Name:Olavinlinna (St. Olof's Castle)
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Olavinlinna - St. Olaf's Castle - was founded in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott. The castle served to repel attacks from the east and to guarantee control of the Savo region for the Swedish Crown. The medieval castle consists of a main castle with three towers and a bailey with an encircling wall reinforced by towers. The castle went through numerous phases of construction, first as a Swedish and from 1743 as a Russian border fortification. It has been among Finland's best-known tourist attractions since the latter 19th century. It houses a restaurant and festival halls.
Robert Frank, 57, from East Coast USA, wrote:
I own 2 paintings, one of which is of the castle. Both are by the same artist. There is no other civilization around the castle. No town, village, huts, etc. The slope on the SE has been Clear-Cut, as though timber was needed for construction. Several people have said they think they were painted alone the completion of the castle. I don't know. They have been in my family for many generations. Am interested in obtaining more history of the castle, and obtain more area pictures of Savonlinna. Particularly views from the North and Northeast as I think the artist was facing South when he painted it. There is a small island in the foreground that I have yet seen in any present day pictures of the city. I can only guess that the castle is about 1/3 mile away in the painting. If anyone can shed some light on this it would be appreciated.
Mikko Pikarinen. 31, from Helsinki, Finland, wrote:
When I was a kid, I lived about 80km east from this castle and visited it some times. Last summer I went there again and took some pictures.
Brandy Toth, 21, from canada wrote:
This is the only castle I've ever seen but I found it absolutely fascinating! It is set out on an island which makes a beautiful setting for such a castle. It was July when I visited and I couldn't get over how cool and drafty the stone building was…how could they have ever managed during the winter! One of the most interesting aspects of the castle is the legend about a young woman who was encapsulated within the walls of the structure. The stories vary as to why she was put there (as a punishment for cohorting with the enemy soldiers outside the walls or as a protective measure to protect her from the soldiers) but regardless of the reason, she was closed in and died and remains there today. A small shrubby tree sprouted from that spot in the wall and it blooms with red and white petals and berries which are said to represent her youth (white) and her death (red). Sadly, the shrub was broken off in a violent storm in the mid-90's. The castle is still used today for Finland's annual international opera festival. (What a beautiful setting for such an event!) This castle is definitely worth a look as it has a very interesting and rich past.
Vilho A. Teivainen, 19, from Finland, wrote:
I have visited St. Olof's Castle dozens of times, I've even worked there, so it gives me some credibility. :) The castle is one of the best preserved of medieval castles in the Finland. Many enticing myths and legends rise from it's past. Most of them actually quite heroic and even sad some so very human in their practical cruelty which was so typical for that time. Originally, the castle had four towers and they were open to sky. The unfortunate fourth tower housed a black powder storage. At some point black powder caught a spark and that quite much did it for the fourth tower. Before the castles was put in active use it burned a few times. Sparks that flew from steamer ships passing the castle lit at least one of the fires. The fire started from a tower roof and one of them destroyed the castles' invaluable furniture along with some structures. After a few lessons the material of roofs was changed into metal. As you may already know, the castle is now famous for Opera Festival which takes place every July.