Bomarsund Fortress | Attraction Guides | History Hit

Bomarsund Fortress

Sund, Aland Islands, Finland

Lucy Davidson

22 Jun 2021

About Bomarsund Fortress

Bomarsund Fortress (Bomarsunds fastningsruiner) is a ruined 19th century fortress in Aland, Finland, which was destroyed during the Crimean War. Today, the ruins of the fortress are one of Aland’s most remarkable historical monuments, and are a popular and scenic visitor attraction.

History of Bomarsund Fortress

Constructed from 1832 to 1854, Bomarsund Fortress was built for Russian contingents on the island at a time when Aland was a Russian territory. As well as functioning as a defensive structure, the fortress was aimed to house thousands of soldiers. Indeed, a townlike settlement inhabited by both military and civilian populations known as ‘Skarpans’ grew up around the fortress.

Intended to have fourteen towers, only three of them were erected before Bomarsund Fortress faced its destruction at the hands of the allied English-Frenchmen. This occurred in the 1854 Battle of Bomarsund as part of the Crimean War and saw joint British and French forces take Bomarsund Fortress from the Russians after a week. This devastated the fortress as well as resulting in some 2000 men being brought to England and France as prisoners of war.

The whole of Aland was declared a demilitarised zone in 1856, a status which remains to this day.

Bomarsund Fortress Today

Today, Bomarsund is a historical monument which covers around 870 hectares. Visitors to Bomarsund Fortress can explore the scenic and historic site, which was never rebuilt and thus stands as a testament to the great expectations which were once held for the area prior to its destruction.

There’s also a modest museum nearby housed in the pilot’s cottage on Prasto, which describes the history of the fortress and the area as a whole. This site also features as one of our top Visitor Attractions in Finland.

Getting to Bomarsund Fortress

From the centre of the Aland islands, drive 25 minutes east via Route 2. It’s also a scenic hour and a half bike ride via the Godbyvägen and Sundsvägen/Route 2 roads.

 

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