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The Fortress of Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress built on eight islands about 4 km southeast of the city center of Helsinki, the capital of Finland.

  • Historically, Suomenlinna played an important role in Baltic power politics and is superb example of military architecture. The fortress was built with French aid as Sweden’s Fortress against the Russians. Under the Russians it served as a defence against the West. At one time the fortress was such a powerful military stronghold it was called the Gibraltar of the North. Suomenlinna was inscribed in 1991.
  • In 1918, some months after the country became independent, a Finnish garrison took over Suomenlinna. After the Civil War it served as a prison camp, and during World War II it was vital to the air defence of Helsinki. Military period of the fortress ended in 1973, but Suomenlinna is still home to the Naval Academy.
  • Nowadays a popular tourist and recreation centre, Suomenlinna has a population of over 850 and provides about 400 jobs. Responsibility for the upkeep of the 200 or so buildings and over six kilometres of ramparts rests with the Governing Body of Suomenlinna under the Ministry of Education. In 2000 Suomenlinna was awarded a medal by Europa Nostra for the quality of its restoration and revitalisation of the fortress.

How to get there?

  • Suomenlinna is accessible only by water. A ferry service runs from the Market Square to Suomenlinna throughout the year. During summer and autumn, a water bus service to Suomenlinna is also available. The guest harbour in the middle of Suomenlinna caters to visitors arriving by their own boats.
  • The trip to Suomenlinna takes 15–20 minutes and offers magnificent views of Helsinki and the surroundings from the sea. During the cold winter months, the trip through the ice-covered waters is a unique experience.

World Heritage in Finland

  • Unesco approved the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage in 1972. The World Heritage Convention is a global decision to promote the treasuring and preservation of unique cultural and natural heritage for future generations. In Finland there is seven World Heritage sites.

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