Bomarsund Museum

The year was 1854. Bomarsund’s mighty fortress stood there, not yet completed. With only the main bastion and a few of the planned 15 towers erected, as well as fragments of the imposing ramparts, this fortress would serve as a shield for the Russian Empire against its western antagonists. Since 1830, Russian engineers and workers had been stubbornly working on this formidable defense complex.

But on August 8, the turning point came. A powerful army of 12,000 French and British soldiers was landed on the beaches around Bomarsund. At the same time, a section of the Baltic Fleet, consisting of about 40 warships, anchored in a tactical formation in the form of a semicircle in Lumpar Bay, just a stone’s throw from Bomarsund. This day would be the starting point for one of Åland’s most extensive military clashes.

Jakob (Jakov) Andrejevitsch Bodisco
Jakob (Jakov) Andrejevitsch Bodisco

At dawn, at four o’clock on August 13, the French troops charged. Under the protection of an incessant cannon fire from the ships, the Brännklint Tower was the first target, closely followed by the Notvik Tower. Fierce and tireless fighting raged for several days. But on August 16, when Russian Major General Jakob (Yakov) Andrejevitsch Bodisco realized the inevitable—that further fighting would only lead to even more unnecessary bloodshed—the white flag flew over the fortress. The remaining Russian garrison were taken as prisoners of war and brought aboard Allied ships. Not long after that, Bomarsund’s fortress was demolished by the victors, but even today the scars on the granite testify to the power of the fierce cannon fire.

Peace returned to the region when the Peace of Paris was signed in 1856. In the shadow of the devastating defeat at Åland, Russia was forced to agree that Åland would become a demilitarized zone – a place where neither troops nor military installations would gain a foothold. This agreement is still in effect and is just as relevant today!

Today, Bomarsund boasts a modern museum, where a rich collection of objects and film screenings await visitors. Don’t miss this historic experience!

More info:
Bomarsund’s website »
Bomarsund Fortress »

Text: Björn Pettersson
Photo: Nina Grankvist

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