Savonlinna, a popular spa and holiday resort, lies in the middle of the Saimaa lake system in southeastern Finland, between the Haapavesi to the north and the Pihlajavesi to the south. The town grew up around the castle of Olavinlinna and received its municipal charter in 1639. The oldest part of the town … More > is picturesquely situated on an island between two waterways, with the newer districts on the mainland to the west. Savonlinna is one of the main centers of the boat services on Lake Saimaa.
The building of Olavinlinna, castle of St. Olaf, began in 1475. The Danish-born founder of the castle, knight Erik Axelsson Tott, decided that a powerful fortification should be build to protect the strategically important Savo region. The castle was supposed to repel Russian attacks from the east and to guarantee the control of the Savo region for the Swedish Crown. The history of Olavinlinna is a mixture of medieval arms clashing, cannons roaring and every-day chores inside the security of the castle’s thick walls.
The changes in the ownership of the castle left their mark on Olavinlinna: this can be seen in the varied architecture of the castle. These days the castle’s halls and rooms can be rented and used for all kinds of events.