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The Saimaa Canal

The Saimaa Canal connects the Saimaa water area Saimaa Lakeland from Lappeenranta to the Gulf of Finland via Vyborg in Russia. Its total length is 43km and the average drop between Saimaa Lakeland and the Gulf of Finland is 75.7 metres. The canal has eight locks, and there are seven draw bridges and six other bridges crossing the canal.

First attempts to connect Saimaa Lakeland to the sea date back to the 16th century, but the construction for the first Saimaa canal did not start until in 1845 with the greatest construction work in Finland at the time. The canal was inaugurated in 1856, and it instantly fulfilled all expectations and became a tourist attraction.

Because of busy traffic the capacity of the canal began to reach its peak in the 20th century. In the peak year 1923 as many as 13,000 vessels went through with over million tons of cargo. The second construction phase was started in 1927, but it was interrupted because of the war. After the war, the canal remained partly on the Russian territory. The third construction phase began in 1963, when the canal width had to be increased to accommodate larger ships. The canal operating today was inaugurated in 5th of August, 1968.






Links:

The Finnish Maritime Administration
Wikipedia - Saimaan kanava
Lappeenranta