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King’s Gate

The monumental King’s Gate is the symbol of Suomenlinna. It was built between 1753 and 1754 as the entrance gateway to the fortress.King's gate

King's gateThe gate was built on the site where the ship carrying the founder of the fortress, King Adolf Frederick of Sweden, was anchored while he inspected the construction of the fortress in 1752.

The façade of the two-storey King’s Gate is concave, and the gate, framed with marble stones, is made with rustic masonry. In the 1770s the fortress gate was transformed into a double drawbridge. A pier and wide stairs, constructed from limestone excavated from a site near Stockholm, were built in front of the drawbridge.

The ornamental motifs of the gateway consist of limestone cornices, oval and round embrasures and inscribed marble slabs.

Bombardments during the Crimean War destroyed the pier at the King’s Gate and some of the steps. The King’s Gate was refurbished for the first time during Finland’s independence in 1925, for a visit by the King and Queen of Sweden. Since then, the gate has been refurbished three times. The most recent restoration work was completed in time for Suomenlinna’s 250th anniversary in 1998.

Handsome scenery

Kustaanmiekka Silja LineThe handsome cruise ships of Silja Line and Viking Line can be seen sailing the Kustaanmiekka strait from the King’s Gate.

The ships leave from the South Harbour between 5 and 5:30 pm and pass the strait in the morning between 9 and 10 am. International cruise ships and some of the ships operating the route to Tallinn also sail regularly through the strait. Watch a Viking Line ship pass the Kustaanmiekka strait on YouTube.

How to get there

The waterbus stops at the King’s Gate during summer. The Helsinki City Transport ferry operates to the main pier throughout the year, and from there the Kings’s Gate is about 1.5 kilometres away.

Marble slabs

Did you know?

The builder of the fortress, Augustin Ehrensvärd, had one of the ornamental marble slabs inscribed with a famous exhortation to the people of Finland.

Translated into English, the famous text reads “Posterity, stand here upon your ground and never rely on outside help.”