Vyborg: A Fusion of Northern Cultures

Catherine Mullier 28 April 2019
Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

Close to the Finnish border and just north of St. Petersburg, Vyborg is a town that has known incredible upheaval over the last 300 years of its history. Even compared to St Petersburg, a city famed for being Russia’s ‘European’ city, Vyborg feels more closely connected to Europe.

Its winding, narrow streets and mixture of Swedish, Finnish and Russian architecture reveal its past: Vyborg has changed hands between Sweden, Finland and Russia several times over the course of its history, most recently becoming Russian in 1944.

The town thus has a certain ambiguity – you could easily imagine you were in Scandinavia or almost anywhere in northern or eastern Europe, perhaps even in southern Europe if you ignored all the snow.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

The apartment block we stayed in. To the left (not pictured) was the bell tower which chimed every hour, on the hour.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

One of Vyborg’s beautiful old streets leading down to the harbour.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

Vyborg’s former town hall square opposite the castle. The statue is of Swedish marshal Torgils (also spelled Torkel) Knutsson, who founded the castle.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

The former town hall and town hall square overlooking the harbour. Thanks to the warm weather, the water had mostly thawed, but there was still some ice floating on the surface and there was a lot more snow on the ground than in St Petersburg.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

Exploring the town’s historical fortifications while enjoying the snow and the sunshine.

Photo Credit: Catherine Mullier

The view out over the harbour from the bridge which connects the castle to the northerly and southerly parts of town. Vyborg is spread out over several islets and the mainland which are linked together by bridges.