Northern Fortress - Kymenlinna

History

Kymenlinna or as it was called by Russians Kumengorod is situated at the Kymyjoki river on Hovinsaari island near to former King road. It was built by Russians and was  designed for defense Russian Empire border in Finland against Swedes.  Kymenlinna covered the land approaches to the sea fortress of Ruotsinsalmi (Kotka) and control the King's road traffic.

Fortress's construction begun in 1791 and in 1795 not a big starshape fort was built under the supervise of famous russian general Alexander Suvorov.

In 1803 inspection of fortifications in Finland was took by Russian emperor Alexander I and after that decision of reshape Kymenlinna fortress was made. In 1803 old Suvorov's installations were demolished and new caponier's fortress was laid down under command of Jan Pieter van Suchtelen (or as he was called by Russians-Pyotr Kornilovich Suhtelen). Round installation with diameter more than 800 meters with 5 polygons and caponiers for main ditch defending and ravelins as outer fortifications was almost finished at the beginning of Finland war of 1808-1809.

There were no any fighting around Kymenlinna fortress during this war. After annexation of all the Finland by Russian Empire the fortress lost it's defence value but Russian garrison stationed here till 1917. Very few  improvement and alterations has been made in the fortress in that period. It were few artillery emplacements, which were built in 1853 during the Crimea (East) War.

During the Civil War in Finland "Reds" settled the training center inside of Kymenlinna walls. April 9, 1918 Germans from Baltic Divisions landed in Loviisa and stormed the fortress. It was only the battle near to the Kymenlinna. The event was poetized by Finnish songwriter Veikko Lavi in song Balladi Willy Heintzista.

In 1922-1939 provisional refugee camp for Ingermanland Finns was stationed in the fortress. They fled from USSR because of ethnic cleansing. In 1939 Finnish military got the command under the fortress. In 1982 first restoration works in Kymenlinna fortress begun. In 2005 the fortress was demilitarized at last and transferred to local civil authorities ("Senaatti-kiinteistot" organization).

Nowadays the fortress is fenced and closed and some restoration works are carried in it. You can get in legally with common excursion which could be booked in Kotka. A little theatrical stage is installed to the caponier near to the main (south) gate of the fortress.

Impressions

This fortress contains much more than someone could conclude from it's presence. It is a common deal with all bastion's fortress. Most of them are low and inappreciable at first glance from outside. Most impression you can get with  paraglider or space shuttle. It would be hard to arrive at some conclusion about the subject walking on wet grass around it and not to try to penetrate in illegally. I have done it and got some impression.

It is unique for Finland and NW Russia caponier's fortress. Full day will be not enough for it's exploration in detail may be. Good lantern, GPS, gum-boots, and 2 GB flash memory card for camera will be appreciated. An elementary command in Finnish would be beneficial too.

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