Basic Facts about Savonlinna and Surroundings

Savonlinna has quite interesting geography: the town is situated on a narrow row of islands and is surrounded by water both in the north and south. The lake in the north is called Haapa­vesi, the one in the south is Pihlajavesi. “Vesi” means water, and these waters are all part of the Saimaa­ lake area.

The area of Savonlinna is nearly 14 00 sq. km, but there are only some 28 000 inhabitans here. However, a big part of this area is covered by water: almost 40 %. Savonlinna was founded in 1639. The main source of incomes comes from services (65 %), industry (25 %) and agricultural economy (under 10 %). 

The best known sight of Savonlinna is the castle of Olavinlinna . Olavinlinna Castle was built in 1475. Finland was under Swedish rule at the time. The castle was built on the border between the Kingdom of Sweden and Russia to protect this eastern area of Sweden from Russia . It was founded by the originally Danish knight Erik Axelsson Tott. Tott’s patron saint was the Norwegian Vikinger king Olaf, and therefore he named the castle Olavinlinna, or Olaf’s castle. During the centuries that followed, a settlement developed around the castle and in the year 1639 the town of Savonlinna was founded. 

The major event of the castle is Savonlinna Opera Festival in July and the Ballet Festival in the beginning of August.  

Other interesting places to see: The Art Centre Retretti, the Forest Museum Lusto and the Punkaharju Ridge in Punkaharju, the World Biggest Wooden Church in Kerimäki, the National Parks Linnansaari and Kolovesi and the Nature Conservation Area and the Bird Lake Siikajärvi, in Parikkala.