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Soumenlinna Fortress

 

During its wars against Russia in the 1700s, the Swedish Parliament believed it necessary to build a fortress to reinforce its defenses and establish a naval base in Helsinki. Construction of the fortification started in 1748 on the Susiloudot Islands (now Soumenlinna) off Helsinki. They named the fortress, Sveaborg (Castle of the Swedes).

Suomenlinna is a group of rocky islands connected by bridges. It has seen a succession of foreign occupation from the Swedes to the Russians before finally becoming a part of an independent Finland.

Soumenlinna Church was built in 1854 as a Russian Orthodox garrison church. It was converted to the Evangelical Lutheran Church when Finland gained independence in 1917 and took ownership of Soumenlinna in 1918. The steeple is also a lighthouse for air and sea traffic.

The Great Courtyard was designed by Augustin Ehrensvärd and it was the main square and administrative center of Soumenlinna since the 1760s. Ehrensvärd is laid to rest in the center of the square (above).

The dry dock was built during the Swedish era in 1750. The Swedish Coastal Fleet built their ships here until 1808. It is the oldest dry dock in Finland and is currently used to repair wooden sailing ships.

These flowering trees were in bloom in June. Soumenlinna is a nice break from Helsinki and only minutes away.

This is where some of the guided sightseeing tour boats dock at Soumenlinna. It costs quite a bit more to take these tours. If you like to explore on your own, you can buy a day ticket from the Helsinki Region Transport Authority (HSL) ferries for 8 euros (check HSL for current price) located on the main quay on Market Square. You will get off at the main pier in Soumenlinna. 
https://www.hsl.fi/en/tickets-and-fares

Soumenlinna means Castle of Finland. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
How to get there:
Take a ferry from Market Square in Helsinki for the 15-20 minute ride to Soumenlinna. There is no entrance fee to the fortress. But there are entrance fees to the museums on the island. Check their website for more information: soumenlinna.fi

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Images by TravelswithCharie


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