Compound experiences at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

You can easily spend a whole day just walking around on the islands. Or even spend the night if you wish. There are plenty of things to see, several restaurants spread out on the islands, and nice trails through the beautiful nature. It is also a vibrant, with about 800 persons living there, having their own school, shops and everything else a community need.

One of the cosy cafes at Suomenlinna.

One of the cosy cafes at Suomenlinna.

Regular houses at Suomenlinna.

Regular houses at Suomenlinna.

Piper park at Suomenlinna
One of the first things you notice approaching the islands, is the church. It was built as a Russian Orthodox garrison church in 1854, but was converted into Evangelival-Lutheran in the 1920s. The tower also work as a lighthouse for air and sea traffic.

Suomenlinna Church. The tower also works as a lighthouse.

Suomenlinna Church. The tower also works as a lighthouse.

The bell of Suomenlinna Church. Situated on the ground, as the tower work as a lighthouse.

The bell of Suomenlinna Church. Situated on the ground, as the tower work as a lighthouse.

We decided to start with the guided walk taking you to the main sights of the fortress, giving an introduction to the fascinating history, and the life on the islands today. It start from the visitor center, and depending on season and language, you should check the timetable.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress was founded on the islands outside of Helsinki in 1748. In 1991 it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The construction began already in the early 1700s, when Finland was a part of the Swedish kingdom. The mission was to prevent the Russians to get to close to Stockholm, and also to protect the then small city of Helsinki with its 1500 inhabitants. Even though the building was panned to finish in four years, it took ten times longer.

Augustin Ehrensvärd was the commandant of the fortress, and played a major role in building it. His house is made into a museum, showing both interior from that time, and also an exhibition about his life. It is situated on one of the sides of the courtyard, where he is also buried.

The Courtyard at Suomenlinna fortress with the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd. The yellow building behind was his house, now a museum.

The Courtyard at Suomenlinna fortress with the tomb of Augustin Ehrensvärd. The yellow building behind was his house, now a museum.

The house of the fortess commander Augustin Ehrensvärd.

The house of the fortess commander Augustin Ehrensvärd.

The courtyard was one of the most important places and served as the main square. It was closed on all sides, a trick to make it look bigger, and the show off the power.

After the Finnish War in 1808 the Russians took over the fortress, and it was used as their naval base the next 110 years. The Swedish commandant, Carl Olav Cronstedt was accused of treason against the Swedish crown when he surrendered to the Russians and Suomenlinna and Finland became a part of the Russian Empire. However, they had autonomy.

One of the Russian cannons from 1860-70. They were never used.

One of the Russian cannons from 1860-70. They were never used.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress 2

The King's Gate at Suomenlinna, built in 1953-54.

The King’s Gate at Suomenlinna, built in 1953-54.

The dry dock is one of the worlds oldest that is still in use. It was initially used to build ships for the Swedish Coastal Fleet, and to keep the boats in the winter. Nowadays it is used to store old wooden ships.

On the way to the dry dock.

On the way to the dry dock.

The dry dock at Suomenlinna. The oldest in the world that is still in use.

The dry dock at Suomenlinna. The oldest in the world that is still in use.

The submarine Vesikko, belonging to the Military Museum, is also possible to enter. This is the only remaining submarine in Finland after the peace treaty signed after World War 2.
Submarine Vesikko at Suomenlinna

Inside Submarine Vesikko.

Inside Submarine Vesikko.

If you want something completely opposite, visit the Toy Museum. It presents toys from the beginning of the 19th century up to the 1960s, featuring hundreds of dolls, teddy bears and other old toys.

Collection of different toys at the Toy Museum.

Collection of different toys at the Toy Museum.

Dolls at the Toy Museum at Suomenlinna

Barbie dolls, named after the daughter of the inventor, Barbara.

Barbie dolls, named after the daughter of the inventor, Barbara.

Toy museum
The guided walkthe house of commandant Augustin Ehrensvärd, the submarine Vesikko and the Toy Museum are all included in the Helsinki Card. It also include the ferry to Suomenlinna.

After walking around for a few hours, we were in need of something to eat and drink. We sat down at the brewery, Suomenlinnan Panimo, enjoying local beer and food. The perfect ending of a nice time at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress, the islands of adventures for everyone.

Outside the brewery, Suomenlinnan Panimo.

Outside the brewery, Suomenlinnan Panimo.

Suomenlinna Sea Fortress 1
Suomenlinna Sea Fortress 3

Nice beach and walking paths.

Nice beach and walking paths.

One thought on “Compound experiences at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress

  1. Pingback: Easy access to sights and activities with the Helsinki Card | Life is a journey!

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