Idea #282 – Visiting Russian castles Gulf of Finland
Gulf of Finland presents an unprecedented interest for the historians. This strategic zone was permanently desired by Sweden, Finland or Russia. The castles which were protected thus present an architectural mixture, a witness of the various cultures which conceived them, occupied or transformed.
The castle of Vyborg was built by the Swedes, around the city of Vyborg. It is situated in 130 km from Saint Petersburg, and was Finnish up to the Second World War. The first construction dates 1293, during the third Finnish crusade, organized by Torkel Knutsson, Lord supreme commander of Sweden. It served as prison of State under Russian period: Théophylacte Lopatinski was interned there.
Schlüsselburg is situated in the mouth of the Neva on the lake Ladoga, in 35 km east of Saint-Petersburg. The fortress, known under the name of Orechek, who preceded the city of several centuries, was built in 1323 by big prince Iouri of Moscow, in the name of the Republic of Novgorod. Two and a half decades later, Swedish king Magnus Eriksson attacked and took briefly the fortress during his crusade in the region in 1348-1352. It was reconstructed stone in 1352 by archbishop Vassili Kalika (1330-1352), who, according to the First Chronicle of Novgorod, had been sent by Novgorodiens after several Russian and Lithuanian princes had ignored the requests of the city to help them to reconstruct and to defend the fort. The Swedes seized the fortress in 1611, during the war of Ingrie. In the Swedish Empire, the fortress was known under the name of Nöteborg (Pähkinälinna in Finnish). Under Peter the Great, in 1702, the fortress was taken by the Russians. It received then its current name of Chlisselbourg, transcription of Schlüsselburg, which means “fortress-key” in German. At the time of imperial Russia, the fortress was a political, notorious prison. Among its most known prisoners represent Wilhelm Küchelbecker, Bakounine, Ivan Kaliaïev and, during thirty eight years, Walerian Lukasinski. Ivan VI of Russia was murdered in 1764 and the brother of Lenin, Alexandre Oulianov was hung there in 1887. During the Second World War, the citadel is defended by the Russian army which resists vitorieusement to the German army and will never capitulate, in spite of the tons of shells which will be shooten there.
Where is it ?
Chlisselburg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia