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Old December 15th, 2006, 11:58 PM   #1
Ringil
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Finnish Strongholds

In this thread I've tried to list the bigger Finnish castles/strongholds.
The castles listed here were built by Sweden between 1280-1750 (with exceptions), to defend the newly conquered Finland from "barbarians" in the east. I'm no expert on this, so be prepared for some faults

Map showing the location of the castles in chronological order



1 Turku/Åbo Castle Built: ~ 1280s
2 Vyborg Castle Built: ~ 1293 (in Russian hands today)
3 Korela Castle Built: ~ 1293 (in Russian hands today)
4 Kastelholm Castle Built: ~ 1300s, second part
5 Häme Castle Built: 1300s, second part
6 Raseborg Built: ~ 1370s
7 Olavinlinna Built: ~ 1475
8 Suomenlinna Built: ~ 1748

White dots: a few important strongholds/cities in the near region. (Tallinn, Narva, Koporye, Shlisselburg)

1. Turku Castle also known as: Åbo Slott, Turun Linna

Short Facts
Turku castle is the largest surviving medieval building in Finland, and one of the largest surviving medieval castles in Scandinavia. The castle has been subject to numerous sieges and several battles have been waged aside its walls. Of all Finnish castles, Turku castle has the most warlike history besides Vyborg castle and Olavinlinna. The Castle's heyday was in the mid-16th century during the reign of Duke John of Finland and Katarina Jagellonica. That was when the Renaissance Floor and King's and Queen's hall were built, along with other features.

The castle was the center of the historical province of Finland Proper, and the administrative center of all of Finland. Its strong walls and dungeons also served as the state prison for centuries; even today, a prison is colloquially refererred to as linna (castle) in Finnish.
1280-1310

1310-1364

1507-1555


2. Vyborg Castle also known as: Viborg slott, Viipurin linna Russian today


Short facts
Viipurin linna was one of the three major castles of Finland. It was built as the easternmost outpost of the medieval Kingdom of Sweden: it is located on the Karelian isthmus, on a little islet in the innermost corner of the Gulf of Finland, in a tight strait which connects Suomenvedenpohja to Bay of Viipuri. It was originally constructed in the 1290s.

The town was originally located inside the outer fortifications of the castle, at the fortress island, but it had to be moved to its present location out of the island because of lack of space. The castle became the stronghold of the Swedish realm in Karelian regions. Throughout the centuries, it was the first defence of the kingdom against Russians. Its military and strategic status was in the late Middle Ages only second to the fortified capital Stockholm.

Vyborg around 1700


3. Korela Castle also known as: Kexholm slott, Käkisalmen linna. Russian today


It was first mentioned in a Novgorodian chronicle of 1143 and archeological digs have revealed a layer belonging to the 12th century. Swedish chronicles first reported of the settlement of Korela (Keksholm in Swedish) in 1294.

Soon after their seizure of Korela in 1580, the Swedes rebuilt the fortress following a Western European pattern of bastion fortifications. During the Time of Troubles, Korela was a price promised by Vasily IV of Russia to Jacob De la Gardie for helping him fight the Poles. As a result, the fortress remained with Sweden for 100 years, until Peter the Great recaptured it during the Great Northern War.



4. Kastelholm Castle also known as: Kastelholma (linna)


Short facts
The castle (situated on Åland) was built on a small island that was surrounded by water and moats filled with several lines of poles. It was first mentioned in 1388 in the contract of Queen Margaret I, where a large portion of the inheritance of Bo Jonsson Grip was given to her. The heyday of the castle was in the 15th and 16th centuries. King John III kept his deposed brother Eric XIV in captivity in the castle in the Fall of 1571.
The castle damaged severily when the forces of king Charles IX conquered it in the 1599 civil war. The castle was repaired by 1631, but it burned down in 1745 and was abandoned to ruin in 1770s.

Today, much of the Kastelhom Castle is reconstructed, and it is a major tourist attraction easily accessible by car or bus from Marieham.



5. Häme Castle also known as: Tavastehus slott, Hämeen Linna



There are arguments about the castle's age. Traditionally the construction of the castle has been connected to the legendary Second Swedish Crusade which would date the castle in the mid-13th century. However, there are no finds from the castle that could be firmly dated to a period earlier than 1320s. Also the contents of the crusade legend have been seriously contested. An earlier Swedish castle from about 1300 only some 20 kilometers away in Hakoinen also makes a 14th century dating for Häme Castle more probable. Russian Novgorod Chronicle only mentions one castle in Häme in 1311, its description matching well with the castle in Hakoinen.

Construction of Häme castle probably started after the Novgorod invasion. The first castle was made of gray stone, and later bricks were used.

Castle's military importance reduced by the end of the 16th century. Defensive systems were upgraded in the 18th century with bastions around the castle. The castle became a prison in the 19th century and served as such until 1953, when a massive restauration work started. The castle has been a museum since 1988. Facilities can also be rented for private events.
1650s




6. Raseborg castle also known as: Raaseporin linna



The castle was built in the 14th century to protect Sweden's interests in southern Finland. Multiple battles were fought between Swedish and Danish forces and even pirates over the control of the castle in the Middle Ages. The castle was abandoned in 1553 after Helsingfors (current day Helsinki) was founded in 1550 and became strategically more important. Restoration work began in the 1890s and these days the castle ruins are open to the public.

7. Olavinlinna
also known as: Olofsborg, St. Olaf's Castle



The building of Olavinlinna, castle of St. Olaf, began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region. The castle was supposed to repel Russian attacks from the east and to guarantee the control of the Savo region for the Swedish Crown. The history of Olavinlinna is a mixture of medieval arms clashing, cannons roaring and every-day chores inside the security of the castle’s thick walls.

The changes in the ownership of the castle left their mark on Olavinlinna: this can be seen in the varied architecture of the castle. These days the castle’s halls and rooms can be rented and used for all kinds of events. Amica Restaurants take care of the catering during these events.

There are two small exhibitions in the castle: the Castle Museum displays artifacts found in the castle or related to it, and the Orthodox Museum displays icons and other religious artifacts both from Finland and Russia.



8. Suomenlinna also known as: Sveaborg



Sweden started building the fortress in 1748 as a protection against Russian expansionism. The general responsibility for the fortification work 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 mainland would ensure that an enemy would not acquire a beach-head from which to stage attacks. 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.



Thx for watching fellow forumers. The plan is to make a thread like this for every country in S&B

DW, please dont spam the thread. The mods have promised to take action against any irrelevant shit
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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:03 AM   #2
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WOW!!!! This thread is quite informative and well done! Its an amazing piece of work, effort and will no doubt be an excellent reference to those that want to learn more about these Finnish castles. Great job, RIngil! I look forward to seeing the upcoming threads for different countries.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:05 AM   #3
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Great thread! Now i finally know more about Finnish castles, never really heard much about any of them. Sveaborg looks quite big and nice, looks older than a few of the castles from the 14th century and forward.

Vyborg Castle looked great back in the old days, but i see its been reconstructed a few times, sadly to the wors.
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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:30 AM   #4
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Ah... very neatly done, Ringil!
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Old December 16th, 2006, 12:19 PM   #5
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Great work Ringil! Some grand old castles there, I specially like how Olavinlinna is situated on a little peninsula of its own. Looking forward to see castles from other countries too
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Old December 16th, 2006, 02:47 PM   #6
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Great idea for a thread topic! and nice thread


Quote:
Originally Posted by AtlanticaC5 View Post
Great work Ringil! Some grand old castles there, I specially like how Olavinlinna is situated on a little peninsula of its own. Looking forward to see castles from other countries too
I actually think it's located on an island of its own
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Old December 16th, 2006, 02:50 PM   #7
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Yeah, now that I look closer it seems likely. Anyway it's still damn cool
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Old December 16th, 2006, 06:05 PM   #8
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ringil, this is a VERY good thread!
thank you very much for the history lesson (:
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Old December 16th, 2006, 09:13 PM   #9
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Very eager to know what sort of castles each country has. Latvia and Lithuania are mysteries for me. They were wealthy countries between great powers - that should mean a huge amount of castles from different eras.


Ringil covered the well known castles/strongholds -here's a small list of lesser known fortresses and castle ruins.

* Bomarsund fortress, Sund, Åland
* fortresses of Hamina, Hamina
* Korsholm castle -Chrysseborg, Vaasa
* fortresses of Ruotsinsalmi (sv: Svensksund), Kotka
* Kyminlinna fortress, Kotka
* Fort Slava, Kotka
* Kuusisto - Kustö biskopsborg - bishop castle, Kaarina
* Suitia Castle (one of the very few Renaissance castles in Finland), Sjundeå
* Svartholm fortress, Loviisa
* Kajaani castle (sv: Kajaneborg), Kajaani
* Taavetti fortress, Luumäki
* Lappeenranta/Villmanstrand fortress

... the rest are ever lesser known fortresses and ruins, some of which can be hard to say to exist today (like the ruins of Uleåborg/Oulu castle and the excavations of Borgå/Porvoo castle)


Svartholm


Bomarsund (only ruins left)


Kuusisto - Kustö biskopsborg


Hamina fortress (and the town of Hamina/Fredrikshamn)

Last edited by satama; December 17th, 2006 at 12:48 AM.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 04:54 PM   #10
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This is a very good thread Ringil... so good that it actually got me to post here for the first time!

As I am from Turku/Åbo I will focus on my hometowns castle. The pictures in this post were taken last August and some of the text is taken from the Virtual Finland-site and also from Wikipedia.


Turku castle was probably founded in 1280, i.e. at the very time when an old trading site on the Aurajoki river developed into a town, the oldest, and for a long time the biggest, in Finland. Its name was Åbo in Swedish and Turku in Finnish.


The king of the realm naturally resided in Stockholm most of the time, but the suite in Turku castle still deserved its name, as no other castle in Finland was so often visited by the monarch.


When the first king of the Vasa dynasty resided in Finland for eleven months in 1555-1556, the entire kingdom of Sweden was ruled from his hall in Turku castle


The importance of the castle is also evident in the fact that it was subject to nine sieges before the end of the 16th century, mainly due to internal strife within the kingdom.


John III (Johan III) (December 23, 1537 – November 17, 1592) was King of Sweden from 1568 until his death. He was also quite autonomously the ruler of Finland as Duke John or Hertig Johan (1556–1563). John III lived in the Turku castle 1556-1563


In 1614, the castle was damaged badly in fire when the king of Sweden Gustav II Adolf was visiting the castle.


Nowadays the Turku/Åbo castle is a very favourite tourist attraction and its chapel is a popular place for weddings in Turku, second only to the Cathedral of Turku.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 05:00 PM   #11
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Welcome to the SSC and S&B Aboa (latin for åbo?) and thx for the additional info
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Old December 17th, 2006, 05:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ringil View Post
Welcome to the SSC and S&B Aboa (latin for åbo?) and thx for the additional info
Tack, tack, I’ve been lurking this forum for some time now and finally decided to post here, thanks to your thread. It’s been on my mind to make my own Åbo-thread here but so far I’ve been just too lazy to do it...

And you were correct about my name… it really is Åbo in latin.
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Old December 17th, 2006, 07:13 PM   #13
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welcome aboa!! Awesome thread, Ringil ! Nice that you took the time to make such a nice and informative thread.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 02:42 AM   #14
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What a great presentation, Ringil! My favourite of these without a single doubt is Olavinlinna, it just looks so powerful and majestic, especially at night. And I love how it's situated on a little island of its own.

What a shame I haven't visited the Häme Castle yet! Although it isn't even so far away from here. I've only seen it from a train.. as an opposite for the Turku Castle, where I've been maybe too many times
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Old December 26th, 2006, 05:08 PM   #15
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Everyone interested in the history of Finland and Sweden should read the books by Herman Lindqvist. He grew up in Helsinki as his father was the ambassador here so he has a strong knowledge of the history of both nations.
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Old December 26th, 2006, 07:41 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by designwise View Post
Everyone interested in the history of Finland and Sweden should read the books by Herman Lindqvist. He grew up in Helsinki as his father was the ambassador here so he has a strong knowledge of the history of both nations.
He's a good writer but he has been critizised for coming with untrue facts
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Old December 27th, 2006, 09:48 AM   #17
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satama, you can try this link -> http://www.pilis.lv/tulk/galer_found.php
they have an english section, hope it's useful
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Old December 27th, 2006, 09:52 AM   #18
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and I found this veeery good source of info on LV's castles!

http://www.talava.com/latviancastles.html
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Old December 27th, 2006, 02:19 PM   #19
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thx, have had a hard time to place all the Lithuanian castles and ex castles on my map. Ive only been able to make 4-5 dots so far..
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Old October 2nd, 2007, 08:16 PM   #20
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What an informative thread! I just had to dig this up.. So few posts


Bomarsund looked very interesting. Shame that it's, like many of those Finnish strongholds, in ruins today..

Olofsborg has a very nice location indeed!
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