This castle was built in 1475 to stabilize borderline in northeast Finland against troops of Novgorod. Desicion to build castle was given by danish born knight Erik Akselinpoika Tott. Name of the castle came from saint Olaf who was the protector of soldiers and knights.
Castle is located on island surrounded by strong river current. Makes it difficult to conquer. And indeed it was conquered only once!
Here is the layout of castle. It used to have five towers but has now only three. Later on south side was built two canon bastions.
Main gate is now on southwest side going first through corridor and small outer yards.
From gate corridor leads to smaller inner yard.
Here in this corner used to be the old kitchen but it was burned away. On other side of yard were the accomodation facilities of russian soldier at later time.
The bigger inner yard is actually very spacy. Here there have been room for many activities – blacksmiths etc. Now this space is opera stage in opera festivals at summer time. Waist of beautiful castle – I say…
Some sign showing activities in castle at old times.
South part of castle’s rampart and defence walls are actually rather beautiful
There are lot of space to place soldiers and canons.
Behind south bastions raises the castle and it’s bell tower. In left front one can see the foundation of fifth tower which was teared apart after some centuries.
In bastion there are lot of opening for canons and rifle’s to shoot. This way canon boats could not destroy southern wall which was probably best place to attack because of weak current behind castle.
On back the wall goes higher and higher to bell tower. There is actually a corridor on the wall top. Could be used also to shoot attackers. In movie “snow castle” some guy walked on the roof top and played trumpet – brave guy! middle of picture one can see tree which is actually growing on middle of smaller inner yard.
There is also place for soldiers to rest and spend time.
From opening of wall one can see the bridge from mainland to castle – easy to defend.
Very nice view higher towards southwest. Must be nice to spend time here in sunny day at summer.
It’s time to walk to eastern wall.
Let’s see where this gate leads …
Here is the eastern inner yard. It was partly built on river and canal flows through yard. Defenders in castle wanted to make it sure they will not run out of water.
Walls around inner yards are very high and thick from hard Finnish stone. Impossible to impregnate…
Also here canon bastion offers lot of openings fro canons.
And there is also eastern gate out. Probably built later on.
here we can see that river current is actually rather strong and eastern foundation lays on river bottom. But it’s time to get in the castle…
Here is the hall were soldiers and inhabitants used as dining room. Of course walls are from stone .. as should been in castle.
Here is a big room which used to accommodate soldiers and layer above had the overseer of castle his room.
In this hall now stands the statue of saint Olaf – protector of castle.
This is the banquet hall of castle – used and still is used for fine festivities. Only once Swedish king visited the castle. This is not surprising because it was far away in the border zone.
Nice detail from banquet hall.
Here is picture of chapel of castle. One can still see on roof some paintings from middle ages.
In one room there are small scale model of castle. Gives rather good picture of castle. Here from northern side. Overhangs in top part of towers used to be toilets!
From western side.
From southern side.
From eastern side.
Here we can see that southeast bastion building is very strong and high.
In the computer presentation different building times were shown. Here from 1500.
There are canon openings everywhere in the castle – makes it difficult to conquer.
In old cold days this castle must have been a cold place. Therefore there were some simple fireplaces like here. There are still dome carvings on fireplace roof from middle ages.
There is sign telling about old canons and defence mechanisms.
And of course there are some canons – probably from later times.
Now going outside and walking upwards into bell tower.
On northern wall and on highest defence level. Views here especially downwards to south are very nice – especially on summer day but now it is November. From river-lake around the castle can be used to sail nearly Finnish bay.
Here we can see a nice view from high defence walls and stairs on east-south side of inner yard.
On top of the northern wall there is a good view both north and south.
View from opening of northern wall top. But this side castle is impossible to conquer.
Water system of Kuussalmi opens on southern side. View from northern top wall.
Nice guidance board from use of artillery in ancient times.
Walking on eastern wall on upper level. Here one controls easily eastern side of river.
Look to western part of castle where two towers stands.
In ancient castles there is always lot to repair…
It’s time to leave … bright lines glow nicely.
There the old castles stands for years to come – opposing new times…
The guardian of castle – male goat – stands loyally in it’s place. From year to year!