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Savonlinna (UK: /ˌsɑːvɒnˈlɪnə/,[6] Finnish: [ˈsɑʋonˈlinnɑ], lit. ''Castle of Savonia''; Swedish: Nyslott, lit. 'New Castle') is a town and a municipality of 32,872[2] inhabitants in the southeast of Finland, in the heart of the Saimaa lake region.

History

The city was founded in 1639, based on Olavinlinna castle. The castle was founded by Erik Axelsson Tott in 1475 in an effort to protect Savonia and to control the unstable border between the Kingdom of Sweden and its Russian adversary. During the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743), the castle was captured by Field-Marshal Peter Lacy. It was held by Russia between 1743 and 1812, when it was granted back to Finland as a part of the "Old Finland".

In 1973 the municipality of Sääminki was consolidated with Savonlinna. In the beginning of year 2009 the municipality of Savonranta and a 31.24 km2 (12.06 sq mi) land strip from Enonkoski between Savonlinna and Savonranta were consolidated with Savonlinna. In the beginning of the year 2013, the municipalities of Kerimäki and Punkaharju were consolidated with Savonlinna.

Transport

Savonlinna is 335 kilometres (208 mi) from the capital city of Helsinki by road, and some four hours away by train. Flights from Savonlinna Airport to Helsinki take 40–60 minutes.

Education

The University of Eastern Finland had a campus in Savonlinna, primarily for teacher education. The campus was shut down in 2018.[7] There is also a XAMK vocational university campus, teaching healthcare as well as process technologies.[8]

There are two high schools in Savonlinna. One of these high schools is specialized in art subjects, which when it started its operation in 1967 was the first specialized high school in Finland as well as in all of the Nordic countries.[9]

Attractions

The most notable attraction in Savonlinna is the Olavinlinna castle, a 15th-century castle built on an island. Near the castle is also the city museum. Some other attractions include the forest museum Lusto in the village of Punkaharju, and the Kerimäki Church in the neighboring village of Kerimäki, which is the largest wooden church in the world.

Savonlinna hosts the famous annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. The operas are performed on a stage built inside the Olavinlinna castle. The city has also hosted the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships annually since 2000.

Sports

The ice hockey team of Savonlinna, SaPKo or Savonlinnan Pallokerho, is playing in the second tier Mestis.

The top-tier volleyball team Saimaa Volley plays some of its home matches in Savonlinna. The football team Savonlinnan Työväen Palloseura (STPS), is playing in Kolmonen, the fourth tier.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Savonlinna is twinned with:[10]

In addition, there is non-governmental cooperation with the following cities:[10]

Notable people

  • Hannu Aravirta, former professional hockey forward, coach for the Finnish national men's team, SM-liiga and Elitserien
  • Kari Hietalahti, actor
  • Erik Laxmann, explorer and natural scientist
  • Ville Leino, former professional hockey forward
  • Jarmo Myllys, former professional hockey goaltender, member of the 1988, 1994 and 1998 Finnish Olympic ice hockey teams
  • Joonas Rask, professional hockey forward for HIFK
  • Tuukka Rask, professional hockey goaltender for the Boston Bruins, member of the 2014 Finnish Olympic ice hockey team

References

  1. ^ "Area of Finnish Municipalities 1.1.2018" (PDF). National Land Survey of Finland. Retrieved 30 January 2018.