle storeys of the former gate were converted into church naves: the upper storey being for the monks and the lower storey for the general public. The ground floor with the large gates was sealed, and a large outside staircase was constructed alongside the south side (the town side) of the gate, up to the lower storey of the church. A small staircase led further up to the upper storey. The church rooms were accessible through former windows of the western tower of the Porta Nigra that were enlarged to become entrance doors (still visible today). The top floor of the western tower was used as church tower, the eastern tower was leveled, and an apse added at its east side. An additional gate - the much smaller Simeon Gate - was built adjacent to the East side of the Porta Nigra and served as a city gate in medieval times.

In 1802 Napoleon Bonaparte dissolved the church in the Porta Nigra and the monastery beside it, along with the vast majority of Trier"s numerous churches and monasteries. On his visit to Trier in 1804, Napoleon ordered that the Porta Nigra be converted back to its Roman form. Only the apse was kept; but the eastern tower was not rebuilt to its original height. Local legend has it that Napoleon originally wanted to completely tear down the church, but locals convinced him that the church had actually been a Gaulish festival hall before being turned into a church. Another version of the story is that they told him about its Roman origins, persuading him to convert the gate back to its original form.

In 1986 the Porta Nigra was designated a World Heritage Site, along with other Roman monuments in Trier and its surroundings. The modern appearance of the Porta Nigra goes back almost unchanged to the reconstruction ordered by Napoleon. At the south side of the Porta Nigra, remains of Roman columns line the last 100 m of the street leading to the gate. Positioned where they had stood in Roman times, they give a slight impression of the aspect of the original Roman street that was lined with colonnades. The Porta Nigra, including the upper floors, is open to visitors.