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     In 1653 Vehkalahti (Vecklax in Swedish) was founded on the Southern coast of Finland by Fredrik I. It was destroyed in the Great Northern War. The Swedish architect Axel von Löwn built an eight-sided  fortress on the site and gave it the name Fredrikshamn or Fredrik's Port. The Finnish-speaking population shortened the name to Hamina. The Treaty of Hamina, giving Finland to Russia,  was signed in 1809. The town grew up within the walls of the fortress, with the Town Hall as the central point. The stamp shows the eight-sided shape of the town and the town hall. It was issued in 1953 to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the founding of Vehkalahti.

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    In 1748 under the supervision of August Ehrensvärd, the fortress Sveaborg, meaning Sweden’s Fortress (Viapori in Finnish) was begun at the town of Helsinki and the islands in front of it when Finland was still part of the Kingdom of Sweden. It was intended to prevent Russian expansion to the west, but in 1808 the fortress surrendered to the Russians, and the next year Finland became part of the Russian empire for 110 years. Helsinki became the new capital of Finland. In 1917 Finland gained her independence, and the following year Viapori became a Finnish garrison and received a new Finnish name, Soumenlinna, meaning Finland’s fortress. In 1973 the fortress came under civilian administration. Although Viapori was a military installation, it was also a center of military music, and today it is a center for music, the arts, and theater.

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Viborg Castle

     The stamp was issued in 1993 to mark the 700the anniversary of the Viborg Castle (Viipurin Linna). It was built by the Swedish Marshal Torgils Knutsson in 1293 during the third Crusade on an island in the Gulf of Finland off the coast of Karelia. It changed hands between Finland and Russia several times. The Castle has been in Russia since 1944.
     The tower of Olaf was octagonal which was believed to be the strongest against bombardment. In the background is a "map of the King's Road (Kuninkaantien Kartta)" along the southern coast of Finland from Turku (Abo) to St. Petersburg.

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