Suomenlinna ("Sveaborg", "Viapori") sea fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of Finland’s most popular tourist attractions. The construction of the fortress started by the king of Sweden in 1748 as protection against Russian expansionism. Suomenlinna was planned to be a principal base for naval military operations and the general responsibility for the fortification work was given to Augustin Ehrensvärd. The construction phase lasted for over four decades. During this time six islands were fortified to provide a safe harbor and dock for the archipelago fleet in Finland.

In the Finnish War (1808-1809) Russians easily took Helsinki in early 1808 and began bombarding the fortress. Its commander, Carl Olof Cronstedt, negotiated a cease-fire, and when no Swedish reinforcements had arrived by May, Suomenlinna surrendered with almost 7,000 men. After taking over the fortress the Russians set about on an extensive building program, mostly extra barracks, but also extending the dockyard and reinforcing to the fortification lines.

During the Crimean War in 1855 a combined Anglo-French fleet bombarded Viapori for two days in August. At this point, the repair work was nowhere near complete, and Viapori sustained heavy damage in the bombardment. The next stage in the arming of Suomenlinna and the Gulf of Finland came in the build-up to World War I. The fortress and its surrounding islands became part of "Peter the Great's naval fortification" designed to safeguard the capital, Saint Petersburg. The fortress became part of an independent Finland in 1917, following the Russian Revolution.

After the Finnish Civil War, a prison camp existed on the island. About 6000 red prisoners were held in Suomenlinna. Many of them were executed by the white army and others died of disease due to the poor conditions in the fortress.

Suomenlinna is today one of the most popular tourist attractions in Helsinki as well as a popular picnicking spot for the city's inhabitants. A number of museums exist on the island, as well as the last surviving Finnish submarine, Vesikko.

References:

Comments

Your name



Details

Founded: 1748-1917
Category: Castles and fortifications in Finland
Historical period: The Age of Enlightenment (Finland)

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Audrey Low (5 years ago)
the toy museum was so quaint and pretty!! gets really cold on the island though the ferry ride to the island was fast! if you are getting single trip tickets at the dock, you can only pay in coins if you are using cash which kinda sucks
Amy Wiseman (5 years ago)
The most unique place to go if you get to Hki on a cruise. A must-see for tourists with the time, and a good picnic spot for locals in the summer.
Orestis Karadimitriou (5 years ago)
A must place when you are visiting Helsinki. Excellent place to explore the country' past and unique landscape and scenery. Requires a lot of walking so please get the appropriate gear per season. Best time May to October. A least three museums military - local history - toys. Requires from one hour up to the whole day if you can afford it and weather permitting. A few places to eat on the island or for a coffee plus a super market near the dock that offers a selection of snacks. Try to make the round of the islands and be exploring but also descret as sometimes is difficult to differentiate private property from public places. People still leave there so is a living museum - a unique one. 10k steps can be easily consumed to get an idea of effort if you are into hiking mood. Don't miss it!!!!
Erica Hoot (5 years ago)
Excellent half day trip in Helsinki. Beautiful, well maintained little island with tons of history. The military museums were fascinating. The brewery was great too!
Ujang Sapriatna (5 years ago)
We think this is a must visit place in Helsinki. We took public ferry transport to reach the island, which is included in public transport ticket. The island is pretty and huge. Prepare 3-6 hours to explore the island. The island also has some cafes, tourist info center, museums, and fortress. It's a good place to walk around with families.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

La Iruela Castle

The castle of La Iruela, small but astonishing, is located on the top of a steep crag in Sierra de Cazorla, Segura y Las Villas Natural Park. From the castle, impressive views of the surrounding area and of the town can be enjoyed.

The keep dates from the Christian era. It has a square base and small dimensions and is located at the highest part of the crag.

There are some other enclosures within the tower that create a small alcázar which is difficult to access.

In a lower area of the castle, protected with defensive remains of rammed earth and irregular masonry, is an old Muslim farmstead.

After a recent restoration, an open-air theater has been built on La Iruela castle enclosure. This theater is a tribute to the Greek and Classic Eras and holds various artistic and cultural shows throughout the year.

History

The first traces of human activity in La Iruela area are dated from the Copper Age. An intense occupation continued until the Bronze Age.

Originally, La Iruela (like Cazorla) was a modest farmstead. From the 11th century, a wall and a small fortress were built on the hill to protect the farmers.

Around 1231, don Rodrigo Ximénez de Rada, Archbishop of Toledo, conquered La Iruela and made it part of the Adelantamiento de Cazorla. Over the Muslim fortress, the current fortress was built.

Once the military use of the fortress ended, it was used as cemetery.