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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Looking through one of the openings in the outer wall towards
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.
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.
The outer wall on the west side of the castle, and the defensive
Olavinlinna Castle lost its' military purpose in 1809 when Finland
became an autonomous part of Russia. Russian soldiers stayed in
the castle until 1847.
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.
part of the towers were added by the Russians.
view of the defense towers. Olavinlinna is the best preserved castle
in the Nordic countries.