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

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

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

Grabbacka

Grabbacka manor castle was built in the 15th and 16th centuries by Måns Andersson Grabbe. Gustav Vasa, the King of Sweden, visited probably in Grabbacka in 1555. The manor was destroyed by fire in 1672. Nowadays there are existing ruins of the manor basement open to the public.
Founded: ca. 1500 | Location: Raasepori, Finland

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Pembroke Castle

Pembroke Castle is a Norman castle, founded in 1093. It survived many changes of ownership and is now the largest privately owned castle in Wales. It was the birthplace of Henry Tudor (later Henry VII of England) in 1457.

Pembroke Castle stands on a site that has been occupied at least since the Roman period. Roger de Montgomerie, 1st Earl of Shrewsbury founded the first castle here in the 11th century. Although only made from earth and wood, Pembroke Castle resisted several Welsh attacks and sieges over the next 30 years. The castle was established at the heart of the Norman-controlled lands of southwest Wales.

When William Rufus died, Arnulf de Montgomery joined his elder brother, Robert of Bellême, in rebellion against Henry I, William's brother and successor as king; when the rebellion failed, he was forced to forfeit all his British lands and titles. Henry appointed his castellan, but when the chosen ally turned out to be incompetent, the King reappointed Gerald in 1102. By 1138 King Stephen had given Pembroke Castle to Gilbert de Clare who used it as an important base in the Norman invasion of Ireland.

In August 1189 Richard I arranged the marriage of Isabel, de Clare's granddaughter, to William Marshal who received both the castle and the title, Earl of Pembroke. He had the castle rebuilt in stone and established the great keep at the same time. Marshal was succeeded in turn by each of his five sons. His third son, Gilbert Marshal, was responsible for enlarging and further strengthening the castle between 1234 and 1241.

Later de Valence family held Pembroke for 70 years. During this time, the town was fortified with defensive walls, three main gates and a postern. Pembroke Castle became de Valence's military base for fighting the Welsh princes during the conquest of North Wales by Edward I between 1277 and 1295.

Pembroke Castle then reverted to the crown. In the 15th and 16th centuries, the castle was a place of peace until the outbreak of the English Civil War. Although most of South Wales sided with the King, Pembroke declared for Parliament. It was besieged by Royalist troops but was saved after Parliamentary reinforcements arrived by sea from nearby Milford Haven. Parliamentary forces then went on to capture the Royalist castles of Tenby, Haverfordwest and Carew.

In 1648, at the beginning of the Second Civil War, Pembroke's commander Colonel John Poyer led a Royalist uprising. Oliver Cromwell came to Pembroke on 24 May 1648 and took the castle after a seven-week siege. Its three leaders were found guilty of treason and Cromwell ordered the castle to be destroyed. Townspeople were even encouraged to disassemble the fortress and re-use its stone for their purposes.

The castle was then abandoned and allowed to decay. It remained in ruins until 1880, when a three-year restoration project was undertaken. Nothing further was done until 1928, when Major-General Sir Ivor Philipps acquired the castle and began an extensive restoration of the castle's walls, gatehouses, and towers. After his death, a trust was set up for the castle, jointly managed by the Philipps family and Pembroke town council.

Architecture

The castle is sited on a strategic rocky promontory by the Milford Haven Waterway. The first fortification on the site was a Norman motte-and-bailey. It had earthen ramparts and a timber palisade.

In 1189, Pembroke Castle was acquired by William Marshal. He soon became Lord Marshal of England, and set about turning the earth and wood fort into an impressive Norman stone castle. The inner ward, which was constructed first, contains the huge round keep with its domed roof. Its original first-floor entrance was through an external stairwell. Inside, a spiral staircase connected its four stories. The keep's domed roof also has several putlog holes that supported a wooden fighting-platform. If the castle was attacked, the hoarding allowed defenders to go out beyond the keep's massive walls above the heads of the attackers.

The inner ward's curtain wall had a large horseshoe-shaped gateway. But only a thin wall was required along the promontory. This section of the wall has a small observation turret and a square stone platform. Domestic buildings including William Marshal's Great Hall and private apartments were within the inner ward. The 13th century keep is 23 metres tall with walls up to 6 metres thick at its base.

In the late 13th century, additional buildings were added to the inner ward, including a new Great Hall. A 55-step spiral staircase was also created that led down to a large limestone cave, known as Wogan Cavern, beneath the castle. The cave, which was created by natural water erosion, was fortified with a wall, a barred gateway and arrowslits. It may have served as a boathouse or a sallyport to the river where cargo or people could have been transferred.

The outer ward was defended by a large twin-towered gatehouse, a barbican and several round towers. The outer wall is 5 metres thick in places and constructed from Siltstone ashlar.

Although Pembroke Castle is a Norman-style enclosure castle with great keep, it can be more accurately described as a linear fortification because, like the later 13th-century castles at Caernarfon and Conwy, it was built on a rocky promontory surrounded by water. This meant that attacking forces could only assault on a narrow front. Architecturally, Pembroke's thickest walls and towers are all concentrated on its landward side facing the town, with Pembroke River providing a natural defense around the rest of its perimeter.