Olavinlinna (Swedish: "Olofsborg") or St. Olaf's Castle is a 15th century castle located on a rocky island between the lakes Haapavesi and Pihlajavesi connected to the Bay of Lake Saimaa in northern Finland in Savonlinna Provincial Cham.
|Attribution: Miraceti, License|
Construction of the castle was begun in 1475 by the Danish Knight Erik Axelsson Tott, who had engaged in strengthening the Vyborg Castle. Erik Axelsson Tott decided that the powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region. The castle was supposed to repel Russian attacks from the east and to guarantee the control of the Savo region for the Swedish Crown. Initially, the castle was named Nyslott (Swedish: New Castle), then it was named Olavinlinna, Castle of St. Olaf, in honor of the Catholic saint of the 11th century, especially in Scandinavia revered as the patron saint of the Knights.
The first castle was built of wood, but two years later it was demolished and construction began on a new, stone castle. Resistance of the local population to the construction of Swedish castle in this region was so great that the construction was carried out under the strong Swedish convoy. One of Tott's letters from 1477 includes a passing mention of foreign builders invited to Olofsborg, probably from Reval, where the city fortifications were being extended. Construction of the castle continued until the end of the 15th century. It was the first Swedish castle provided with a set of thickset circular towers that could withstand cannon fire. The castle was built on a lake, in the middle of the intricate network of reservoirs and canals that would seriously impede siege and offensive.
Today, the castle has three towers connected by walls. Bell tower got its name from the church bells and the castle clock, which had been installed on it. On the third floor of the second tower Church was located a church. In a small house near the tower, is located the entrance to the castle dungeon. Here, during the Swedish government were kept state criminals. The third tower is the tower Keel. It got its name from the name of the owner of the castle Keel, under leadership of which it was erected. Later, after moving the fortress to the Russian was built in the south-east corner of the fortress bastion Dick. It has three floors, on two of which were located iron cannons.
Currently, the castle is available for visitors all year round. It hosts several small exhibitions, including the Castle Museum which displays artifacts found in the castle or related to it, and the Orthodox Museum which displays icons and other religious artifacts both from Finland and Russia. The castle forms a spectacular stage for the Savonlinna Opera Festival, held annually in the summer since 1912.
In the preparation of this article, were mainly used materials of websites: www.wikipedia.org, www.nba.fi/en/museums/olavinlinna_castle and http://sw-zamki.narod.ru/olavinlinna.htm