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The Fortress of Hamina

The fortress of Hamina is one of the world’s few star-shaped fortresses. It was built by the Swedes in the 18th century to defend their eastern border. The fortress still forms the centre of the city of Hamina. One of the features of the city is the Bastion of Hamina, with Europe’s largest canopy with spectator areas. Among other events, the Bastion is the venue for the Hamina Tattoo International Military Music Event.


1653 The town of Vehkalahti is founded by Sweden.

1721 Sweden loses its eastern territories to Russia in the Great Northern War of 1700 –1721. The fortress of town of Hamina is founded for the defence of the new eastern border at the site of Vehkalahti. The town with its encircling streets is built according to a radial plan.

1743 War between Sweden and Russia in 1741 –1743, after which Sweden cedes more areas to Russia, including Hamina, where the Russians continue the construction of the fortress.

1770s The beginning of a period of new construction by the Russians at the fortress. The earthworks are reinforced and raised in height, and the first masonry buildings are erected. The town hall, the centre of the circular fortress of Hamina is built in 1798.

Early 19th c. Renewed fortification works in Hamina and the construction of the new Central Bastion.

1819 The Imperial Finnish Cadet School is located in Hamina and the town gains more importance.

1836 The use of the fortress is discontinued.

1854-55 During the Crimean War, an English-French fleet causes damage to coastal towns on the Gulf of Bothnia and the Gulf of Finland. Artillery batteries are built on the islands off Hamina. After the war, the fortress loses its former significance.

Late 19th and early 20th c. Parts of the earthworks and walls are torn down. The outer fortifications are dismantled completely in the 1930s.

1950s-1970s Repairs are made to the Hamina Fortress. The fortress regains features of the old fortified town.

1980s-2010s Repairs continued. Over a period of 30 years, walls and building façades and other features are refurbished.

Contact information and driving instructions

The Hamina Tourism and Events Office, Raatihuoneentori 16, Hamina (Guided tours and information for tourists).

Hamina remains Finland's oldest garrison town, and the buildings of the Imperial Cadet School now house the Reserve Officer School.


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