The Port of Hamina lies on the shores of the Gulf of Finland about 35 kilometers east of Finland’s border with Russia and 150 kilometers east of Helsinki. Cargoes passing through the Port of Hamina are primarily forest products and cargoes to and from Russia. It is the furthest eastern port in the European Union. About five thousand people live in the town proper, and about 22 thousand live in the municipality.
Vehkalahti County, which was first mentioned in documents in 1336. The town of Viipuri grew up around the Church of Vehkalathi, but the original town was surrendered in 1712 during the Great Northern War between Sweden and an alliance led by Russia.
The town of Hamina was established to replace Viipuri, which was then under Russian control. The new town was named in honor of King Frederick I of Sweden, and it received permission to engage in foreign trade. The town was rebuilt after the war based on a circular plan that included a rare star-shaped fortress (which survives). After the Russo-Swedish War, Russia won the Port of Hamina, making it a frontier town that relied on the then unfinished fortress. The Russians completed the fortress, making it one of a chain of fortresses in southeast Finland designed to protect St. Petersburg.
The 1809 Treaty of Fredrikshamm, where Sweden released Finland from its kingdom, was signed in the Port of Hamina. Hamina and a portion of eastern Sweden became the Grand Duchy of Finland under the Russian Empire. The Port of Hamina’s fortress lost its military status at this time.
Despite fires and military obscurity, the Port of Hamina continues to be a fortress town, and its circular town plan survives into the modern era. Its military tradition was reinforced by the 19th Century Cadet School and the 20th Century school for reserve officers. Every other year, the Hamina Tattoo, an international military music festival, takes place under Europe’s biggest canopy in the Hamina Bastion. The Hamina Bastion is the site of many summer events including concerts, fairs, theater performances, sports, and exhibitions.
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