Vyborg Castle - A Medieval Fortress

If you’re looking for something slightly different whilst touring Russia, head to the small town of Vyborg and take a tour of the Vyborg Castle. This 13th century medieval fortress is different because it enjoys a more Finnish design. When it was built it was one of three major castles in Finland. It was designed to serve as the easternmost outpost for medieval Sweden and is located on the corner of the Gulf of Finland on the Karelian isthmus. It was originally built in the 1290s and today serves, not only as an interesting historical attraction but also as a museum.

When the fortress was originally built the town which sprang up in support of it originally enjoyed the protection of the castle’s outer fortifications. However the city continued to grow at a rate that the fortress could simply not accommodate since it was located on an island and there was not much space for expansion. Before long, the town was moved out of the castle to its present location. The Vyborg Castle was constructed at the order of Torkel Knutsson who wanted the new fortress to protect the Bay of Vyborg. This castle, known in Finland as Viipuri, had enjoyed a large fief until 1366 when the newly elected king decided to divide up the castle fiefs into smaller provinces. The castle then came into its own as it became the biggest and most important stronghold of the Karelian regions of Sweden. It was the kingdom’s first defense against the Russians and this meant that keeping it well stocked and updated was vitally important.

The castle enjoyed a long and prosperous history and it underwent quite a number of extensions in the 15th century. Unfortunately, it was repeatedly besieged by the Russians during the Russo-Swedish War. Fortunately the Russians were scared off by a mysterious explosion during 1495 and the castle was safe for a few more centuries. In the 17th century, the country faced bigger dangers elsewhere and so the Vyborg Castle entered a period of decay. This made it weak enough to be captured by the Russians in 1710 but it was passed back to Finland in 1812. The Vyborg Castle only really became a Russian fortress after World War II when the borders between these two countries were changed. Today this ancient fortress is much changed since it was originally built in the 13th century, but it is still an immensely interesting place. Why not visit the museum and find out more about this stunning tourist attraction?


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