May 12, 2013
0645 FINLAND (Uusimaa) - Fortress of Suomenlinna (UNESCO WHS)
Due to the expansion of Russia in the 18th century in the Baltic Sea, Sweden, until then the dominant power in this sea, had to develope its fortifications from Finland, in those times still part of the Swedish kingdom. As part of this plan, in 1748 it commenced the construction of the gigantic Sveaborg (Fortress of Svea) on six islands (Kustaanmiekka, Susisaari, Iso-Mustasaari, Pikku-Mustasaari, Länsi-Mustasaari and Långören) located near Helsinki, intended to defend the city, but also to be an important naval base.
The responsibility for the work was given to the Swedish field-marshal count Augustin Ehrensvärd, whose plan was strongly influenced by the ideas of the famous Vauban, and by the principles of Star Fort style of fortification. Built on a cluster of rocky skerries by the military garrisoned in Finland (at peak periods 6-7.000 people), the fortress consists of an irregular network of bastions, but it was formed and stocked according to the needs of the Swedish archipelago fleet.
Sveaborg has played a key role in many turning points in Finland’s history. From 1808 to 1917, the fortress - then known as Viapori - was part of Russia along with the rest of Finland, becomed an autonomous grand duchy within the empire. During this era, the fortress was extended and reinforced both towards the sea and on the mainland. After Finland gained her independence, Viapori was renamed Suomenlinna (Castle of Finland) and became home to a coastal artillery regiment, a submarine base and the Valmet shipyard.
The Fortress of Suomenlinna was handed over to civilian administration by the military in 1973, and in 1991 it became an UNESCO World Heritage Site, as "an outstanding example representative both of the general fortification principles of the period and of its specific characteristics." The old buildings are still in everyday use as housing, working space, maintenance facilities and visitor service facilities.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of a series of two self-adhesive, depicting Dahlias, issued on April 1st, 2011. Designer of these innovative stamps is Päivi Viita.
Suomenlinna - Official website
Suomenlinna - Wikipedia
sender: Anu Nurmi (direct swap)
sent from Helsinki (Uusimaa / Finland), on 30.04.2013
photo: Pentti Harala