Hanko (Hangö)


Hanko (Swedish: Hangö) is the southernmost city in Finland, located on the coast of the Gulf of Finland in Uusimaa. The location of the city is very maritime at the tip of Hankoniemi, surrounded by the sea in three directions. Hanko is characterized by seashores and especially sandy beaches, which are more than 30 kilometers from the city.

The city is bilingual. 52.3 per cent of the inhabitants have Finnish as their mother tongue and 42.9 per cent Swedish.



Hanko is located in southwestern Uusimaa, 127 kilometers west of Helsinki and 145 kilometers southeast of Turku. The nearest neighboring town is Raseborg 35 kilometers northeast.

The sea surrounds Hanko on three sides, so the land border is only a few kilometers from the city of Raseborg. The city's neighboring municipalities are Kemiönsaari and Raseborg. Hanko is the southernmost municipality in mainland Finland.

Due to its location, the climate in Hanko is mild and maritime, and the temperature fluctuations are small in Finnish. The average annual temperature was 6.0 ° C during the period 1981–2010 [8]. There are a few small lakes and ponds in the Hanko area, such as Sandöträsket, Skogbyträsket and Österfjärden. There are several ponds on Russarö Island south of the city center, including Lemmenlampi. In addition to Russarö, the Hanko sea area has numerous smaller islands and rugged rock islets. The distance to the northwest coast of Estonia is about 70 kilometers.

Hanko Center (Hangö Centrum), Hangon Village (Hangöby) and Hanko North (Hangö Norra).

Towns and villages
Henriksberg, Koverhar, Krogars, Tvärminne, Täktom, Lappohja (Lappvik), Santala (Sandö) and Öby.

Occasional loose finds from the Viking and Crusades have been made in Hanko, but no cemeteries. Hanko is first mentioned in a Danish itinerary written in Tallinn in the mid-13th century under its old Finnish name Kumionpää (Cumiupe) and in Latin as Hangethe. Niemenkärki had already been an important stopping place for sailing ships, which had to wait for more favorable winds sometimes for weeks.

The Swedes made a so-called second crusade against the people of Häme in the middle of the 13th century. The colonization of the Swedish Uusimaa after the war also brought immigrants to Hanko. This is how the Swedish-language nomenclature of the region began. In the 15th century, the tip of Tulliniemi began to be used as a harbor in Hanko, in front of which is the Hauensuoli, a narrow, winding strait between the Gambla Tullen and Kobben islets. There, the sailors made rock drawings as their time went by. Hauensole has 650 known old rock carvings, the oldest of which are from the 16th century. Many are autographs and other markings submitted by sailors, such as pictures and coats of arms, and among them are also markings left by celebrities who have visited the site. The outer port of Hanko and the Freeport of Finland are located in Tulliniemi.

After the Swedish army was destroyed in the Great Northern War in Poltava in 1709, the conquest of Finland was prevented only by the navy assembled in front of Hankoniemi. Russia defeated the Swedish navy in 1714 at the Battle of Riilahti under Peter the Great, the first victory of the Russian navy. In honor of the victory in the battle, several Russian battleships were later renamed "Gangut". The events were repeated in 1743.

In 1747, Augustin Ehrensvärd planned to arm Hanko with artillery batteries. However, due to lack of funds, the fortification work was not done.

When the Russian navy, led by James Trevenen, arrived for the third time in front of the defenseless Hankoniemi in August 1780, the brother of the King of Sweden, Duke Charles, finally issued a building order. Major G. Hans von Kierting, later nobleman Wärnhjelm, completed his plan in January 1789.

In 1789–1808, a fortress was built on the rocks in front of Hankoniemi, which was taken over by the Russians in 1808 during the Finnish War. The fort defended the port of Hanko meritoriously during the Crimean War in the summer of 1854, but in August 1854 the fortress was blown up by the garrison for fear of the fate of Bomarsund in Åland.

The location and shape of Hankoniemi as a long finger protruding into the Baltic Sea, enabled winter shipping even when other ports in the country were closed due to the ice situation. For this reason, a port and a railway to Hyvinkää were built on the peninsula in 1871–1873 with the aim of securing transports to St. Petersburg during the winter.

With the port and the railway, the city of Hanko was founded in 1874, because foreign trade was allowed only in tapapolis.

A spa was established in the city in 1879. In the early 20th century, Hanko was a lively spa town. A restaurant building was built in the city for the spa guests of the Hanko Casino; villas, i.e. villas and boarding houses for wealthy Russians, who arrived for the summer by train and ship.


A considerable industrial area grew in the northern part of Hanko from the 1880s. The most famous of its companies is probably the Finnish-English Biscuittehdas Oy, later Hanko Keksi - Hangö Kex, whose factory buildings date back to 1916. Another significant company has been the Hanko glass factory, founded in 1934, whose factory building is from the same period.

Hanko was a major city during the First World War. In August 1914, the Russians blew up some port equipment and the railway machine shop, fearing the arrival of the Germans, but Captain Wikström, Hanko's customs officer, was stopped. From 1914 to 1918, Hanko operated only as a port of war. On April 3, 1918, the German Baltic Division, commanded by General Rüdiger von der Goltz, landed in Hanko at the invitation of the Svinhufvud Independence Senate and began to proceed to Helsinki, which was conquered on April 13, 1918.

Hanko and its nearby islands were fortified by the Hanko Coastal Battery (HanRPsto), a part of the Coastal Artillery. It operated in various configurations from 1921 and was abolished in 2002.

During World War II in 1940, Hankoniemi and its cities were leased to the Soviet Union as a military base under the terms of the Winter War. More than 30,000 soldiers from the Soviet Union moved to the peninsula between 1940 and 1941. Many expired trenches, bunkers and artillery stations can still be seen from the base today. In the early stages of the Continuation War, numerous small-scale but bloody battles were fought in Hankoniemi and its archipelago. In the fall of 1941, the Hanko base had fallen far behind the front and the Soviet Union decided to evacuate its people to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). The evacuation of troops began at the end of October, and the last evacuation ship left Hanko on December 2, 1941.

At the beginning of 1977, the villages of Santala and Täktom from the municipality of Bromarv and Lappohja from Tenhola and the rural municipality of Tvärminne from Ekenäs were connected to Hanko. The part of the municipality of Bromarv located in Hankoniemi had already been decided to separate Hanko as a rural municipality in 1909, but in practice this never functioned as an independent municipality.