The Åland Islands were once the westernmost outpost of the Russian Empire. To guard this part of the empire, the Russians began the construction of an impressive fortress in 1832. In the center of this was the Fortress of Bomarsund. Around the main fortress, several smaller fortifications were planned to be built, of which only a few were completed. One of these smaller fortifications was the Tower of Brännklint. This tower was the only fortification facing the surrounding land that was ever completed. The other fortifications were to guard against attacks from the sea.
The Tower of Brännklint
The Tower of Brännklint – or Brännklintstornet in Swedish – is one out of three outer fortifications of the Fortress of Bomarsund. That is, it was one of the twelve planned outposts that were actually built. The twelve outposts were going to defend the main fortress from attacks both from land and from the sea. The construction of the Fortress of Bomarsund began in 1832 and it survived until the summer of 1854. That summer British and French forces attacked the fortress. It was during the Crimean War and the fortress became an important target.
The fate of the Tower of Brännklint was eventually sealed once it was captured by the French troops. Thousands of French troops had been attacking the tower before it fell into enemy hands. The bombardment caused the tower to catch fire, a fire that spread down to the storage for gunpowder. The following explosion marked the end of the Tower of Brännklint and left it in ruins.
Finding Your Way
The Tower of Brännklint is in Sund on the northern part of the main island. It is within walking distance from the other parts of the fortifications. If you come from Mariehamn, the area is reachable both with bike and car. There is a small gravel road leading up to the tower – keep your eyes open for a small green sign saying Brännklintstornet.
Don’t forget to check out the other places of interest on the Åland Islands here >>