Helsinki, Les Lumieres

Les Lumières, Cultural Festival of the Enlightenment
Les Lumières, Valistusajan Kulttuurifestivaali
Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress, Helsinki


Geographical, cultural and historical context

Suomenlinna is an inhabited sea fortress (one of the biggest of its kind in the world) built on a group of six islands (Kustaanmiekka, Susisaari, Iso-Mustasaari, Pikku-Mustasaari, Länsi-Mustasaari and Långören) and located off the coast of Helsinki, the capital and largest city of Finland, lying on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, an arm of the Baltic Sea. Suomenlinna was founded in 1748 by Augustin Ehrensvärd (1710-1772 AD), a Swedish military officer, architect and artist. The fortress, which was built on a cluster of rocky skerries guarding the city harbor and consists of an irregular network of bastions, served as a strategic maritime stronghold for three countries: Sweden, Russia, and then Finland. During the Russian occupation era, the fortress was extended both towards the sea and on the mainland. Suomenlinna sea fortress has then played a key role in many turning points in Finland’s history, and has been also included in the UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1991 as an outstanding example representative of the general fortification principles of the 18th century European military architecture.


Event description and programme

Every year the Cultural Festival of the Enlightenment bring to life the cultural atmosphere of Finland of the 18th century. The Suomenlinna Maritime Fortress was once the gateway for all the poetry, theatre, philosophy, music, fashion and food culture that arrived on Finland’s shores. Les Lumières brings together musicians, composers, actors, dancers, historians and researchers at Suomenlinna, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and historical buildings in the centre of Helsinki. Each event is held as a short play that combines music and text. The famous baroque dancers and musicians create the authentic atmosphere of the period, and the 18-century ball Fêtes Galantes, hosted by Count and Countess portrayed by actors, brings together the outstanding performers, choreographers, dramaturges and composers in a spectacular display of the noble entertainment. Special atelier for princes and princesses is also be held for the visitors, who will get to learn about the French court and paint watercolours and pastels in the 18th-century style.

Please contact the Organizers for confirmation and further details.

Info & Contact

Location: Helsinki, Finland (various locations)

Les Lumières, Cultural Festival of the Enlightenment / Artistic director: Marja Rumpunen
Tel.: +358 509113849

Image: Les Lumières
Text sources: Les Lumières, Wikipedia


Suomenlinna-Helsinki on Google Maps:



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