Vyborg Castle, Russia

This tremendously strongly sited Castle was built initially by the Swedes who ruled Finland of which Vyborg formed a part - then called Viipuri.  This was during the period when the Russian Empire was extending towards the Baltic.  After a decisive battle in 1710 the Russians ceased control of Vyborg and began to extend the defences of the Castle which had been little more than a tower.  More buildings were added to the Castle itself and various other defences were positioned around the town and the entrance to the Gulf of Finland.

Not long after this all of Finland was ceded to Russia by the Swedes and Vyborg ceased to have strategic importance.  When Finland took advantage of the Russian Revolution to gain independence Viipuri was part of the territory they took as theirs, along with the rest of Karelia and part of the northern area of Russia near Murmansk.  However, Finland made the mistake of siding with the Axis Powers in World War II and as part of the War reparation the Soviet Union took all this territory from Finland including Vyborg which was then the second biggest town in Finland - the Finns even had to pay for this transfer themselves.

Since that time Vyborg has been a Russian Castle and has sadly been only shakily looked after over the ensuing years.  Although it is still an interesting Castle to visit and the view from the top of the tower is superb it is quite sad to see the poor condition of the masonry and general area, particularly when you have just come from affluent Finland down the Saimaa Canal which stretches from Vyborg to Lappeenranta.

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