Suomenlinna

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It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and, with 900,000 visitors a year, is one of the most popular tourist destinations, as are locals who call it the Gibraltar of the North
It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and, with 900,000 visitors a year, is one of the most popular tourist destinations, as are locals who call it the Gibraltar of the North
Suomenlinna is an 18th-century  sea fortress located on several interconnected islands in front of the Finnish capital Helsinki. Suomenlinna has about 850 registered inhabitants and hundreds of other workers who work there throughout the year.  8 kilometers of wall surround its buildings and barracks with more than 100 coastal defense guns that recall the times when the place was a defensive stronghold in the face of the threat of a Russian invasion by sea.
Sweden began building the fortress in 1748, as a defence measure of protection against the expansion of Imperial Russia. The person responsible for the fortification was Augustin Ehrensvard. The original plan was influenced by the precepts of Vauban, the most important military engineer of his time.
In addition to the fortress island, fortifications facing the sea from the mainland ensured that an enemy could not dock on a beach. The defense plan included the storage of ammunition for the Finnish contingent of the Swedish Army and Navy. During the War of Finland, the fortress surrendered to Russia on May 3, 1808, facilitating the occupation of Finland by Russian forces in 1809. During the Finnish civil war in 1918, the castle was used as a prisoner of war camp by the red guards.

Suomenlinna lost its strategic interest and, after having seen the military presence diminish within its walls, was restored to the civil administration in 1973.Suomenlinna is now one of Helsinki’s main tourist attractions. In particular, the War Museum exhibits in Suomenlinna two key elements of its collections, the submarine Vesikko  and the “Manege”
It is on the UNESCO World Heritage List and, with 900,000 visitors a year, is one of the most popular tourist destinations, as are locals who call it the Gibraltar of the North. In the mid-1980s the Nordic Arts Centre was established on the island. Several buildings have been converted into artists’ studios, which are let by the administration at reasonable rates. During the summer there is an art school for children.

The best-known writer of fantastic literature of today, George RR Martin, author of the saga “Song of Ice and Fire” on which the internationally successful television series “Game of” Thrones “is based, wrote a short story about the surrender of the fortress, published in 2007 in his collection of stories “Dreamsongs”.
In Suomenlinna are the recording studios “Seawolf”, where internationally renowned artists such as Finnish rock legends Hanoi Rocks or Franz Ferdinand have worked and recorded some of their works.

Access : Coordinates: 60.14361124.984444 / Suomenlinna is only accessible by boat. The journey requires approximately 15-20 minutes. The ferry runs year-round, while the water bus only runs from May to September.
/ Water buses operate from the cruise ship dock of the market square. The return water bus sails from the Suomenlinna Center dock and also stops at Puerta del Rey. Tickets can be purchased on board or at the market square kiosk. The water bus
/ Own yachts can be parked at the guest port on Susisaari Island, but only subject to availability.

Highlights :

  • Museums : Suomenlinna Museums ( There are 6 museums on the island ). The museum contains unique pieces of artillery from the time of the Russian Empire – the 6-inch siege gun of the 1904 model and other guns have been preserved.
  • Ehrensverd Museum : Toy Museum in Suomenlinn Manege Military Museum  , Museum of the Soviet-Finnish and World War II.
  • Customs Museum . The entrance is free. Hostel Suomenlinna is a hostel located on the island of Iso Mustasaari.
  • Prison in Suomenlinna : On the main island of Suomenlinna, there is a men’s prison, one of Finland’s 13 prisons, operating on the principle of an “open prison” . Convicts for crimes of all kinds except sex are serving their sentences here. The main task of the prison is to prepare prisoners for life after release. Prisoners work both on the island and in Helsinki itself, receiving a salary and paying for their maintenance from it.
  • Submarine Vesikko : The Vesikko is a submarine, currently used as a museum ship, located on the island fort Suomenlinna in the Finnish municipality of Helsinki. It is managed by the Military Museum of Helsinki. The boat is since July 9, 1973 to visit as a museum ship.
  • The Blue Route : the Blue Route, which is the suggested way to not miss any of the sites of interest. The entire route, which runs from north to south, must be done on foot. In total, there is no more than 1.5km from the beginning to the end, although it can be lengthened much more by giving detours to explore the areas outside the main route.
  • Suomenlinna Church : The Suomenlinna church was built as a Russian Orthodox military temple in 1854. In the 1920s, during the first years of independence from Finland, the church was transformed into a Lutheran evangelical temple.
  • Kustaanmiekka : Kustaanmiekka offers you a view of the original bastion fortress and the coastal defense line with its embankments and the cannons built by the Russians at the end of the 19th century.
  • King’s Gate : The monumental Puerta del Rey is the emblem of Suomenlinna. It was built between 1753 and 1754 as the ceremonial entrance gate to the fortress, choosing for its location the place where the ship that transported the founder of the fortress, King Adolfo Federico of Sweden, anchored on his visit for the inspection of the construction work in 1752.

Admission fees : Entrance to the fortress itself is free, you need to pay only when visiting museums. / Opening hours: The Fortress of Suomenlinna has no opening or closing hours, so in this regard you just have to take into account the schedule of the boats.

Facilities : The visitor center, located next to the ferry dock, opens from 10 am to 6 pm between May 2 and September 30, and from 10 am to 4 pm the rest of the year.
/ Center store has souvenirs, postcards, books and gifts for sale./ art store : The art store offers local crafts, prints, screen prints and books and performs traveling exhibitions / shop b34
Sell high quality handicrafts made on the island / Museum Store
It offers a wide variety of books, postcards, posters, clothing and souvenirs from Suomenlinna / Toy Museum Store / Supermarket / Rantakasarmi Gallery / Augusta Gallery / Pot Viapori Ceramics Study
It sells products created by the potters of Suomenlinna./ Hytti Association glass study / Tokuyuan Japanese Tea Room / Suomenlinna youth hostel / Suomenlinna Library / Kuntomaneesi gym / Leisure port, sports port / Bastion Bistro /
Susisaari Restaurant / Viaporin Deli & Cafe / Silo coffee / Vanille coffee / Walhalla Restaurant / Cafe of the Suomenlinna Center / Piper coffee / Samovarbar Cafe of the Toy Museum / Linna Bar

Activities : sightseeing / photo opportunities / trekking – walking at the The Blue Route / picnicking – The Kustaanmiekka covered picnic area seats 60 people and is open to the public in summer. / Guided tours / From June to August there are guided walking tours every day in Finnish, Swedish, English and Russian.

Go next : Kuivasaari is a fortress island / Helsinki / Nuuksio National Park in Espoo / Porvoo / Tampere, the second largest city region in Finland / Hameenlinna, 100 km to north is famous for the Hame castle

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