Most of today I spent at Suomenlinna – a handful of islands a 15 minute boat-ride away that were a coastal fortress. Originally built by the Swedish in 1748 it was occupied by the Russians, and was handed over to the city in 1973. There’s still a naval academy on one of the smaller islands, but for the most part it’s residential and a museum.
While waiting for the ferry, I took a quick look at a nice sailing ship that was moored up though:
Anyway, after a 15 minute ferry ride I arrived at the islands. I decided to walk the main route through to the far end to begin with, to outrun the tour party who were hot on my heels. One of the houses (people live there too) had some fun halloween decorations:
Crossing over to the second main island, you go through an archway under one of the main walls
Leading off to the side of this were tunnels in both directions which I took a quick walk down. They’re all empty now
Back in the courtyard (where the archway tunnel drops you) is the tomb of the designer, Augustin Ehrensvärd.
Heading out of the courtyard along the road, autumn colours were in full swing. Combined with the low winter sun (even at midday at this latitude it doesn’t get very high in the sky, making good photo-taking light!) it made for a pleasant walk, although cold. Leaves in shade were still frosty.
I arrived at the southern end of the island, where a line of coastal cannons still stand. A bit of googling suggests these have a 279mm caliber, and could fire the 245 kg shell a range of 8.5 km, albeit at a leisurely 1.5 rounds per minute. They’re pretty rusted up now.
Continuing around the edge of the island I was back inside tunnels, containing some older more primitive cannons
One tunnel led off here for a few hundred metres in pitch black (good job my phone has a torch built in), and when I exited, I was at the “kings gate”. Although it’s not where the ferry now stops, it’s the traditional main entrance to the fortress.
I walked back along the edge of the island towards the bridge linking to the island where the ferry docked, via some mortars (similar power to the coastal cannons), some small boats moored up, and colourful buildings.
I had to pass through the great courtyard again, so stopped to photograph a couple of bikes, and also look out over the dry dock where various ships were laid up.
Also on the edge of the island is a submarine. It’s the only remaining Finnish submarine (they were ordered to scrap them all in the Paris Treaty of 1947), and in the summer you can go inside it. Not today though.
I passed back over to the other island, stopping for a drink, and then found some lunch. Walking back towards the ferry I took another couple of pictures.
I also walked up to the church. The fence around it is made of a very heavyweight chain link fence, with the vertical supports made of cannons! The church itself was rather plain.
A little more walking about, then it was time to catch the ferry back.
Once I got back, I walked up the eastern edge of the city and out to small park. From here I could see some large ships, which, when I searched the name, turn out to be icebreakers. I guess it won’t be long before they are off up to the arctic…
There was also another damn turtle. I then headed across town towards the Rock Church, on the way spotting a metal dome on top of what looked to be apartments.
The rock church is nothing to do with worshipping Iron Maiden – it’s a church carved out of bedrock, and topped by a large copper dome. Quite a sight, although they were tuning the organ while I was there which was not a pleasant sound.
After that I grabbed some dinner, and then wandered back to the hotel, stopping for a quick photo from the bridge just after the sun had gone down.