Digital Atlas of Vyborg



The Digital Atlas of Vyborg was created as part of the Finnish-Russian research project entitled Meanings of an Urban Space, Past and Present. Funded by the Academy of Finland, the project is part of a multidisciplinary research programme, The Human Mind. The digital atlas will be continuously updated and supplemented with new information by the Historical Atlas of Vyborg research project, which is funded by the Karelian Cultural Foundation.

The maps are freely accessible online in three languages: English, Finnish and Russian. Choose the language in which you want to access the site from above. Go to the digital atlas from the link at the bottom of the page.

The application is interactive and different layers can be viewed individually or in combination. In addition to the information contained in the digitized maps, interesting buildings, streets and squares are marked with icons (pins) on the map. Click on the icon to see the image and information about the requested location.

Below the history of Vyborg and the sources and methods used to create the atlas are briefly described.

The technical implementation of the atlas was done by Antti Härkönen MA. The atlas texts were written by Professor Kimmo Katajala and Antti Härkönen MA, with the English translation by Dr Kate Sotejeff-Wilson and the Russian translation by Adjunct Professor Yury Shikalov.

History of Vyborg in a Nutshell

The town of Vyborg has a rich and eventful history. During the Middle Ages, the town took shape on a rocky cape near the castle, which was founded by the Swedes on a small island at the end of the 13th century. The town was surrounded by walls in the 1470s, and the fortifications around these were extended in the second half of the 16th century.

As the border of the Kingdom of Sweden moved further east in the early 17th century, the town became more of a commercial and administrative than a military centre. This peaceful period came to an end with the war in the early 18th century, when work started on rebuilding and repairing the town fortifications. The Russian army conquered the town in 1710 The Russian army conquered the town in 1710, and, along with the rest of the area ceded from Sweden known as Old Finland, it was annexed to the Russian Empire. Vyborg became a Russian garrison town.

Shortly after Finland was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1809, Old Finland and Vyborg combined into the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland. At the end of the century, Vyborg grew rapidly to become what was then Finland’s second largest town. When Finland became independent in 1917, Vyborg was developed a modern Finnish town, until the Second World War, when Vyborg and the whole Karelian Isthmus were transferred to the Soviet Union. Vyborg’s entire population changed, as new settlers came from all over the Soviet Union. During the Soviet era, Vyborg became a provincial border town.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, in the new Russia, new buildings were constructed in Vyborg and the Old Town was partially restored, but many of the old buildings remain in poor condition. Nevertheless, Vyborg has very rich townscape, since all the historical phases described above are visible in the structure and architecture of the city centre.


The maps were created using geographic information system (GIS) software. Firstly, the digital maps were georeferenced: they are located with coordinates based on the places they describe. Then, the maps are vectorized: the objects shown on them, such as buildings, roads, or plots of land, are transferred to a simpler format which is easier to analyse. All the main vectors are located on the map application Esri ArcGIS Online.


This website shows the historical phases of the town of Vyborg on a map, using GIS technology. The following maps were used as sources for the presentation:

RA (Swedish National Archives), ut.känd prov. 439 (1637/1638).

RA, ut. känd prov. 440 & 441 (1640).

KrA (Military Archives of Sweden), Utländska kartor, stads- och fästningsplaner, Finland, Viborg 17 (1704).

RGADA (Russian State Archive of Ancient Documents), F. 248 Op. 160 D. 246 L. 213 & F. 248 Op. 160 D. 245 L. 156 (1738).

KrA, Utländska kartor, Stads- och fästningsplaner, Finland, Viborg 33 (1742).

KA DA (Digital Archives of the National Archives of Finland), Viipurin kuvernementinhallitus II, Ia:1, 4 (1802).

KA DA, Viipuri Ivi* 27 (1820).

KK (National Library of Finland), Gyldènin kaupunkikartat 1837-1843, Wiborg (1839).

MMA (Provincial Archives of Mikkeli), Viipurin insinöörikomennuskunnan linnoitus- ja rakennuspiirrustukset 7:11 (1878).

KA, VKP-2/6:41 (1909).

KK, III.5.b/91 (1930).


The photographs were taken by Kimmo Katajala, unless a different source is cited for an image. The following books were used as sources for the texts accompanying the photographs:

Böök, N. (ed.), Common Heritage: The multicultural heritage of Vyborg and its preservation (2014).

Kauppi, U.-R. & Miltsik, M., Viipuri: Vanhan Suomen pääkaupunki (1993).

Katajala, K. (ed.), Meanings of an Urban Space: Understanding the Historical Layers of Vyborg (2016).

Muisko, A. S., Arhitektura Viborga v epohy moderna (2014).

Muisko, A. S., Arhitektura Viborga erii Funktsionalisma (2014).

Neuvonen, P., Viipuri. Rakennusperinnön seitsemän vuosisataa (2008).

Suomen kaupunkirakentamisen historia, osat I–II (2014).

Viipurin kaupungin historia, osat II–III (1974–1975).

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