Hamina fortress is a very rare circle fort, representing the Renaissance ideal city embodied by Palmanova city in Italy. It was built after Great Northern War to the ruins of Vehkalahti town.
After Treaty of Nystadt border between Sweden and Russia was moved to Kymeenlakso area in Finland. The construction of the fortress started began by Swedish general Axel von Löwen in 1720s. Protected by six bastions of the fortress the garrison was responsible for defending the city and the coastal road. When next war began in 1741 Hamina fortress was still uncomplete. It was conquered by Russian forces and in new peace treaty fortress left to the Russia side of border.
Russians continued fortress construction in the command of general Aleksander Suvorov. It was part of the South-Eastern Finland fortification system, which was implemented to defence St. Petersburg against western enemies. In the beginning of the 19th century Hamina fortress was outdated and it was reconstructed by the Dutch general Jan Pieter van Suchtelen. When Russia conquered Finland in the Finnish war in 1808-1809 fortress lost its military status. It was abandoded in the 1830s and tsar Nikolai I gave it as the property of Hamina city. During the Crimean war in 1853-1856 fortress reinforced again to fight against the British and French fleet.
Restoration was started in 1957. Much of the fortress remains to this day, and it is used as a venue for different events. Parts of the fortress are still in military use, as the Finnish Reserve Officer School is located in the fortress.
The Château de Chaumont was founded in the 10th century by Odo I, Count of Blois. The purpose was to protect his lands from attacks from his feudal rivals, Fulk Nerra, Count of Anjou. On his behalf the Norman Gelduin received it, improved it and held it as his own. His great-niece Denise de Fougère, having married Sulpice d'Amboise, passed the château into the Amboise family for five centuries.
Pierre d'Amboise unsuccessfully rebelled against King Louis XI and his property was confiscated, and the castle was dismantled on royal order in 1465. It was later rebuilt by Charles I d'Amboise from 1465–1475 and then finished by his son, Charles II d'Amboise de Chaumont from 1498–1510, with help from his uncle, Cardinal Georges d'Amboise; some Renaissance features were to be seen in buildings that retained their overall medieval appearance. The château was acquired by Catherine de Medici in 1550. There she entertained numerous astrologers, among them Nostradamus. When her husband, Henry II, died in 1559 she forced his mistress, Diane de Poitiers, to exchange Château de Chaumont for Château de Chenonceau which Henry had given to de Poitiers. Diane de Poitiers only lived at Chaumont for a short while.
Later Chaumont has changed hands several times. Paul de Beauvilliers bought the château in 1699, modernized some of its interiors and decorated it with sufficient grandeur to house the duc d'Anjou on his way to become king of Spain in 1700. Monsieur Bertin demolished the north wing to open the house towards the river view in the modern fashion.
In 1750, Jacques-Donatien Le Ray purchased the castle as a country home where he established a glassmaking and pottery factory. He was considered the French "Father of the American Revolution" because he loved America. However, in 1789, the new French Revolutionary Government seized Le Ray's assets, including his beloved Château de Chaumont.
The castle has been classified as a Monument historique since 1840 by the French Ministry of Culture. The Château de Chaumont is currently a museum and every year hosts a Garden Festival from April to October where contemporary garden designers display their work in an English-style garden.