Vyborg is located in Leningrad region on the Karelian Isthmus at the distance of 130 km to the northwest of St. Petersburg, close to the Russian border with Finland. The historical centre of the town is formed by the Castle of Vyborg and other historical buildings of different architectural styles.
The Castle of Vyborg
The first castle was constructed in 1293 after the Swedish army conquered the Karelian Isthmus. The construction of the fortress was started at the command of Torkel Knutsson, the Lord High Constable of Sweden who was the leader of a so-called crusade to conquer Karelia in 1290. He chose the location of the new fortress to keep the Bay of Vyborg, which was a very important trading site used by the local people for a long time.
The Castle served as the stronghold of the Swedish kingdom in Karelian regions. Throughout the centuries, it was the first defensive point of the kingdom against Russians.
In the 16th Century, the fortress was renovated and new parts were added. In the 17th century, the military significance of the fortress started to decrease because the danger from the Russian kingdom was not serious and the border was much more eastwards.
Vyborg was taken by Russians in 1710 during the Northern War and became a part of Finland again only in 1812 when all areas of Old Finland were added to the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. The appearance of the present castle dates back to the 1890s, when much restoration was implemented. The military services of the Russian Empire used the castle until 1918 for housing administration.
Mon Repos is one one of the most spacious English parks in Eastern Europe. It spreads along the the coastline of the Gulf of Finland. It was laid out at the command of Baron Ludwig Heinrich von Nikolay, at the turn of the 19th century. Most of the structures in the garden were created by the architect Giuseppe Antonio Martinelli.
In the garden one can find the remaining buildings of the estate, which belonged to the future king Frederick I of Wurttemberg, who called it Charlottendahl in honor of his second wife, as well as different bridges, summerhouses and rotundas. The garden is located not far from the castle, at the distance of a short bus ride or a 30-minute walk.