September 4, 2014

The Fortress of Lappeenranta

Having a dog means that every day you get to go on at least one walk. The walks here are all surrounded by water and old city charm, pretty typical stuff (old buildings, cobbelstones).  I was not expecting to find a Fortress dating back to 1649 literally a two minute walk from our apartment!  After our walk I was dying to get home and learn a little bit about the place, turns out it has quite the history.  

The Fortress of Lappeenranta:

The Fortress of Lappeenranta is a unique place in South-Eastern Finland. Inhabited and full of life even today, it once formed part of a defence system that also included the fortress of Suomenlinna in Helsinki and the fortress of Hamina. 

Although different in size, all three of these fortresses are of a similar nature and share the same passion for development. While seeking to protect and preserve these areas through careful land use planning, they also aim to increase services and levels of activity around the year. 

The Fortress of Lappeenranta was born and built squeezed between east and west. At first, the town of Lappeenranta developed in the shelter and safe vicinity of the Fortress, gradually expanding to the surrounding countryside known as the former parish of Lappee. The Fortress became the 'Old Town', which has nevertheless remained inhabited and full of life.

For centuries, Sweden-Finland and Russia fought against each other. The Fortress of Lappeenranta was constructed as a border fortress, forming part of the chain of fortresses between Finland and North-Western Russia. Over the centuries, the Fortress was alternately held by the Swedes and Russians. 

After the treaty of Nystad in 1721, Lappeenranta became the easternmost town of Sweden, and the fortification works were initiated. Following the Treaty of Åbo in 1743, the town remained on the Russian side of the border and Russians continued the fortification works. The present Fortress structures, renovated by Finland's National Board of Antiquities, are mainly based on the fortifications built at the end of the 18th century. 

This information was taken from this website and more information can be found there.  I also found another more interactive website that had some more detailed information about the Fortress.  If you are curious about the bigger picture, wiki has a great page all about the South-Eastern Finland Fortification system, the link is right here.

We had a lot of fun walking up the Fortress walls and watching as Raylan barreled full speed ahead and fell down small cliffs.  

Raylan didn't see that one coming! 

A view of the harbor from the Fortress wall. 

Now I am off for a run with Raylan!  Any guesses as to the route we will be choosing?? Hint, its than the rest of the town.  

xoxo Cacilie

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