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The building of Olavinlinna Castle began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be built to protect the strategically important Savo region. The history of Olavinlinna is a mixture of medieval arms clashing, cannons roaring and people doing everyday chores inside the security of the castle’s thick walls. Many centuries have passed and today Olavinlinna Castle is one of the most popular attractions in all of Finland and a symbol of the city of Savonlinna.
The accounts of the castle administrator have been preserved to our time. They represent a valuable source of information about the life of its inhabitants. For example, when Gustav Vasa ruled, all the inhabitants of the castle were divided into officials, artisans and soldiers. It is worth adding that the officials included a bailiff, clerks, gunsmiths and cooks.
After Finland became an autonomous part of the Russian Empire, the fortress lost its military significance. All guns from the fortress were transported to Vyborg. Olavinlinna has been used as a prison for several years. In 1917, the fortress returned to the Finns. From 1961 to 1975, the castle was reconstructed and it took its modern look.
Today’s fortress Olavinlinna functions as a museum — one of the largest tourist centers in Finland, tours are devoted to the history of the castle and Orthodox icon painting.
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