In the 19th century, during the days of the Grand Duchy of Finland, Hamina was a thriving cultural hub where French, German, Swedish, Finnish, and Russian were spoken. Hamina was run by merchants and cadet school officers who participated in many areas of public life in the city, and went on to influence national affairs in the fields of culture, politics, and the economy. Statesman Leo Mechelin and artists Hugo Simberg and Magnus Enckell were all from Hamina.
In Hamina, you can see a lot on foot. Walk the Fortress Path to see the fortified wall ruins of the early 19th century, built to protect the city in all directions. The famous Hamina Bastion has been renovated for modern use and takes in visitors nowadays as an international event arena. The mysterious vaults are spacious and have an almost magical atmosphere. The Bastion’s largest events take place mainly during the summer season, when the event arena will have the largest summer tent canopy in Europe. In the wintertime, sales, fairs and meetings are held in the vaults.
In July, Hamina hosts the annual international military music festival Hamina Tattoo, and the town bustles with musicians and music lovers from all over the world. For a small town, Hamina has a lot to see. Don’t miss its beautiful churches, such as the orthodox church of Saints Peter & Paul built in the Neoclassicism style. It has Byzantine features, topped by a classic onion dome, and was designed by the architect Louis Visconti who also designed Napoleon’s mausoleum. There are also magnificent murals for those who love the arts by one of Finland’s cultural treasures, Tove Jansson set on display at Town Hall.
Hamina’s professional city guides have plenty of stories about the buildings, well-known residents of Hamina, and historical events. There is a great deal to see around Hamina Town Hall and the Hamina Bastion. Atmospheric blocks of wooden houses, churches, and administrative buildings line the circular streets of the city. The lively guided tour will take you to the heart of Hamina’s history. Hamina is a world-class small town whose fortifications conceal a range of fascinating locations within walking distance of each other. Charming wooden houses, beautiful churches and interesting museums will sweep you off your feet.
At Christmas time, Hamina is like fairytale world with its marvelous Christmas lights, a brightly glimmering merry-go-round, snowy gobbled streets with charming old Christmas decorated houses and dozens of vendor booths for gift shopping. Here you can enjoy a warm Christmas glogg with a gingerbread cookie in a beautiful pastel sunset.