Though it means “Castle of Finland,” Suomenlinna’s name only hints at the complex history of culture, trade, and conflict which produced the country we know today. The UNESCO World Heritage site, which occupies a small group of islands just off the coast of Helsinki, initially defended the then Swedish territory against outside forces.
Construction on the fortress began in 1748 and it remained in Swedish possession until Russia took hold of the territory in 1808. Finland finally gained independence from the global giant in 1917, at which point the fortress and its islands gained their present name. But don’t let us give you the whole history lesson! Plan to spend a whole day at Suomenlinna, which can only be accessed by water.
A city ferry runs from Market Square (Pohjoissatama) directly to the island, while water buses stop at other points of interest before docking at the fortress. (Many note that the crossing is especially picturesque during the winter months, when the island, the city, and the harbor are all decked in snow and ice.) Feel free to sail your own boat to the islands’ guest harbor if you’re feeling adventurous.
Sadly, there is no actual castle at Suomenlinna, but between all the town’s many features – including old barracks, a defunct prison, a church, and no fewer than six museums – you’re unlikely to get bored while there. Should you feel overwhelmed, guided tours are available year-round in a number of languages. You might also consider an overnight stay at the islands’ Hostel Suomenlinna.
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress Useful Info’s:
Phone number: +358 295 338 410
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