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Medieval Soviet Town

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Have you ever seen a synthesis of medieval European town and Soviet Union? If not, then go to Russian town Vyborg! That’s what I did.

Vyborg takes its origin from the distant beginning of the first millennium. This place was inhabited by Karelians, until the Swedes came to this land within their crusade. In 1293 they founded Vyborg castle on the site of Karelian fort which was destroyed. For a few hundred years the place lived its medieval Swedish life. However, in 1703 Russian Tsar Peter the Great founded a new town close to the state border. The town called Saint Petersburg had to be a new capital of the Russian Empire. The place was assailable due to its position to the birder. As Peter the Great said, only after Vyborg is taken, Saint Petersburg can be completely safe. In 1710, after the Great Northern War, Vyborg became a Russian town. In 1811, Russian Emperor Alexander I decided to make Vyborg a part of the newborn Russian Grand Duchy of Finland. Later, after the Russian Revolution Finland declared independence, thus, in 1917, Russia lost this territory. But we missed it, and after the World War II, Vyborg returned back to Russia (the Soviet Union at the time).


History of the town is the reason for its special appearance. In the same streets you can find buildings of different times that on the surface, should not go together. Vyborg is a kind of embodiment of illogical (at first sight) time overlaps, a statuesque combination of bygone eras. the town itself seems to me an elderly gentleman who absorbed all the times that he has lived in and who goes ahead, but very reluctantly.

One of the main sights of the town is Vyborg castle. It is located on a little separated island. The castle itself is a beautiful example of medieval architecture. Unfortunately, its interiors were not preserved and expositions of the castle museum are not so great. Nevertheless, there is a very important reason to visit the castle. The magnificent view of the town from above. St. Olav Tower of Vyborg castle allows you to see this. To get there you need to climb up quite a long and narrow staircase. It is not comfortable, especially during peak tourist hours. I have been to Vyborg for only a day and this is during the cold winter. Therefore, I decided to skip the second most famous town attraction, the park “Monrespos”. Instead, I spent a lot of time wandering around and adoring Vyborg port. It has such a special atmosphere!



Alina Kurpel is a student and journalist who currently lives in Saint Petersburg, Russia. She loves dogs, sweets and everything you can find in a stationary shop. Alina’s got a theory that all towns on the earth have masculine and feminine energies in diverse proportions . If you listen carefully, the town will definitely tell you about itself. 

Find more about her here!


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