1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Viborg (Finland)

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
25697731911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Viborg (Finland)

VIBORG (Finnish Viipuri), capital of a province of the same name in Finland, is situated at the head of the Bay of Viborg in the Gulf of Finland, at the mouth of the Saima Canal and on the railway which connects St Petersburg with Helsingfors. Population of the town (1904) 34,672, of the province 458,269. The Saima Canal (37 m. long), a fine engineering work, connects with the sea Lake Saima—the principal lake of Finland, 249 ft. above sea-level—and a series of others, including Puruvesi, Orivesi, Höytiänen and Kallavesi, all of which are navigated by steamers, as far north as Iisalmi in 63° 30′ N. lat. Viborg is thus the seaport of Karelia and eastern Savolaks, with the towns of Vilmanstrand (2393 inhabitants in 1904), St Michel (3933), Myslott (2687), Kuopio (13,519) and Iisalmi, with their numerous saw-mills and iron-works. Viborg stands most picturesquely on the glaciated and dome-shaped granite hills surrounding the bay, which is protected at its entrance by the naval station of Björkö and at its head by several forts. The castle of Viborg, built in 1293 by Marshal Torkel Knutson, was the first centre for the spread of Christianity in Karelia, and for establishing the power of Sweden; it is now used as a prison. Its lofty and elegant tower has fallen into decay. The court-house (1839), the town-house, the gymnasium (1641; with an excellent library), and the museum arc among the principal buildings of the city. There are also a lyceum and two higher schools for girls, a school of navigation and several primary schools, both public and private, a literary and an agricultural society, and several benevolent institutions. There are foundries, machine works and saw-mills, and a considerable export of timber and wood products. The coasting trade is also considerable.

The environs are most picturesque and are visited by many tourists in the summer. The park of Monrepos (Old Viborg), in a bay dotted with dome-shaped islands, is specially attractive. The scenery of the Saima Canal and of the Finnish lakes with the grand ås of Pungaharju; the Imatra rapids, by which the Vuoksen discharges the water of Lake Saima into Lake Ladoga, with the castle of Kexholm at its mouth; Serdobol and Valamo monastery on Lake Ladoga—all visited from Viborg—attract many tourists from St Petersburg as well as from other parts of Finland.