Ivan’s Island

So I and my summer Volvo have ended up on a narrow and very bad dirt road. And when I say the road was bad, it was bad. The brake pads on one of the back wheels were loose, and the poor thing was making an awful noise in all the dents of the road.

This time we’re going to explore a location, which is actually a less known tourist attraction. I was on this exploration with a couple of friends, and they wanted to visit Iivanansaari (Ivan’s island).

This is the place and it’s a bit difficult to explain what this actually is, but I’ll try. It’s a tomb and also a perfect copy of a cell in the now demolished Shpalernaya prison in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Now what the hell?

Jussi Reinikainen was a local guy running an inn in Vyborg in the 1910’s. He was recruiting Finnish independence fighters, charged for treason and locked up in Shpalernaya. He was given a death sentence, but the restlesness during the communist revolution allowed him to escape and return home.

He became a business man and a farmer, who served in the Finnish army during the second world war. In the late 1950’s he attended a meeting of former Jägers, who discussed building memorials. And he decided to build a perfect, 1:1 copy of his cell in the Shpalernaya on his island.

The building was completed in 1960 and Reinikainen used it as his fishing hut until 1969, when he died. He was cremated in Helsinki, and his remains were transported to the island, where they remain to this day. The door to the cell has been welded shut and you can’t actually enter it. But You can look through the door.

At the end of the dirt road there’s a rowboat, which you can borrow to get to the island. The place can be found on maps.

So it is indeed a 1:1 copy of the cell apart from the concrete pillars in the middle. The remains of Mr. Reinikainen are in the casket.

A view to the cell from the other side. Sorry for the bad light, I had to use a flash.

For some reason there’s a lion on the roof of the tomb.

And a metallic cross. This pretty much is a unique way of burying a person in Finland.

In reality the place is just a bunker on an island.

There’s even a board, which tells the history of the place.

The island is only accessible by a rowboat. The other oar was broken, so I rowed with one and my friend paddled with the other. We made it back and forth.

On a grey, rainy day, the place was extremely beautiful. Luckily rain stopped right when we started our trip to the island.

Published by desertedfinland

A Finnish Urban explorer & Photographer

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