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Suomenlinna Fortress

The Suomenlinna is a fortress in Finland, built on six islands near Helsinki. It was begun by Lieut.-Col. Augustin Ehrensvärd in 1748, when Finland was part of Sweden, and building continued during the Russian period.

Suomenlinna is an irregular bastion fortress, built of granite and adapted to its island site. The buildings show some Rococo influence, the 19th-century barracks being eclectic in style. As a naval base, the functional centre of the fortress was the galley harbour, with its dry dock blasted into the seabed.

The most notable of the castle courtyards was the Great Courtyard, a square closed on all sides, which narrowed to the east giving a false perspective.

At its western end, there were two curved buildings, which formed an exedra motif. In the middle of the courtyard is the tomb of Augustin Ehrensväard. The Great Courtyard was partly destroyed in 1885, in bombings during the Crimean War.

In the 18th century Suomenlinna Fortress was important both as a cultural centre and for technical innovations. Between 1918 and 1972 it was a Finnish military base, and now, as well as being one of the most important cultural monuments in Finland, it is also a lively community.

In 1991 Suomenlinna Fortress was included in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Visitor Information

Suomenlinna is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland. It is a maritme fortress consisting of a group of islands.

What to see and to do:

  • A 4 minutes aerial tour of the fortress
  • 15 minutes ferry tour 
  • Visit its historical sights such as fortress walls, tunnels, cannons and museums
  • Rest and relax: restaurants and coffe shops

Suomenlinna Fortress Map&Location

Suomenlinna Fortress Location: Next to Helsinki, about 15 minutes boat ride from the centre.

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Suomenlinna Fortress Photos

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Suomenlinna fortress - Source:
Suomenlinna aerial view - Source:
Suomenlinna Fortress - Photos © Jennifer Boyer
Suomenlinna fortress

Suomenlinna fortress

Suomenlinna trip - Gulf of Finland
Suomenlinna Fortress - Photos © Jennifer Boyer