Centuries as a borderland have left their marks on the landscape of the Kotka-Hamina region. Many of the fortified constructs in the region, such as the Hamina Fortress and Kyminlinna in Kotka, are reminders of the nature of the borderlands. One of the most impressive border-related constructs in the local landscape is the Salpalinja defensive line that runs through Vironlahti and Miehikkälä.
The Winter War was fought between Finland and the Soviet Union between 1939-1940. While defending its eastern border, Finland had lost favourable terrain as the border was moved westwards, and during the interim peace, they decided to build Salpalinja, a defensive line extending from the Gulf of Finland to Petsamo, to protect the new border. During the fortifications, 728 reinforced concrete dugouts were built for the defensive line, 225 km of multi-rowed armoured barriers were erected and over 350 kilometres of battle and connecting trenches were dug. The 1,200-kilometre Salpalinja is one of the strongest and best preserved chains of fortifications from World War II in Europe.
The location between East and West has brought war and persecution to the Kotka-Hamina region. But even though the border divides, it also connects. The border has been the meeting place of cultures and traders. Today the location of the Kotka-Hamina region on the Russian border offers a unique opportunity to combine a day trip or a longer trip to St. Petersburg with a visit to us.