Fortress of Suomenlinna
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Built in the second half of the 18th century by Sweden on a group of islands located at the entrance of Helsinki's harbour, this fortress is an especially interesting example of European military architecture of the time.
|Suomenlinna (Finnish name) or Sveaborg (Swedish name) is an
inhabited sea fortress built on six islands, today within Helsinki, the capital
of Finland. It is popular with both tourists and locals, who enjoy it as a
picturesque picnic site. Originally named Sveaborg (Fortress of Svea), the Finns
renamed it Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) for obvious patriotic reasons, though
it is still known as Sveaborg to Swedes and Swedish-speaking Finns.
Sweden started building the fortress in 1748 as a protection against Russian expansionism. The general responsibility for the job of fortification was given to Augustin Ehrensvärd.
The original plan was strongly influenced by the precepts of Vauban, the foremost military engineer of the time.
In addition to the island fortress itself, seafacing fortifications on the continent would ensure that an enemy could not get a beach-head there from which to attack.
The plan was also to stock munitions for the whole Finnish contingent of the Swedish Army and Royal Swedish Navy there. In the Finnish War the fortress surrendered to Russia on May 3rd, 1808, paving the way for the occupation of Finland by the superior Russian forces in 1809.
Sources and links:
Other World Heritage Sites in Finland (on this site). Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section Finland for further information about the individual properties.
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Revised 21 jul 2006