Savonlinna (Swedish: Nyslott, literally Newcastle, Russian: Нейшлот, Neishlott during 18th and 19th centuries. The Finnish name means Castle of Savonia.) is a town and a municipality of 27,742 (31 October 2010) inhabitants in the southeast of Finland, in the heart of the Saimaa lake region.
The city was founded in 1639, based on Olavinlinna. The castle was founded by Erik Axelsson Tott in 1475 in an effort to protect Savonia and to control the unstable border between the Kingdom of Sweden and its Russian adversary. During the Russo-Swedish War (1741–1743), the castle was captured by Field-Marshal Peter Lacy. It was held by Russia between 1743 and 1812, when it was granted back to Finland as a part of the "Old Finland".
This town is 335 kilometres (208 mi) away from the capital of Helsinki by road, some four hours away by train. There is an airport in the town, and the journey to Helsinki takes 40–60 minutes by plane. It is built on a chain of islands located throughout a number of large lakes.
In 1973 the municipality of Sääminki was consolidated with Savonlinna. In the beginning of year 2009 the municipality of Savonranta and a 31.24 km2 (12.06 sq mi) land strip from Enonkoski between Savonlinna and Savonranta were consolidated with Savonlinna.
University of Joensuu has a campus in Savonlinna, primarily for teacher education.
The city hosts the famous annual Savonlinna Opera Festival. The operas are performed on a stage built inside the castle. It also has hosted the Mobile Phone Throwing World Championships annually since 2000.
The ice hockey team of Savonlinna, SaPKo or Savonlinnan Pallokerho, is playing in the second tier Mestis. Notable SaPKo alumni include Jarmo Myllys, Ville Leino, Tuukka Rask and Hannu Aravirta.
The top-tier volleyball team Saimaa Volley plays some of its home matches in Savonlinna. The football team Savonlinnan Työväen Palloseura (STPS), is playing in Kolmonen, the fourth tier.
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