Events in Hanko
The Hangon Regatta has been a traditional fixture on the Finnish social scene, and is the major summer event in Hanko. Sailing enthusiasts attend in order to compete, as well as mostly young people who have very little or no interest in sailing, and attend only in order to party and drink. The latter constitute the "Regatta tail", not appreciated by most of the town's residents, and which causes huge expenses for clean-up of the parks and streets.
Other traditional summer activities are the "Tennis Week", the "Sea Horse" riding competitions, and the "Summer Theatre" events. Several sandy beaches and a multitude of leisure harbors attract tourists during the summer months.
History of Hanko
The emigrants' memorial statueThe site was already known by sailors in the 15th century. Petroglyphs from that time are carved into the rock at the "Hauensuoli" island.
Hanko has a long history of wars and battles. The Battle of Gangut between Swedish and Russian navies was fought in 1714 in the archipelago north of the peninsula. The battle was the first-ever victory of the Russian regular fleet. The fortification works on the Hanko Peninsula had already been started by the end of the 18th century, when the Swedish constructed three separate forts on the outlying islands. The forts were later bombarded by the Royal Navy during the Crimean War and they were eventually blown up during the hostilities by their own defenders.
The city was founded in 1874, soon after the Hanko-Hyvinkää railway was inaugurated in 1872. The Imperial Charter for the city was granted by Tsar Alexander II.
Hanko was the port of choice for emigrants leaving Finland for a new life in North America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A memorial statue, showing birds in flight, commemorates this.
In the late 1800s, while Finland was still a Grand Duchy under Russia, Hanko was a popular spa resort for the Russian nobility. Some of the buildings from that period survive, notably the Hanko Casino (which is not a gambling establishment, but a former banquet hall of the spa). It is nowadays a restaurant.
Field Marshal C. G. Mannerheim owned a café, "Neljän Tuulen Tupa" ("The House of the Four Winds") which still is very popular among tourists and residents alike.
The Bengtskär lighthouse is the highest one (52 meters) in the Nordic countries. It is situated to the south of Hanko. It was built in 1906 and it is the first lighthouse museum in Finland.
A number of ferries operated up until 2006 between Hanko and Rostock in Germany.