Saturday, September 15, 2012
700 Years of Viborg Castle 6.5.1993
was one of the three major castles of Finland. It was built as the easternmost outpost of the medieval Kingdom of Sweden: it is located on the Karelian isthmus, on a little islet in the innermost corner of the Gulf of Finland, in a tight strait which connects Suomenvedenpohja to Bay of Viipuri. It was originally constructed in the 1290s.
The town was originally located inside the outer fortifications of the castle, at the fortress island, but it had to be moved to its present location out of the island because of lack of space.
The Vyborg Castle is situated on a small island in the Castle Strait which was once the emptying of the Vuoksa River that connected the Gulf of Finland with Ladoga Lake.
The main building of the Castle is the St.Olaf Tower. Its brick walls with cannon loopholes make up an octahedron - this shape was considered the best to withstand bombardment. The shield baring three crowns (as in the coat of arms of the Swedish kingdom) was attached above the Tower portal by the appointment of King Eric XIV. The Tower being 48.6 m high is one of the tallest ones in Scandinavia. It is easy to see the space of 30 km from the observation deck of the Tower.
The so called "Tyuremnaya (Prison) Tower" of the Vyborg Castle is an example of the architecture of the Renaissance period known as "Vasa Renaissance" in Sweden. It prevailed in 1550-1650 when a lot of Italian and German masters were invited to work there.
The exhibit "From the History of the Vyborg Castle" brings the moments of the past. Bricks of the 15th century making the Raiskaya (Paradise) Tower before it was dismantled in the reconstruction of 1891-1894 are on display. The chambers adjacent to the Raiskaya (Paradise) Tower were the home for balls and magnificent celebrations arranged by Swedish King Karl Knutsson Bonde in the 15th century that was the peak period in medieval Vyborg flourishing. Dice with raw stock from a bone-carving shop of the 14th century and bone combs of the 14th-15th centuries that remained since then can be seen at the exhibit.
It is not only the history of the Castle itself that can be explored in the museum. The "Swedish Vyborg" exhibit displays cannon-balls, flints, case-shot and bullets adopted by the Swedish army of the 16th century. Another unique object - part of a sword baring inscriptions "GICELIN" on one side of the blade and "IN NOMINE DOMINI" on the other one - is presented here. The sword was made in the Middle Rhine area of Germany in the 12th century. It was found on the Kuznechny (Smithy) Yard during the 1984 year excavations of "the Karelian layer" of the 12th-13th centuries. The sword might be used by the Swedes in their attack on the fortified settlement of the Karelians in 1293. The war topic is continued by the exhibit "Our Land During Great Patriotic War". A separate section is devoted to Winter War of 1939-1940.
Merja sent me this FDC which was issued By Finland to commemorate the 700 Years of this famous Castle, which is now a popular tourist site in Russia.