Finland, Helsinki – Suomenlinna Fortress
Helsinki's compactness is undoubtedly their compactness. From the magnificent Central Station, it is a few minutes' walk from the majestic neoclassical cathedral building to the quiet harbor where you can meet forest mushroom, sea buckthorn or various herbal decoction sellers all year round. However, if you are planning a visit to the Suomenlinna Fortress, you will no longer be walking. The only way to reach it is by water. Every half an hour a boat leaves the port, transporting both tourists and locals (the islands are inhabited all year round). The journey takes a pleasant 20 minutes, which can be spent watching Helsinki moving away and breathing in the cool sea air.
The fortress is situated on six small islands, located about 2 kilometers south of the port, and has around 900 permanent residents all year round. Electricity, water and gas are delivered to the islands through an underground tunnel, which is also adapted for emergency evacuation. The maintenance of the community is largely taken care of by the mild detention center, which operates on the islands.
The islands are connected by bridges and to this day you can see evident the many years of military presence. The walls of the fortifications are star-shaped, there are many recessed bunkers resembling hobbit burrows, extensive marina, barracks buildings and a submarine, which was left here after the end of World War II. The basic route, which runs from north to south of the island along all major sights, is the 1.5 km long Blue Road. On the island, however, much more to explore, there are several museums, beautiful beaches and nice cafes and restaurants, where it is a pleasure to sit and relieve tired legs.
Suomenlinna is a pleasant variegation of the program during a several-day visit to Helsinki. It brings visitors from a busy capital to a slowly flowing community marked by history and the salty sea air.
Text: Barbara Nováková
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