Suomenlinna fortress has stood guard over Helsinki for the last couple of hundred years. It’s an impressive structure spanning several islands on the approaches to the city. It’s more the fault of politics than the fortress itself that Suomenlinna has the possibly unique claim to fame that it has been a major fortress for three countries: the Russians, the Swedes, and the Finns.
A visit to Suomenlinna is an excellent way to spend a cold, clear day in Helsinki. Getting there involves a ferry trip over the harbour, which right now involves churning through plates of ice. Suomenlinna is now an unusual combination historical area, museum and residential suburb. The residences are public housing and much sought after. Much of the museum is simply open air access to the guns and tunnels that made up the fortress. The fortress is riddled with tunnels for defence and we found one system that was festooned with perfect icicles.
The view from the tip of Suomenlinna is fantastic as you’d expect because the guns needed a clear line of sight. Many of the guns are still in place, huge, hulking and cold.
It was a cold, cold day. Cold enough that the sea water was freezing and certainly cold enough that ponds on the islands were so deeply frozen that they could be safely walked upon. In spite of all that, the funny thing was that, after the last couple of weeks, just seeing the Sun made us feel quite warm.