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Suomenlinna, Helsinki - A World Heritage Site

Home > Helsinki > Architecture | Castles | Day Trips | Historic Houses | Museums
by Tina Maria (subscribe)
Freelance writer based in Helsinki, Finland.
Published September 21st 2013
A part of Swedish, Russian and Finnish maritime history
Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna from the shore


Suomenlinna, a maritime fortress, located to the South of Helsinki, is accessible by a short ferry ride from the market square docks.

Formerly referred to as Sveaborg or Viapori, this fortress is a large part of Finnish and Baltic history and as such was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1991.

Suomenlinna is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a busy tourist attraction during the Summer but also a host to almost 850 residents all year long.

The Fortress
Part of the fortress


Suomenlinna has been part of the defence of three separate countries, Sweden, Russia and Finland, during it's time. Initially it was under Swedish rule from 1748 until the Russo-Swedish war in 1808-1809 when it came under Russian rule. It finally became part of Finland in 1917 after they declared independence.

Suomenlinna
Suomenlinna buildings


As expected of any tourist attraction, the fortress has many cafes, restaurants and museums for the tourists and residents to enjoy but it also has a library, hostel, supermarket and a church.

The church was initially built during the Russian rule in 1854. It was a Russian Orthadox garrison church which had five steeples with traditional onion domes. In 1920, under the Finnish rule, the church was converted to an Evangelical-Lutheran church. The outside of the church was changed to a quadrangular shape and the onion domes were removed.

Suomenlinna Church
Suomenlinna church in present day


The church also works as a lighthouse for air and sea traffic. It is one of very few in the world which serves both the purpose of a lighthouse and a church. The lighthouse's signal blink is the letter 'H' for Helsinki in Morse code.

Suomenlinna Church Fence
The church fence is made out of old cannons and anchor chains


A trip to this cluster of islands is a great way to spend the day if you are looking to soak up some culture, history and enjoy the beautiful outdoors.

Cannon
Old cannon on Suomenlinna


There is something for everyone whether you are looking to learn about the history, enjoy the parks and cafes or go for a walk along the many small hills around the fortress and look at the sights.

Hills on Soumenlinna
Hills on suomenlinna


Suomenlinna is also a good place for taking photographs as you are able to get a different view of mainland Helsinki from the hills and a great view out to the Baltic sea.

Baltic Sea from Suomenlinna
Views of the Baltic sea from Suomenlinna
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Why? History
When: All year round
Phone: 358295338300
Where: Helsinki, Finland
Cost: Ferry ticket - Currently 2.80 euros each way
Your Comment
I love the houses embedded in the hills.
by Bryony Harrison (score: 4|11507) 1517 days ago
These are wonderful photos of the fort and the area. Nice to see as I don't know that I'll ever get to visiting Finland!
by Kristin Ravelle (score: 2|302) 881 days ago
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