Statue of Torkel Knutsson, Vyborg, Leningrad Oblast, Russia 

When Tavastland had been attacked by the Republic of Novgorod, in 1292, marshal Torkel led the third Swedish crusade against Novgorod, in 1293 and conquered parts of Karelia, where he founded the stronghold of Viborg.

It was founded in 1293 by the Swedish Ruler Torkel Knutson in the place of a fortify settlement of the Karelian people in the 12-13 centuries. Originally the rectangle form castle included central square St.Olaf Tower, which was made of boulders, the wall which was located along the perimeter of the hill.

The history of the town started since the time of building the castle. The outside defense line (the stone wall along the south coastline) was built in the 1440s. In connection with using the firearms round towers were built (One tower located on the corner of the main building has been preserved until the present days).

Modernization of the fortifications was held from the middle of the 16th century to early 17th century. During 1561-1564 St. Olaf Tower got octagon additional floor (55m under sea level) and became the main artillery building. The coastline was moved to 12-15 m with filling bastions.

The outside wall was reconstructed and added with new areas during 1583-1615. Inside walls were partially dismantled and new building were constructed , they formed the courtyard. An underground passage was digged under the streight bed. In the early 17th century the house of commandant (1606-1608) and the storehouse on the west coast were built. In 1710, during the Great Northern War, Vyborg Town was conquered by the Russian troops. The castle was suffered from the siege.

Further the castle was used for placing an arsenal, commercial warehouses and the place of imprisonment (the decembrists P.A. Mukhanov , I.A. Annenkov, M.F. Mitkov, M.S. Lunin were kept in detention here). The fires in 1834 and 1856 were put the castle in emergency state. The reconstruction of the castle was realized by the Russian military engineering department in 1891-94.

This state the castle has in our time. During 1928-35 the architecture-archeological investigations were made by the O.I. Meurman , from 1965 till 70 E.A. Kalyundi did it, from 1980 till 1988 V.A. Tulenev . Since 1964 the museum “Vyborg Castle” is placed here.

Epic Russia Culture & Adventure Route © Monika Newbound

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