Vyborg is very reminiscent of the town of medieval Europe. This is no accident, because, in its long history, it belonged to Sweden, Finland, and Russia.

It happens that very little time is allocated to get to know the city. What to see first and what to leave for later. Below are 5 must-see attractions. They will tell about the history of Vyborg and let you feel its atmosphere.

Vyborg Castle and the observation deck of St. Olaf’s Tower

  • The appearance of this medieval fortification, built by the Swedes in 1293. familiar to every tourist coming to Vyborg. Souvenirs with his image can be found everywhere.
  • Initially, the building located on the castle island was used as a defensive structure. In 1710, when the fortress was captured by the Petrovsky troops, its significance was lost.

Now the castle houses a museum of local lore. Its expositions will tell about the culture and history of Vyborg. The exposition entitled «Underwater archeology» deserves special attention. It presents the wreckage of sunken ships raised from the bottom of the Vyborg Bay.

Park «Mon Repos»

  • On the coast of Tverdysh Island there is the Monrepos park. The combination of architectural monuments with the bewitching nature of Karelia attracts tourists at any time of the year.
  • Initially, Mon Repos belonged to the dynasty of barons Nicholas. It was they who took care of the creation of exquisite architectural structures here. Unfortunately, in Soviet times, the reserve was used as a park of culture and recreation for a long time.
  • This had a very negative effect on his condition. Some of the buildings were destroyed, rebuilt, losing their historical appearance. Due to a violation of the drainage system, the ponds began to drain, gradually turning into swamps.

Thanks to the efforts of public figures, the park received the status of a museum-reserve, large-scale restoration and restoration work was carried out on its territory. Now Mon Repos is open to visitors.

Round Tower

  • The round tower is one of the oldest buildings in Vyborg. Its construction dates back to the middle of the 16th century. Initially, it was part of the Vyborg city wall, which has not survived to this day.

Now the restaurant «Round Tower», decorated in a medieval style, is open here. Heavy carved furniture, wrought-iron gratings on narrow windows and sumptuous hanging chandeliers take visitors into the atmosphere of the 16th century.

The oldest residential building in Russia

  • Vyborg is home to the oldest residential building in Russia. The official name of the attraction is «Citizen’s House». The building, built by the Swedes in 1584, has not lost its original function — people live here, just like more than 400 years ago. Because of this, the house can only be viewed from the outside.

The house has two floors and only two apartments, each of which has its own basement. The house is built of granite stones; its appearance has hardly changed, with the exception of the windows — they were made wider, and the frames that had rotted from time to time had to be replaced with plastic double-glazed windows.

Alvar Aalto Library

  • After walking enough along the medieval streets of Vyborg, you should definitely pay attention to another architectural monument. This is an example of Finnish functionalism, Alvar Aalto’s library. The library bears the name of its creator, a Finnish architect. This is his only building located on the territory of Russia.
  • The construction of the library was completed in 1935, although its project had been developed since 1927. Despite the fact that the building is about to “knock” a hundred years, it looks very futuristic: light spaces finished with wood, levels smoothly flowing into each other instead of the usual floors, functionalism and no extra details.

You should definitely pay attention to the wooden undulating ceiling in the lecture hall: in addition to its appearance, it provides excellent acoustics.

  • Another important detail is the absence of windows in the reading room: light enters here through round holes in the ceiling, which protects the books from sunlight and provides diffused shadowless lighting.
    You can get here by getting a temporary library card, or as part of an excursion group.

Vyborg is a unique city. You can come here several times and always find something new. And for the first acquaintance, you can visit the places described in this article.