The mighty Olavinlinna Castle rises majestically above the picturesque lakeland scenery of Savonlinna in southern Finland, a former border region that was once the scene of many a bloody battle. The location of the fortress was well chosen, as for many centuries, the strategically-placed castle on the small granite island had to withstand attack from the Russian army.
Large sections of the castle have been extensively restored and transformed into two museums. The Castle Museum contains various finds that relate to the history of Olavinlinna. Unfortunately, none of the castle’s original wooden furniture and fittings have survived and several devastating fires destroyed much of the castle’s internal décor in the 19th century. The Orthodox Museum contains a large number of icons and cult objects of the Russian Orthodox Church and highlight the cultural influence that the Russians had on the castle.
Each June, the Olavinlinna Courtyard is transformed into the main venue of the renowned Savonlinna Opera Festival. The festival is also famous beyond Finland and is one of the crowning highlights of Europe’s summer festivals.
Thanks to its annual cultural events, Olavinlinna Castle is now a tranquil and historic setting for one and all.
Global Treasures - History's Most Protected Monuments - Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage are both irreplaceable sources of life and inspiration. Places as unique and diverse as the wilds of East Africa's Serengeti, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and the Baroque cathedrals of Latin America make up our world's heritage. Join us as we explore one of these protected monuments.