The dry dock in Suomenlinna is the oldest in Finland and one of the oldest operational dry docks in Europe.
The construction of the dry dock began in 1750. The dock’s basins and service buildings served as the base for the Swedish Coastal Fleet’s Sveaborg squadron until 1808. Ships for the Swedish Coastal Fleet were built there in the 1760s under the supervision of the famous naval architect Fredrik Henrik af Chapman.
During the Finnish period (1918– ) the State Aircraft Factory used the dock for building the first Finnish airplanes. In the 1930s, the dock’s inner basin was used as a naval submarine base. After the Second World War, Valmet Oy took over the ship-building operations, initially building ships as war reparations to the Soviet Union.
Sailing ships repaired
Nowadays the dry dock’s large basin is used for repairing wooden sailing ships. The repairs are carried out by a private association called Viaporin telakka, committed to conserve the knowledge and skills related to old sailing ships and their refurbishment.
The area also houses a smithy, a boatbuilder’s yard and a sailmaker’s workshop.
Dry dock observation deck
Public access to the dry dock area is prohibited. The best place to observe the dry dock and the ships in it is the dry dock observation deck, marked on the map.
The large inner basin is emptied and re-flooded twice a year: in autumn as ships enter the dry dock, and in spring when the ships sail out.
The distance from the main quay to the dry dock is 600 metres. Waterbuses operate to the Artillery Bay quay during the summer season. The distance from there is approximately 200 metres.