Otočna utvrda Suomenlinna: gradsko naselje Helsinkija, Unescov spomenik svjetske baštine i vojna baza

Utorak 18.9.2018.

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The Island Fortress of Suomenlinna: Helsinki Neighborhood, Unesco World Heritage Site, and Military Base

 

Suomenlinna is a maritime fortress on seven small islands in front of the city of Helsinki. It was built gradually from the second half of the 18th century onwards with the purpose of defending the Kingdom of Sweden (to which Finland belonged) against the Russian Empire. After Finland became independent in 1917, this area still functioned for a time in defense sector. The military role of the fortress declined after World War II, and, in 1973, the area was mostly converted to civilian purposes. In 1991, the whole area became an Unesco World Heritage site.

Nowadays, approximately 800 inhabitants live on Suomenlinna, and there are 400 active jobs on the island, many of which are linked to the nearly one million visitors each year. Legally, Suomenlinna is a neighborhood of Helsinki, but considering its military role, the state ownership of most of the real estate on the islands and the Unesco protection, the governing of the area demands that different legal frameworks be balanced.

Ethnographic research among permanent inhabitant of Suomenlinna will be presented, emphasizing the ways in which they have built islandness in this specific context and in relation to the capital city they legally belong to, but also how military and touristic uses of the space impact them. There are only 13 private buildings on Suomenlinna, while all others are state owned (330 apartments). Apartments are rented via public notices, which are extremely popular. The area has a kindergarten, a school, a library, and numerous touristic infrastructure spaces such as six museums and numerous art galleries, restaurants and bars. The public ferry service connects the islands with the central harbor port of Helsinki on a regular basis during the day. Research has shown that the everyday life of local inhabitants is marked with the insularity of space, though this little urban archipelago even has an undersea tunnel connection to Helsinki (used only for urgent purposes).

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