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Suomenlinna "Castle of Finland"
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Suomenlinna is an old maritime fortress in the coast of Finland, safeguarding the capital Helsinki. The initial construction of the fortress was started in 1750s when Finland was a part of Sweden and the thread of Russian Empire was growing. The fortress was built in all together seven islands but actually never finished during the Swedish era. The Swedish named the fortress at that time Sveaborg and the name remains until this day because of bilingualism in Finland (Mokkala, 2014; Suomenlinna, n.y.). In 1808 Sveaborg was appointed to the Russians when the rest of Finland was occupied by the Empire. The name again was changed this time into Viapori and the fortress served as a military base for the Russian troupes. Under the rule of Russia the fortress suffered from bombings and was left to deteriorate. In 1918 after Finland had gained independence the fortress was named as Suomenlinna, symbolising the independence of Finland, with the name remaining up to this date (Suomenlinna, n.y.).
The importance of this world heritage site for the world lies in the history. The fortress became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991 and the castle today is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Finland. For Finnish people Suomenlinna is a symbol of independence and for the world it is a landmark with authentic history of war. According to Heldt Cassel and Pashkevich (2014) and UNESCO (1992-2014) the heritage sites should be kept in the original shape and style which means the places become also important architectural sites. The original structures used in the old days are still found in the area of Suomenlinna for example an orthodox church build in the Russian era is still used today. According to UNESCO (1992-2014) Suomenlinna was selected to be a World Heritage Site because of its representation of military architecture in Europe in the 18th century. Like Held Cassel and Pashkevich (2014) point out the heritage sites are full of memories and represent the past. The uniqueness of Suomenlinna is that it has been ruled by three different countries: Sweden, Russia and Finland (Suomenlinna, n.y.).
Like mentioned earlier Suomenlinna still consists of the original structures which is costly to keep in shape. The restoration of Suomenlinna is funded by the Finnish government and The Governing Body of Suomenlinna. The funds come from things such as rents on the islands and banqueting and conference bookings. However this is a problem since they are highly dependent on the local residents and tourists to bring the money (The Governing Body of Suomenlinna, n.y.; Heldt Cassel and Pashkevich, 2011). In the case of Suomenlinna the managerial challenge is the relationship of tourism and heritage protection. Like mentioned by Aas, Ladkin and Fletcher (2005) the management of cultural heritage sites often faces challenges and conflicts. Suomenlinna has become one of major tourist attractions in Finland and is being filled with tourist entrepreneurs like cafes etc. This means that some of the money leaks out and doesn't go to the heritage preservation or to the Governing Body of Suomenlinna. For example when travelling to the destination one needs to take a ferry which is owned by Helsinki city and there is no entrance fee to the destination. The funding would need to be done in a more efficient way to ensure long lasting benefits (The Governing body of Suomenlinna, n.y.).
AAS, C., LADKIN, A. and FLETCHER, J. (2005) Stakeholder collaboration and heritage management. Annals of Tourism Research, Vol. 32, No. 1, pp. 28–48.
THE GOVERNING BODY OF SUOMENLINNA (n.y.) Budget. [Online] Available in: http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/governingbody/agency/budget/ [Accessed in 11.11.2014]
HELDT CASSEL, S. and PASHKEVICH, A. (2011) Heritage Tourism and Inherited Institutional Structures: The Case of Falun Great Copper Mountain. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism. Vol. 11, No. 1., pp. 57-75.
MOKKALA, M. (2014) Own experience and knowledge of cultural heritage site. [Reviewed 11.11.2014] student/Finnish citizen, email@example.com
SUOMENLINNA (n.y.) Fortress and history. [Online] Available in: http://www.suomenlinna.fi/en/fortress/ [Accessed in 11.11.2014]
UNESCO (1992-2014) Fortress of Suomenlinna. [Online]. Available in: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/583 [Accessed 11.11.2014]
Written by Marianne Mokkala
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