Fortress

The Lappeenranta Fortress is a valuable part of the Finnish, Russian and Swedish cultural heritage and is part of the Castles and Fortifications chain of cultural destinations. The oldest buildings, including the guardhouse at the Main Gate that nowadays hosts the Cavalry Museum; the South Karelia Museum of Art buildings, the Orthodox Church and the Commandant’s House date from the latter part of the 18th century. Most of the wooden buildings are from the late 1800s, whereas the red-brick military barracks date from the early 20th century.

Museums, shops and restaurants at the Fortress

Today, the Fortress offers visitors plenty of historical attractions and events, year after year. The Fortress is a popular tourist destination. It hosts museums, the Orthodox Church and artisan’s shops. Most of the buildings in the Fortification date from the time of Russian rule, the 18th and 19th century. The main street, Kristiinankatu, was named after the Swedish queen, Christina, who reigned when a town called Lapwestrandh or Lappeenranta was founded on the fortress hill.

Culture and events

There are several museums at the Fortress. It is the home of the South Karelia Museum, the Lappeenranta Art Museum and the Cavalry Museum. You will also find the oldest Orthodox Church in Finland, here. The Church, consecrated to the Virgin Mary, dates from 1785. The Majurska House is a great place to pop in for a cup of coffee and to admire the work of local artisans. The Kehruuhuone Centre for Culture and Events provides a window into the modern Karelian lifestyle. You can enjoy lunch at Kehruuhuone or book it for private functions. Events are organised at the Fortress throughout the year. Before Christmas, there is an old-fashioned Christmas market at Katariina Square and in August, it is time to celebrate Old Town Days.

Unforgettable moments

The embankments around the Fortress are a great place for a stroll or a picnic. You can visit the famous Majurska Café or Kehruuhuone, which celebrates over 200 years of history, including once having been a correctional facility for women. At the Linnoituksen krouvi restaurant, near the old Water Gate, you can enjoy dinner, while admiring the beautiful view of Lake Saimaa from the terrace.
A map of the Fortress is available, free of charge, from Tourist Information (at Brahenkatu 1, Shopping Centre IsoKristiina). You can also explore the Fortress using your mobile device. The system will find your location and guide you to the different sights in the area, while providing additional information. The service is available in Finnish, English and Russian. Go to the address: tarinasoitin.fi/linnoituskierros

Lappeenranta Old Town

The city of Lappeenranta, founded in 1649, was once the centre of the Finnish tar trade and a busy market town. The peninsula that protrudes into Lake Saimaa was an attractive place, both strategically and for transport purposes. The city was originally fortified by the Swedish, in the 1720s. After losing the city of Vyborg to Russia, Lappeenranta became an important border town, for Sweden. A few decades later, after the border between Sweden and Russia was moved to the Kymi River, Russians continued the fortification project.
You can read more about the Lappeenranta Fortress on the City’s homepage. Cavalrymen can be spotted around the Fortress in July!