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Suomenlinna (island just off Helsinki mainland)

FINLAND | Thursday, 26 June 2008 | Views [1565] | Comments [1]

For my last 2 nights in Helsinki i stayed at a youth hostel on Suomenlinna Island. The island has a pretty important history - which i learnt by doing a guided tour.

It's actually 6 islands (most joined by causeways) that served as the main fortress in Finland (defended first by the Swedes when Finland was part of their territory, then the Russians when they seized it). The ramparts e.t.c. took 60 years of hard work (mostly blasting rocks out of the bedrock)to build, despite the original deadline of 5 years and 11 islands promised to the Swedish king. Apparently more Swedes lost their lives building the fortress than ever died defending it! Suomenlinna had a much greater population people than Helsinki itself for ages.

Most of the original ramparts are still on the island (despite the civil and world wars) and there are still cannons scattered around the place - so it's a great place to explore - there are also heaps of tunnels and what look like Hobbit houses (old munitions stores). While i was there Finns and tourists were using it as a picnic spot.

It is very very beautiful. Only other person in the hostel with me was an Albanian guy called Tony. We still managed to have some fun though - on Saturday night we went down to the bar and listened to the live Finnish band out in the sun. All these people had docked their boats there and were listening as well - a damn good idea.

Comments

1

Hey there, stranger! Hope all is well with your travels, and we all look forward to hearing more from you soon.

  Jeremy Jul 3, 2008 8:33 AM

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