Whether you love soaking up history or enjoy fairy tales in medieval settings, you’re sure to get a kick out of visiting Finland’s captivating castles. Here are the ones to checfk out the next time you get to explore the Nordic country’s wonders.
The main purpose of Raseborg Castle, which was first built in 1373 and later expanded over the next two centuries, was to protect Sweden’s interests in the southern part of Finland against Tallinn, the Hanseatic city. In the Middle Ages, battles were fought between Danish and Swedish forces, and even pirates, to take control of Raseborg Castle. It was eventually abandoned in 1553, three years after Helsinki was founded, because Helsinki, which is now Finland’s capital city, became strategically more important than Raseborg Castle. Now mostly ruins, restoration work began on the castle in the 1890s.
The medieval Turku Castle’s construction began in 1280. Today, along with the nearby Turku Cathedral in the Finnish city of Turku, the castle is one of the oldest buildings in the country. Through the centuries, Turku Castle served as a military fortress. It later became the home of the Swedish royal family, so there really were princesses in this castle at one time, just like in fairy tales. Speaking of which, if you enjoy popular culture and entertainment featuring princesses, you’re sure to enjoy playing the Moon Princess slot game online after you’ve strolled around the grounds of Turku Castle. The Finnish castle stands on the banks of the beautiful Aura River, and it has plenty of rooms to explore that have been made to look like they did originally, complete with some fascinating antiques on display.
This spectacular white stone castle is located on Finland’s Åland Islands and overlooks a spectacular fjord. Construction began in 1384. From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries, Kastelholm Castle was ruled by various kings, noblemen, and feudal chiefs. It originally stood on a small island surrounded by moats and rows of poles. Kastelhom was damaged many times over the years. The first time was during the civil war of 1599, under the rule of King Charles IX. It was rebuilt in 1631 but suffered more damage thereafter. Today, the castle has been refurbished and is one of the main tourist attractions of the Åland Islands.
The largest and best-restored castle in Finland is Olavinlinna, which is named after St. Olaf. The castle stands on an island in the beautiful Lake Saimaa. The fortress was founded in 1475, near the Russian border, to defend Finland from the Russians. The three-tower castle is the northernmost medieval stone fortress still standing today. And if you visit in the summer, you could catch the spectacular Savonlinna Opera Festival, which was first held at Olavinlinna over a century ago in 1912.
Häme Castle has been incredibly well-preserved. It’s also distinctive compared to other medieval Finnish castles due to being constructed from brick instead of the natural stone that was used to build the other castles in the country. Its brick construction gives the castle a red-brown coloring that really makes it stand out. At the time of its construction, which is thought to have been in the thirteenth century, Häme Castle stood in the middle of a wilderness. A town soon sprung up around it, though. Today, the castle is located in the city of Hämeenlinna, which is about halfway between Tampere and Helsinki. Häme Castle is a proper “castley” castle. It features turrets, battlements, a central keep with surrounding curtain walls, and is enclosed by a moat. The castle originally served as a military fortress. It later became the home of Swedish nobility. Häme Castle has also been used as a prison.