About Hame Castle
Hame Castle (Hameenlinna) in Hämeenlinna, the city between Helsinki and Tampere, Finland, is a medieval site which has served as everything from a royal residence to a granary and a prison.
History of Hame Castle
Whilst it is unclear as to when exactly Hame Castle was built, it is usually dated to the late 13th century. Indeed, many historians associate it with the Swedish crusade of Earl Birger, who came here some time during that century, seeing the castle as an opportunity to help Sweden consolidate power in central Finland. Regardless of when it was founded, Hame Castle would undergo construction for centuries.
The brick sections of Hame Castle date from the 14th century. Brick being used makes the site unique in that it was one of the earliest places in Finland to use this material. The escalating grandeur of the building materials over subsequent centuries mirrors the importance of Hame Castle generally. Indeed, from the 14th to 16th centuries it was connected to many of Finland’s most prominent circles.
Hame Castle’s decline began in the late 16th century, in part expedited by the reformations of King Gustav I of Sweden. It would have a brief resurgence after the Great Northern War; however, its main roles in the 19th and 20th centuries were as granary and prison.
Hame Castle Today
Today, the castle is a popular visitor attraction among tourists and locals alike. Visitors can still see the oldest part of Hame Castle, referred to as the fortified camp. This is mainly comprised of an imposing thick defensive wall dotted with towers. There’s also the ruin of an old well.
In the summer, guided tours take place all day from 10am which are strongly recommended, since most of the signage in the rest of the castle is in Finnish and Swedish. This site also features as one of our Top Ten Visitor Attractions of Finland.
Getting to Hame Castle
From the centre of Hämeenlinna, the castle is a 4 minute drive via the Kaivokatu road, with free parking available nearby. It’s also a 20 minute walk via Route 3057.