Saint Olaf Castle - Olavinlinna Castle
Castle St. Olaf aka Olavinlinna Castle is located on the picturesque island, linked to the mainland in the area of Savonlinna which is located in the southeast.
The city and the fortress became popular with the famous opera festival in Savonlinna, which takes place each year in the Finnish city, or more precisely in the medieval castle St. Olaf.
At a national meeting in the Castle Saint Olaf in 1907, the Finnish opera singer Aino Ackté, a worldwide known artist offered the idea of creating such a festival in the castle. Today flocking there every year are around 60, 000 people, fans of operatic art.
Indeed, the city was founded in 1639 around the castle St. Olaf. The palace itself is one of the main attractions there.
The castle was built in 1475 by Erik Axelsson Tott, to protect the area Savonlinna and monitor the border between Finland and Russia. The castle is supposed to repel the Russian attacks from the east to secure the Savonlinna region and the Swedish crown.
Throughout the centuries each and every King of the castle have left their imprint on the architecture and overall design of Saint Olaf, which is indeed eclectic. Today the halls and rooms in the castle are for hire as the town hosts all kinds of events, from private weddings to various festivals.
Visitors of St. Olaf can see two small museum exhibitions beyond the walls. One of them displays artifacts found in the castle or in connection with its history and the other consists of Orthodox icons and other religious articles as well as Finland and Russia.
The tour of the fortress includes the various halls, rooms and towers which are available throughout the year with or without a guide. To explore the whole castle you will need about an hour. There is limited access to certain rooms of the castle but only during the opera festival.
Around the castle St. Olaf are vital and quite important legends. The most well known story tells of a young girl who was buried alive in the stone walls of the castle for treason. Later a beautiful plant grew in the place where the girl was found dead. The rowan tree was a white color which symbolized her innocence with its red fruit symbolizing the blood of a virgin.