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09.09.2020

Olavinlinna, Savonlinna

Olavinlinna (Finland) or Olafsborg (Sweden) - the first Swedish lake fortress, built with the expectation of confrontation with firearms.

Located in the municipality of Savonlinna province of South Savo, Finland on a rocky island between lakes Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi, connected to the Gulf of Lake Saimaa. Near the castle was a settlement, which in 1639 became the city of Nyuslotte (Neischlot). Accordingly, and the fortress before the revolution was often called Neischlotte.

Castle of St. Olaf was laid by order of Regent Eric Axelsson (Totte) in 1475 in case of war with the Grand Duchy of Moscow, which just joined Novgorod. He sought to exploit the political turmoil in the east to gain a foothold in the former Novgorod territory east of the new Russian-Swedish border established by the Orekhovsky World.

The castle was erected on a lake in the midst of a tangled network of reservoirs and ducts that would make siege operations more difficult. Originally, the fortress was called the Swedes Nyslott (Swedish Nyslott, which means "new castle"). Judging by the features of military architecture, the builders of the castle were invited to Finland from Revel, where at that time was the construction of new city fortifications. Construction work continued until the end of XV century.

In the XVI century the castle garrison was at least 200 people, making it the most formidable outpost of Swedish rule in the east, along with the Vyborg Castle. Olafsborg honorably withstood the siege of Russian troops during the wars of 1495-97 and 1554-57. (Finnish sources have no information about Olafsborg's sieges in 1554-57).

After Sweden left the Kalmar Union, the fortress remained in the hands of the Swedes. Over time, a settlement grew around the castle, which was named Savonlinna. Trade was going well, and in 1639 the settlement received the status of a city.

During the Great Northern War, Olavinlinna Castle became one of the main obstacles to Russian troops in the depths of Sweden. After six weeks (about a month [4]) of siege, July 28, 1714 garrison Olavinlinlinna surrendered to Russian troops. In 1721 under the terms of the Nishtadt Peace Treaty, the fortress was returned to Sweden. The border again passed from Olavinlinna at the same distance as to Stolbovsky Peace Treaty in 1617.

During the next Russian-Swedish war Russian troops August 6, 1742 again came to Olavinlinna. Garrison of the fortress consisted of only a hundred people and two days later laid down arms. In 1743, was concluded Aboski peace, by which the fortress went to Russia, along with the entire region of Savonlinna.

In 1788, during the Russian-Swedish War of 1788-1790, the fortress withstood a siege by Swedish troops.

In July 1788, the 36 thousandth Swedish army, led by King Gustav III himself crossed the Russian border in Finland. In the early days of the war, the Swedes besieged the fortress of Neishlot. Gustav III sent an ultimatum to the commandant of the fortress one-armed Major Kuzmin, in which he demanded that the fortress gates be immediately opened and the Swedes be let in. The garrison of Neischlot was only 230 people, but during the whole war the Swedes were unable to take Neischlot, the garrison of the fortress survived, the Swedes only looted the neighborhood. Empress Catherine mocked the attack in the comic opera "Gorebogatyr Kosometovic".

In 1803, the fortress was visited by Emperor Alexander I. In the 1890s, the castle Olofsborg was restored.

The fortress consisted of:

Four nominal bastions ("Clock", "Vaserport", "Lilport" and "Dick"), southern bastions of three tiers of fire (two tiers of casemates, the third from the upper platform with a stone parapet);
three named towers ("Kiel", "Kirch" and "Klok"), towers of three tiers of fire (two tiers of casemates, the third from the upper platform with a stone parapet);
fence between the towers - high, up to 8 sazhens, thick stone walls with a parapet and rampart behind it;
other parts of the fence - earth ramparts with stone escarpments at the water section and stone rear beams ("parade");
the north-eastern front of the fortress is reinforced by a broken outer rampart, which in the documents of the 1900s was called Anvelopoia.
In 1792 - 1793 years, the serf garrison was an artillery team of 81 men and one company from Vyborg serf battalions. The main armament of the formation - 48 guns and 12 mortars and howitzers. The fortress, as a formation, was abolished in 1835.

At present, Olavinlinna as the most northern stone castle of the Middle Ages - one of the largest tourist centers in Finland. Within the walls of the fortress there are museums dedicated to the history of the castle and Orthodox icon painting.

Since 1912, the castle hosts the Savonlinna Opera Festival. The first festivals, organized by the Finnish opera singer Aino Akte, were called singing festivals. Since 1967, opera festivals have been held annually.

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