All pictures are copyright by Gary Martens, All rights reserved.

Click on image to see larger version
Hame 1 Looking northeast towards Olavinlinna Castle. Olavinlinna, or Saint Olaf's fortress, was established by the commandant of Vyborg fortress in 1475. The medieval castle consists of a main castle, three towers seen in this picture, and a bailey with an encircling wall reinforced by towers. The castle is located in the swiftly flowing strait of Kyrönsalmi between Lake Haukivesi and Lake Pihlajavesi, near the city of Savonlinna in southeastern Finland.
Hame Castle moot The entrance to the castle is across a floating bridge, which can be seen to the far left in the pictures of the exterior. The castle served to repel attacks from the east, although none happen, and to guarantee control of the Savo region of Finland for the Swedish Crown.
Hame Castle wall Partially visible here are the inner buildings of the Olavinlinna Castle. The area in the foreground is used by the Savonlinna Opera Festival. The first Savonlinna Opera Festival took place in 1912, and it has been held continously in the summer since 1967.
Hame Castle wall The outer wall of the castle, on the south side. The castle went through numerous phases of construction, first as a Swedish fortress, and from 1743 as a Russian border fortification.
Hame Castle entrance

The outer defense walls of the castle.
Olavinlinna castle served as a Swedish eastern border castle until the beginning of the 18th century. The Great Northern War broke out, and in 1714 Olavinlinna Castle had to surrender to Russian soldiers. There was no food and munition left in the castle after a long siege.

Hame Castle wall

Looking through one of the openings in the outer wall towards Lake Saimaa.

Erik Axelsson, the founder of Olavinlinna Castle, was a Danish knight (in the 15th century Sweden-Finland was still united with Denmark and Norway). He named Olavinlinna Castle, or St. Olof's Castle, after the patron saint of all knights, St. Olof, who lived in the 11th century and was a famous Norwegian crusader.

Hame Castle tower

A cannon in position along the outer wall of the castle.

The first Russian period of control of the castle was short and was over in 1721. In a peace treaty the border line was moved again and Swedes got their castle back. In 1743 Olavinlinna Castle became a Russian garrison again after a peace treaty of Turku. At that time Russians stayed in the castle for nearly 100 years.

Hame Castle tower

The outer wall on the west side of the castle, and the defensive tower.

Olavinlinna Castle lost its' military purpose in 1809 when Finland became an autonomous part of Russia. Russian soldiers stayed in the castle until 1847.

Hame Castle interior

Another view of the top of the outer wall.

In the 1850's Olavinlinna Castle served as a prison. In the 1860's two fires caused extensive damage to the castle. First restorations were made already in the 19th century, but the castle was restored thoroughly between 1961-1975.

Hame Castle interior The top-most part of the towers were added by the Russians.
Hame Castle interior Another view of the defense towers. Olavinlinna is the best preserved castle in the Nordic countries.

Return to the Castles Page

© 1999-2008, Gary Martens, All Rights Reserved -- This page last modified: Friday 7 November 2008