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. At first the castle only consisted of a stone wall, two round towers, and wooden buildings at the yard inside the castle.

Count Peter Brahe ordered a second construction stage of the castle, which was started in the 1650s and completed in 1666. During this construction stage, many wooden structures of the castle were replaced with stone structures to form a fortress.

During the Great Northern War (also known as the "Greater Wrath"), Russian forces sieged the castle for several months, until it was finally forced to surrender because of lack of food, firewood and ammunition. Shortly after this, the Russians exploded the castle and its inhabitants were transported to Russia to be imprisoned.

References:

Comments

Your name

Website (optional)



Address

Ahontie, Kajaani, Finland
See all sites in Kajaani

Details

Founded: 1604-1619
Category: Ruins in Finland
Historical period: Reformation (Finland)

Rating

4.1/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

Dave Joe (10 months ago)
World's northest stone castle
Laura Pascual (12 months ago)
The ruins alone are quite interesting, but the bridge on top totally spoils them.
Timo Laine (14 months ago)
Interesting piece of russian swedish war history from 17th and 18th century. A bridge was built above the ruins in 30s, which in a sense ruin the ruins or make it unique. Judge yourself. Entry is free of charge.
Ng Kwok (2 years ago)
Very nice place to learn about some of the Finnish Swedish Russian history. The place are ruins of the castle with the remaining base in place, and now a road going through it. The place looks great in the winter time as well as in the summer. It can be an adventurous place to wander with nearby activities for all the family.
Niklas Saari (2 years ago)
Castle ruins with very good access. Recently updated and well designed​ info boards for those who want to learn more about the history of the castle. Good place to visit with kids.
Powered by Google

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Hochosterwitz Castle

Hochosterwitz Castle is considered to be one of Austria's most impressive medieval castles. The rock castle is one of the state's landmarks and a major tourist attraction.

The site was first mentioned in an 860 deed issued by King Louis the German of East Francia, donating several of his properties in the former Principality of Carantania to the Archdiocese of Salzburg. In the 11th century Archbishop Gebhard of Salzburg ceded the castle to the Dukes of Carinthia from the noble House of Sponheim in return for their support during the Investiture Controversy. The Sponheim dukes bestowed the fiefdom upon the family of Osterwitz, who held the hereditary office of the cup-bearer in 1209.

In the 15th century, the last Carinthian cup-bearer, Georg of Osterwitz was captured in a Turkish invasion and died in 1476 in prison without leaving descendants. So after four centuries, on 30 May 1478, the possession of the castle reverted to Emperor Frederick III of Habsburg.

Over the next 30 years, the castle was badly damaged by numerous Turkish campaigns. On 5 October 1509, Emperor Maximilian I handed the castle as a pledge to Matthäus Lang von Wellenburg, then Bishop of Gurk. Bishop Lang undertook a substantial renovation project for the damaged castle.

About 1541, German king Ferdinand I of Habsburg bestowed Hochosterwitz upon the Carinthian governor Christof Khevenhüller. In 1571, Baron George Khevenhüller acquired the citadel by purchase. He fortified to deal with the threat of Turkish invasions of the region, building an armory and 14 gates between 1570 and 1586. Such massive fortification is considered unique in citadel construction.

Since the 16th century, no major changes have been made to Hochosterwitz. It has also remained in the possession of the Khevenhüller family as requested by the original builder, George Khevenhüller. A marble plaque dating from 1576 in the castle yard documents this request.

A specific feature is the access way to the castle passing through a total of 14 gates, which are particularly prominent owing to the castle's situation in the landscape. Tourists are allowed to walk the 620-metre long pathway through the gates up to the castle; each gate has a diagram of the defense mechanism used to seal that particular gate. The castle rooms hold a collection of prehistoric artifacts, paintings, weapons, and armor, including one set of armor 2.4 metres tall, once worn by Burghauptmann Schenk.