Hamina (Swedish: Fredrikshamn) is a Finnish city located on the
coast of Kymenlaakso province. The population is 20,048 (June 30,
2020). Hamina belongs to the Kotka-Hamina region. The neighboring
municipalities are Kotka, Kouvola (Anjalankoski until 2008),
Luumäki, Miehikkälä and Virolahti.
Founded in 1653, Hamina is the oldest town in Kymenlaakso. The center of Hamina is zoned in a rare circular pattern dating from the 1720s. The city is also called the Circular City because of the rare town plan of the city center. There are only a few cities in the world with similar circular station patterns, the most famous of which is Palmanova in Italy. The current city of Hamina was born on January 1, 2003, when the former city of Hamina and the municipality of Vehkalahti merged. Since 2011, the Port of Hamina has been part of the Port of Hamina-Kotka, which is the largest public port in Finland.
Hamina belongs to the southern coastal region of
Finland's landscape provinces, which is further divided into the
coastal region of the Gulf of Finland near the coast and the inland
southeastern agricultural region. The bedrock is mostly rapa rock.
The most significant rivers flowing in the city are the Summanjoki and Vehkajoki, which flow from the south of Salpausselä to the Gulf of Finland. The stems of the rivers have been cleared as arable land. There are small lakes especially in the northern and northeastern part, including Kannusjärvi, Piutulanjärvi, Valkjärvi and Vehkjärvi. The coastal area is lake-free, with the exception of Kirkkojärvi, which is a former bay that stretches from the Gulf of Finland. Vehkajoki also flows into the sea through Kirkkojärvi and its downstream Salmenvirta. The center of Hamina is located on a peninsula between Hamina Bay, Lupine Bay, Kirkkojärvi and Salmenvirta. Lupine Bay, Kirkkojärvi and Salminlahti on the Kotka border are significant bird water areas. Rajasuo, located in the eastern part of Hamina, is a valuable, almost natural bog area.
The most significant of the islands are Kuorsalo and Tammio. The Outer Archipelago belongs to the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park.
Hamina's mother keeper Vehkalahti is first mentioned in documents in 1336. The central area of Vehkalahti, located on the site of the present city on the peninsula bordered by Savilahti, Salmenvirta and Kirkkojärvi, consisted of three villages: Pampyöl, Hietakylä and Hirvelä. This village group also included a church and a rectory. In the mid-16th century, there were almost thirty farms in this division of Pampyöl, but wars and losses led to a decline in peasant settlement in the 17th century. The church village of Vehkalahti was detached from the parish and received city rights in 1653 under the name Veckelax Nystad, Uusikaupunki in Vehkalahti. However, the city did not prosper well and was burned and destroyed in the Great Northern War of 1712.
When Sweden lost the Vyborg New Town in peace in 1721, a new trading and fortification city was needed on the eastern border. According to King Fredrik I, the name of the destroyed New Town of Vehkalahti was changed to Fredrikshamn, or Hamina in Finnish, in 1723, and it inherited the rights of vyborg. The city was rebuilt and fortified between 1722 and 1724 according to a strict military circular station plan.
During the Hat War, the retreating Swedish army burned the city in 1742. In 1743, Hamina moved to Russia in the peace of Turku, and the German form Friedrichshafen was used as the name of the city. On the Swedish side, Loviisa was established as a new border and fortress city, which inherited Hamina's right of way and to which some of Hamina's Swedish-speaking residents moved. From 1743 to 1812, a Lutheran consistory (Diocese of Hamina) operated in Hamina, whose task was to take care of the ecclesiastical conditions of the area handed over to Russia in the peace of Turku.
In 1809, the Peace of Hamina was signed in the city, in which Sweden ceded the territory of Finland to Russia. In 1812, Hamina returned to Finland, along with the rest of Vyborg County. The city suffered substantial damage in the 1821 fire. Hamina Cadet School was founded in 1819. It ceased to exist in 1903, but the Reserve Officer School began operating in the same premises after independence in 1920. Its 178th Reserve Officer Course has been renamed the Hamina Course. The name Hamina also appears in the Hamina-class missile boat in Hamina.
The founding of the city of Kotka in the 1870s weakened Hamina financially. To compete with Kotka, Hamina built the outer harbor of Tervasaari and a private railway (Hamina line) from the Kotka – Kouvola line. However, Hamina lost its position as the leading city in its region to the rapidly growing and industrialized Kotka.
Vehkalahti and Hamina merged at the beginning of 2003. Since the city of Hamina was founded on the site of the Vehkalahti church village at the time, the municipality did not have a separate municipal center, but the Vehkalahti church and municipal office were located in the center of Hamina. This was the main reason for the municipal association. In the municipal association, the name was Hamina and the coat of arms was Vehkalahti. Hamina's old boat coat of arms was re-introduced from the beginning of 2013.