Krepost Sveaborg today

After the Civil War 1918, land front of the fortress lost its implication. Armaments etc. were transferred to the Finnish army. Some part of it was sold away as a scrap. Sea front batteries with accessories were transferred to the coastal artillery. Fortified islands kept their strategic importance almost to present. Part of the gunnery were used even late 1970'ies.

Mainland front's objects decomposed in forests. Local inhabitants took away most of the wood materials for their own building sites or for firewood. Most of the concrete shelters and fire positions were destroyed when the steel balks were blown out for scrap metal. Shelter enters were also blocked up because tramps lived in those objects. Wooden shelters collapsed during the years when the wood material decayed. Tunnel stores were used during the second world war as ammunition magazines and factories. Some of the tunnel stores are still in use.

Tunnel store G11
An old tunnel store
still in use. Object G11. (1998)

Many parts of the fortress were destroyed under the new suburban areas and roads. Despite of that, everywhere in Helsinki district can be found occasional trenches, shelter and fire positions. There are just few big entireness where it is easy to find out how the artillery batteries, caves, defense positions and obstacles located in relations to each other, and their existence is still endangered.

The sea front is in a better condition. Most of the objects locate still in military areas where is no entry. Some of the objects have almost the same outward appearance as 80 years ago except the guns, which were removed during the second world war 1941-44.

Tunnel store XVI:5
An entrance to the tunnel store in Itä-Pakila, object XVI:5. (1999)

Nowadays the old fortresses are protected by law. Their historical importance has been realized and some of the objects have been cleared out of litter and vegetation. The land front located under three different cities: Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa. Each city has it’s own renovating programs and publications. That doesn’t make it easy to get the idea of the entireness of the old fortress.

The renovating program made by the city of Helsinki emphasize ecological values in clearing and renovating work. There is no purpose to renovate objects totally to their original outfit. Also different periods (like scrap metal blown ups) belong in fortresses history. Some objects of course could be renovate totally but the idea is to clear the objects out just that people can understand the structure.

Trench, II:7
Local inhabitants clear fortifications regularly in Länsimäki, object II:7. (1999)

A botanical view is also important. The vegetation in fortress area is unique. Army, and especially horses feed, has brought rare plants to area. The blasting work has released some nutrient from solid rock and there is a original vegetation along the trenches. The renovation work is done in co-operation with the Natural science museum and the botanic museum.

Trench, XIV:1
An undergrowth can be quite thick in Summer. Viikki, object XIV:1. (1999)

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