For centuries, Finland was the stage for border disputes between Sweden and Russia. The Kotka–Hamina region switched hands between Sweden and Russia on many occasions, but in the heart of hearts the people always remained Finnish. For this reason, the region is still dotted with numerous fortresses and battlefields dating from that period in history.
The Kyminlinna Fortress was built in the 19th century. It has housed a garrison, a prison camp and a plague house. The outdoor areas in Kyminlinna can be explored independently and the indoors with guides. The site has served as the location for the feature film Laugh or Die, which tells a story set in a prison camp during the Finnish Civil War.
HAMINA, THE FORTRESS CITY
The centre of Hamina is enclosed by a magnificent star-shaped fortress dating back the early 18th century. There are only two other similar constructions in the world: one is in Japan and one in Italy. Pretty unique! Read more about Hamina.
THE SALPA LINE
The Salpa Line, a defensive line running some 1,200 km along the Eastern border from Utsjoki to Virolahti is the largest post-war construction project in Finland that employed as many as 35,000 labourers. The defence line formed a continuous string of stone enforcements, bunkers and dugouts. Hike along the Salpa Line and enjoy a picnic in one of the dugouts.
The largest ever naval battle on the Baltic Sea was the Battle of Svensksund (Ruotsinsalmi), which was fought in front of Kotka in 1790. As a result, 67 ships sank and 8,000 men from the Imperial Russian and Swedish troops were killed. Take a trip to the coastline in Kotka, and imagine 450 warships on the sea in front.