April 7, 2013

0589 FINLAND (Kymenlaakso) - Hamina and its star-shaped fortress

Located in Southern Finland, Hamina is one of the most important harbours of the country, specialises in forest products and transit cargo to Russia. The settlement named Vehkalahti, known since 1336, got the city status in 1653 as Vehkalahden Uusikaupunki (New City of Vehkalahti). During Great Northern War it was ruined by the Russian troops, and after Treaty of Nystadt (1721), when Old Finland become part of Russian Empire, Vehkalahti become the important border Swedish fortress. The fortress Fredrikshamn (name shortened by Finns in Hamina) was founded above the city ruins. During the Russo-Swedish War of 1741-1743 it was yielded to Russia, which strengthened and expanded it, but after that Finland was included entirely to Russian Empire (1809) it has lost its military value. There were no significant events in Hamina history in 20th century, apart from dissolution of Russian Empire and birth of independent Finland state in 1918.

Hamina keeps the shape of the Fredrikshamn Fortress, projected by the Swedish engineer Aksel von Leven, respectively a classic star shape form with six bastions after the fashion of Italian fortress of 16th century. City lay-out has the central square with eight radial streets, as can be seen in the postcard. In square's center is the Town Hall, originally built in 1798, and renovated in 1840. In the right of the picture is the Orthodox church of St. Peter and St. Paul (the red brick building with the green dome), designed by the architect Louis Visconti in a combination of Neoclassical and Byzantine, and built in 1837. In left is St. Mary's Church, previously known as Vehkalahti Church, originally built in the Middle Ages, but destroyed by fire in 1821 and reconstructed in neoclassical style. In the far left is the central bastion of the fortress (with 58 casemates), where in nowadays is a big stage with a tent above it, considered the biggest in all the Europe.

About the stamp

The stamp is part of a series about National Parks of Finland, designed by Teemu Ollikainen. So far was issued three first class stamps in that series:   

• 22.01.2009 - Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park (the second most beautiful stamp in 2009 in Finland)
• 13.09.2010 - Torronsuo National Park (runner-up in the voting for the most beautiful stamp in 2010) - it's on other postcard
• 07.05.2012 - Bothnian Sea National Park (the third most beautiful stamp in 2012 in Finland) - it's on this postcard

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #117, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is Minerals, rocks, geology, environment. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.

Hamina - Wikipedia
Hamina Fredrikshamn -Northern Fortress
Scenery in Finnish Protected Area Stamps - outdoors.fi

sender: Satumaria (postcrossing)
sent from Hamina (Kymenlaakso / Finland), on 14.05.2012
photo: Hannu Vallas, Markku Wiik


  1. i have one of the two stamps, they are truly beautiful...i even considered posting it ;)

    1. Beautiful indeed. I wish I had also the first stamp, but being issued in 2009 is unlikely. :(

  2. I have the stamp on the left, but not the one on your postcard. Good choice for this week! These nature areas need our protection.
    Thank you for participating.

    1. It's my pleasure to participate. :) I would have liked to have stamps with minerals.

  3. Hi! Thank you so much that you wrote Hamina's history!
    Best regards!
    Satu, who sent the card!

    1. It's my delight to documenting about the postcards received. :) Thanks one more time for the beautiful postcard.

  4. I love the card and the stamps too. I'd love to see some of Finland's beautiful nature.