Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Z_CNHI News Service

August 20, 2013

Enjoy opera in a castle on Finnish island

It would probably shock the heck out of Danish knight Erik Axelsson Tott, who founded Olavinlinna Castle in 1475, to learn that what started out as a defensive fortification has since become the home of a summer opera festival that draws thousands of opera lovers from all around the world to the lovely lake country of southeastern Finland.

Through the centuries, Olavinlinna (literally St. Olaf’s Castle) was added on to and assaulted by foreign invaders several times, but it still stands, a massive stone citadel that claims the title of the northern-most, still-standing Medieval stone castle.

Remarkably preserved and built on a small granite island and surrounded by Europe’s fourth largest lake, Lake Saimaa, the restored castle offers tours daily that give visitors a look inside the circular towers, the king’s massive dining room, the central courtyard as well as several other rooms large and small. Just be prepared to climb up a stone staircase or two along the way, a formidable task for the physically challenged.

Today, Olavinlinna’s major claim to fame its opera festival, held each July when the evening sky can still be lit by the fading rays of the sun until 10:30 p.m. or even later. Because the castle is connected to the mainland town of Savonlinna by two footbridges that cross the lake, both the well-heeled and those of lesser means approach the festival on foot. There are no fancy limos pulling up to the entranceway here.

Still, for all, it’s exhilarating to make the march to the castle, where the Finnish flag breezes from the top of one of its three towers. People like to stop along the way and take one another’s photo with the castle in the background, listen to a group of talented children singing nursery rhymes on the access island, then enter the castle courtyard through a massive portal.

Text Only
Z_CNHI News Service
House Ads
Hendricks County Marquee
Email News Sign Up
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Has the rash of shootings in Indianapolis made you reconsider attending an event or patronizing a business there? Yes, it's out of control No, it's no more dangerous than anywhere else

     View Results
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Must Read