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Helsinki is surrounded by numerous islands. The best known island group is Suomenlinna. Thanks to many well-preserved historic buildings, a visit there is like travelling back in time. One of the biggest attractions is the 18th century fort that became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
The ferry crossing from the Helsinki harbour to the island takes approximately 20 minutes. Along the way you will enjoy lovely views of the city, the large ships and several small islands, both inhabited and uninhabited. Suomenlinna is home to approximately 900 people. The island boasts a vast network of walking trails, restaurants, shops and even a beach.
“History, culture and nature of Suomenlinna”
Construction of the fort began in 1748 to protect the country against the Russians, back in the days when Sweden ruled Finland. The fort was originally called Sveaborg (‘Swedish Fortress’). A few years later, the impressive King’s Gate was added to commemorate a visit by Swedish king Adolf Fredrik. However, the fort was just not enough to keep the Russians at bay and in 1808 Finland was conquered. More than a century later, Finland declared itself independent and the fort finally became Finnish property. The name practically speaks for itself: Suomenlinna (Finnish fort).
During the construction of the fort on Suomenlinna, wooden houses were built for the soldiers and officers; these are still inhabited or have been converted to studios, restaurants or art galleries. In the last few decades, Suomenlinna has become a pleasant car-free outpost of Helsinki. Residents of the Finnish capital flock here for a cultural outing, a picnic, a walk or a day on the beach.