Two hours drive from St. Petersburg is Vyborg, a small city with stunning European architecture. The legendary Montrepo Park, famous as one of the most beautiful historical parks of Northern Europe, is located in this amazing place. The combination of Karelian northern nature and the romance of the landscape park gives Montrepo a special attraction. Montrepo was originally admired by people without whom it is impossible to imagine the cultural history of Russia - from members of the Russian Imperial House to composer Mikhail Glinka and poet Osip Mandelstam.
We go to an ancient city with an interesting and multifaceted history and European architecture. We will see the most beautiful places of Vyborg and will not give up the local cuisine!
Before leaving, I advise you to have a good meal at home or bring food, snacks and bottled water.
Start your journey by refueling at Gazprom Neft filling stations, grab coffee and fresh pastries on the way to make your trip more comfortable!
Here we are in Vyborg. Let's stop and have a better look at the Church of St. Peter and Paul - the only surviving Lutheran church in Vyborg.
The Town Hall Tower, or Raatitorni in Finnish, is a stone quadrangle tower, one of two surviving combat towers of the medieval Vyborg fortress. It was built in 1470s together with other towers of the defensive wall of the stone city. In the 1470s the city, which grew on a peninsula east of the Vyborg Castle, was surrounded by a stone wall with 9 towers about 2 km long. The Town Hall Tower was the only gate tower in the southeast part of the Stone Town wall.
This building was built in 1903-1904 by the famous master of northern art nouveau, Swedish architect Karl Hord af Segerstadt for the scribe Victor Goving. On the ground floor there was a bookstore and above there were residential apartments. The house was famous for its magnificent interiors and excellent facade. Nowadays, the abandoned house was nicknamed "Haunted House" by tourists and locals.
This ancient German house now houses a travel company. There is also a shop with a wide range of souvenirs, including the famous Vyborg pretzel!
St. Hyacinth's Church or Knight's House - Gothic stone building in Vyborg. The oldest part of the present building was built at the beginning of the 16th century - it was a school building of the Franciscan monastery. Moreover, the oldest walls of the monastery have survived despite the later reconstructions. Back in the 15th century, this place was home to a wooden building belonging to the Franciscan monastery dedicated to the Slavic martyr Hyacinth. Only in the XVI century it was rebuilt from stone.
The Old Town Hall square in the historical center of Vyborg is the oldest square in the city. It dates back to the XIV century and has been reconstructed several times since then. The square was in the possession of Swedes, Finns and Russians, saw the Northern and Great Patriotic War, but its ancient buildings have been preserved. The square between the city cathedral and the Castle Bridge dates back to the XIV century. For a long time all city meetings were held here. It is believed that in 1403 on this square a decree of the Swedish king Erik Pomeranski on granting Vyborg the rights of the city was ceremonially read.
Vyborg Castle was founded by Swedes in 1293 during the Third Crusade. The castle is Vyborg's main attraction, and its donjon, St. Olaf's Tower is a universally recognized symbol of the city. Now the Vyborg Local History Museum is located in the main building of the castle, and it has become the center of cultural life of the city: concerts, festivals, knightly tournaments are held here. In 2015 "Vyborg Museum-Reserve" was created, which united the castle and medieval monuments of Vyborg. In the same year the reconstruction of the Vyborg Castle began. The museum constantly has 6 thematic expositions, which reveal different periods of the history of the city and the castle, tell about the nature of the Karelian Isthmus, the history of border and customs services in these territories.
The tower was named after St. Olaf, the Norwegian king who actively fought against paganism and was canonized by the church after his death. There is no documentary evidence of the construction of the castle until the middle of the 15th century, and an approximate idea of its original appearance is based only on archaeological research. The two lower floors of the quadrangular boulder built of granite boulders have been preserved to this day.
Excellent panorama at the observation deck, overlooking the European historical part of Vyborg.
And here we are finally in Montrepo! The gates through which we enter the park are made in neo-Gothic style. Appeared in England in the first quarter of the XVIII century, the "new gothic" becomes popular in Europe and Russia. The main manor gate was installed in Montrepo in the 1830s. The author of the project is unknown. It is supposed to be the Finnish architect of German origin Karl Ludwig Engel. Engel worked fruitfully in Helsingfors for a long time. It was he who gave the new capital of Finland its characteristic architectural look.
It's lunchtime. The café in Montrepo is small, but cozy and atmospheric. The first dishes are perfectly prepared here. Baked sea fish is the most frequently ordered dish in the institution. It's open from Thursday to Sunday.
A rare beauty rock landscape park of XVIII-XIX centuries is located on the lands of a former private estate, the owners of which for 150 years were barons von Nikolai, who served Russia in the field of education and diplomacy. In the world of the Park Montrepo in all its diversity, different eras and cultural traditions coexist harmoniously, from ancient images to the mythology of the epos "Calevala". The gardener from Pomerania Johan Bisterfeld and the artist from Venice Giuseppe Antonio Martinelli, the English architect Charles Tatem and the Italian painter Pietro Gonzago, the German artist Jakob Mettenleiter and the French architect August de Montferrand, the Danish sculptor Gotthaelf Borup and the Finnish sculptor Johannes Takanen worked on the creation of the park.
This location of the park offers an excellent panorama of the Vyborg Bay shores.
The granite gorge with the sculpture of Väinämöinen, the main character of the Karelian-Finnish epos "Kalevala", is a natural continuation of this very "stone" section of the park. The first famous runop singer appeared in the gorge in 1831. Its author was the Danish sculptor Gotthelf Borup. Gypsum Väinämeinen Borupa became famous for the fact that it was installed four years before the publication of the first Kalevala collection. He was dressed as an ancient hero, in a short Roman tunic, and in his hand held an instrument similar to a kyphara - after all, no one knew exactly what the hero of northern legends should look like.
Big Ladle, in Finnish Salakkalahti, is a bay located on the edge of the Vyborg Bay. It is connected by the Castle Strait with the Vyborg Bay and the Protected Bay. Walking along the evening embankment of the bay, you will feel the atmosphere of unforgettable windy expanses of the "Finnish Sea".
On the embankment of Vyborg near the hotel Druzhba you can see unusual vessels, these are Viking rooks, or so-called drakkars - 24-meter dragon ships, in translation from ancient Scandinavian Drage means "dragon" and Kar - "ship". Such boats had high bent keel and nose, and if the owner's status was high, the bow of the boat was decorated with a dragon image. Viking rooks in Vyborg are copies of boats made in 1984 for the filming of Stanislav Rostotsky and Knut Andersen's "And Trees Grow on Stones". The film tells about the events taking place in the Viking Age - in the IX century.
It's time to go back home. But before that, we should have dinner. I suggest we do it at the Russian Yard Russian Restaurant. The restaurant is located in a historical building of Peter the Great era and offers guests dishes of Russian cuisine cooked according to ancient recipes. The business card of the restaurant "Russian Yard" is the menu, which practically does not allow deviations from the classics and strictly follows the traditions of Russian cuisine. Tourists in particular praise local cod with white sauce beans and fresh cranberry morsel.