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For other uses, see Vyborg (disambiguation)
Image:Vyborg from castle.jpg
A view of Vyborg from the castle tower

Vyborg (Russian: Вы́борг; Finnish: Viipuri; Swedish: Viborg; German: Wiburg) is a town in Leningrad Oblast, Russia, situated on the Karelian Isthmus near the head of the Bay of Vyborg, 130 km to the northwest of St. Petersburg, 38 km south from Russia's border with Finland, where the Saimaa Canal enters the Gulf of Finland. 2002 population—79,224.


[edit] History

The area where Vyborg is located used to be a trading center on the River Vuoksi's western branch, which has been dried up. The area was inhabited by the Karelians, a Finnic tribe which gradually came under the domination of Novgorod and Sweden.

Image:Vyborg map.jpg
A copper engraving of Vyborg in 1709

The first castle of Vyborg was founded during the so-called "Third Swedish Crusade" in 1293 by marshal Torkel Knutsson. The castle was fought over for decades between Sweden and the Republic of Novgorod. By the treaty of Nöteborg in 1323 Viborg was finally recognized as a part of Sweden. It withstood a prolonged siege by Daniil Shchenya during the Russo–Swedish War of 1496–1499.

The town's trade privileges were chartered by King Eric of Pomerania in 1403. Viborg remained in Swedish hands until its capture by Peter the Great in the Great Northern War (1710). The Treaty of Nystad (1721), which concluded the war, assigned the town to Russia.

One of the largest naval battles in history was fought off shore in the Vyborg Bay on July 4, 1790.

After the rest of Finland was ceded to Russia in 1809, Alexander I of Russia incorporated the town and county into the newly-created Grand Duchy of Finland in 1812.

In the course of the 19th century, the town developed as the center of administration and trade for the eastern part of Finland. The inauguration of the Saimaa Canal in 1856 benefited the local economy as it opened the vast waterways of Eastern Finland to the sea. Vyborg was never a major industrial center, and lacked large production facilities, but due to its location it served a focal point of transports of all industries on Karelian Isthmus, Ladoga Karelia and South-Eastern Finland.

Following the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the fall of the Russian Empire, Finland declared itself independent. During the Finnish Civil War Vyborg was in the hands of the Reds, until it was captured by the Whites on 29 April 1918.

In the mid-war decades, the town, then officially known as Viipuri, was the second biggest city in Finland. In 1939 Viipuri had some 80,000 inhabitants, including sizable minorities of Russians, Germans and Swedes. During this time, Alvar Aalto built a masterpiece of modernist architecture — the Viipuri Library.

Image:Vyborg rathaus.jpg
Rathaus Tower in Vyborg (ca. 1500).
Image:Vyborg kruglaya.jpg
Round Tower in Vyborg (ca. 1550).

During the Winter War more than 70,000 people were evacuated from Viipuri to western Finland. The Winter War was concluded by the Peace of Moscow, which stipulated the transfer of Viipuri and the whole Karelian Isthmus — emptied of their residents — to Soviet sovereignty, where it was incorporated to Karelo Finnish SSR, March 31, 1940. As the town was still held by the Finns, the remaining Finnish population, some 10,000 people, had to be evacuated in haste before the handover. Thus, practically the whole population of Finnish Viipuri was resettled in the remaining Finland.

The evacuees from Finnish Karelia came to be a vociferous political force, and their wish to return to their homes was an important incentive when Finland sought support from Germany against the Soviet threat; a support that resulted in Finland and Germany ending up on the same side in World War II.

On August 29, 1941, Vyborg was recaptured by Finnish troops and, soon after, the Government of Finland formally annexed it along with the other areas lost in the Moscow Peace Treaty. At first the Finnish Army didn't allow civilians into the town. Of the 6,287 buildings 3,807 had been destroyed. The first civilians started to arrive at the end of September and by the end of the year Vyborg had a population of about 9,700. By 1942 it has risen to 16,000. About 70% of the evacuees from Finnish Karelia returned after the re-conquest to rebuild their looted homes, but were again evacuated after the Red Army's Fourth strategic offensive, timed with the Battle of Normandy. By the time of the Soviet offensive, the town had a population of nearly 28,000. The town was evacuated by June 19 and the defence of Vyborg was entrusted to the 20th Brigade. The town fell to the Red Army on 20 June 1944, but the Finns managed to stop the Soviet offensive at the Battle of Tali-Ihantala, the largest battle fought by any of the Nordic countries, in Viipuri rural municipality, which surrounded the city itself.

In the following Moscow Armistice September 19, 1944, Finns returned to the borders set by the Moscow Peace treaty, and in the Paris Peace treaties (1947) Finns relinquished all claims to Vyborg.

Already, right after the Winter War, Leningrad had wanted to incorporate the area of Viipuri, but it took until September 1944 for it to be finally transferred from Karelo-Finnish SSR to Leningrad Oblast, and the name of the town was changed to Vyborg. During the Soviet era, the town was settled by people from all over the Soviet Union.

[edit] Economics

View from Olaf's tower.

Vyborg continues to be an important industrial producer of paper. Tourism is increasingly important, and the Russian film festival Window to Europe takes place in the town each year.

An HVDC back-to-back facility for the exchange of electricity between the Russian and Finnish power grid was completed near Vyborg in 1982. It consists of three bipolar HVDC back-to-back schemes with an operating voltage of 85 kV and a maximum transmission rate of 355 megawatts, so that the entire maximum transmission rate amounts to 1065 megawatts.

[edit] Sights

Vyborg's most prominent landmark is the Swedish built castle, started in the 13th century and extensively reconstructed in 1891–1894. The Round Tower and the Rathaus Tower date from the mid-16th century. The Vyborg Library by Finnish architect Alvar Aalto is a reference point in the history of modern architecture.

There are also Russian fortifications, completed by 1740, as well as the monuments to Peter I (1910) and Torkel Knutsson. Tourists are shown the "Lenin house", where the Russian revolutionary prepared the Bolshevik revolution during his stay in Vyborg in September-October of 1917.

Sprawling along the heights adjacent to the Gulf of Finland is Mon Repos, one of the most spacious English parks in Eastern Europe. The park was laid out on behest of its owner, Baron Ludwig Heinrich von Nikolay, at the turn of the 18th and 19th centuries. Most of the garden structures were designed by the architect Giuseppe Antonio Martinelli. Previously, the estate belonged to the future king Frederick I of Württemberg (Maria Fyodorovna's brother), who called it Charlottendahl in honor of his second wife.

Image:Vyporg pan.jpg
View to Vyborg from St. Olaf tower.

[edit] External links

Image:Vyborg embankment.jpg
A street in downtown Vyborg.

[edit] Photographs

[edit] Maps

Fortresses of Western Russia Image:Koporye fortress tower.jpg

Gdov | Ivangorod | Izborsk | Kirillov | Koporye | Korela | Kronstadt | Ladoga | New Dvina Fort | Novgorod | Oreshek | Porkhov | Pskov | Smolensk | Solovki | St Petersburg | Trångsund | Vyborg | Yamburg

Image:Coat of arms of Leningrad Oblast.svg Cities and towns in Leningrad Oblast Image:Flag of Russia.svg
Administrative center: Saint Petersburg (administratively separate)

Boksitogorsk | Gatchina | Ivangorod | Kamennogorsk | Kingisepp | Kirishi | Kirovsk | Kommunar | Lodeynoye Pole | Luga | Lyuban | Nikolskoye | Novaya Ladoga | Otradnoye | Pikalyovo | Podporozhye | Primorsk | Priozersk | Sertolovo | Slantsy | Sosnovy Bor | Svetogorsk | Shlisselburg | Syasstroy | Tikhvin | Tosno | Volosovo | Volkhov | Vsevolozhsk | Vyborg | Vysotsk

Coordinates: 60°43′″N, 28°45′″Ebr:Viborg da:Viborg (Rusland) de:Wyborg et:Viiburi es:Vyborg eo:Viborg fr:Vyborg ko:비보르크 io:Vyborg it:Vyborg lt:Viborgas nl:Vyborg nn:Viborg no:Vyborg pl:Wyborg pt:Vyborg ru:Выборг fi:Viipuri sv:Viborg zh:维堡


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