Vyborg, Russia

Vyborg (Russian: Вы́борг) is a town in northwestern Russia. It is within the Leningrad Oblast, about 130 km (81 mi) northwest of St Petersburg and 38 km (24 mi) from the border between Russia and Finland. Vyborg covers 112.27 sq km (43.35 sq mi) and has a population of 80,000 people (2012 estimate).

More on Vyborg

Vyborg is near the hear of the Bay of Vyborg which empties into the Gulf of Finland, on the eastern end of the Baltic Sea. The town traces its history to 1293, when Marshal Torkel Knutsson built a castle there during the Third Swedish Crusade. The site was contested by the Republic of Novgorod, but was eventually recognized as part of Sweden in 1323.

Under Swedish rule, the local rulers of Vyborg were drawn from the Bååt family of nobles. In 1710 Peter the Great captured Vyborg from the Swedes in the Great Northern War. This follows the ceding of the rest of Finland to Russia in 1809. In 1812, Emperor Alexander I of Russia incorporated Vyborg as a town, and put it within the Grand Duchy of Finland.

When the Russian Empire collapsed in the Russian Revolution of 1917, Finland declared itself independent. During this period, Vyborg was known as Viipuri. In the inter-war decades, it was the second largest town in Finland. In 1939, the Winter War between the Soviet Union and Finland ended with the transfer of Viipuri, as well as the whole Karelian Isthmus, to Soviet control.

Round Tower, Vyborg
Author: Ghirlandajo (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)

Finns living in Viipuri, numbering some 10,000 people, were evacuated in haste before the handover took effect, and were resettled in Finland. However the evacuees were quite vocal in wanting to return home, and this forced Finland to work with Germany in the Second World War. Finnish troops managed to recapture Viipuri on 29 August, 1941, and Finland soon reannexed it. However the town fell to the Red Army on 20 June 1944. The result of the defeat meant that Finland had to cede more land to Moscow than the original treaty had demanded.

Today Vyborg has developed as a tourist destination due to its proximity to the Scandinavian countries.

Visiting Vyborg

Vyborg is a stopover on the train line between

Saint Petersburg and Helsinki. You can go there as a day trip from either cities. Express trains from St Petersburg take about two hours to reach Vyborg while regular trains take two and a half hours.

There are also coaches from

Helsinki, Turku, Lappeenrata and Jyväskylä in Finland.

Places of Interest in Vyborg

  1. Mon Repos
  2. Olaf’s Tower
  3. Round Tower
  4. Viipuri Library
  5. Vyborg Castle

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