Course of the Saimaa Canal
|Length||42.9 km (27 mi)|
|Maximum boat length||82.5 m (271 ft)|
|Maximum boat beam||12.6 m (41 ft)|
|Minimum boat draft||4.35 m (14.3 ft)|
|Minimum boat air draft||24.5 m (80 ft)|
|Start point||lake Saimaa, Finland|
|End point||Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia|
The Saimaa Canal (Finnish: Saimaan kanava; Swedish: Saima kanal; Russian: Сайменский канал) is a transportation canal that connects lake Saimaa with the Gulf of Finland near Vyborg, Russia. The canal was built from 1845 to 1856 and opened on 7 September 1856 (Old Style: 26 August 1856). It was overhauled and widened in 1963–1968.
A system of inland waterways and canals in the 120 interconnected lakes of the south-central and south-east part of Finland (Finnish Lakeland) are reached through the canal. The network of deep channels in Lake Saimaa with at least a draught of 4.2 metres (14 ft) covers 814 kilometres (506 mi). The deep channels extend all the way to Kuopio in Central Finland.
The canal begins near Lauritsala, Lappeenranta, Finland ( ) and ends in Vyborg, Russia ( ), connecting Lake Saimaa and the Vyborg Bay. On the way, it connects Lake Nuijamaa, on the Finnish–Russian border ( ), and three smaller lakes in Russia.
- Length: 42.9 km (26.7 mi)
- Finnish part: 23.3 km (14.5 mi)
- Russian part: 19.6 km (12.2 mi)
- Width: from 34 to 55 m (112 to 180 ft)
- Total lift from the Gulf of Finland to Lake Saimaa: 75.7 m (248 ft)
- The maximum dimensions allowed for a ship transiting the canal are:
- 217 boundary pillars between Canal Rented Zone and main territory of Russia.
There are three locks in the Finnish part of the canal
- Mälkiä ( )
- Mustola ( )
- Soskua ( )
Other five locks situated on the Russian side of the border:
- Pälli ( )
- Ilyistoye (former Lietjärvi) ( )
- Tsvetochnoye (former Rättijärvi) )
- Iskrovka (former Särkijärvi) ( )
- Brusnichnoye (former Juustila) ( )
Mälkiä Lock has highest lift (12.4 m (41 ft)), Tsvetochnoye Lock has the lowest (5.5 m (18 ft)).
The canal crosses
- 12 motor vehicles bridges:
- 6 of them in Finland – 3 movable and 3 immovable
- the other 6 in Russia – 4 movable and 2 immovable
- 2 railroad bridges (one on the each side of the border), both of them are immovable.
Finland obtained a 50 year lease on the Soviet part of the canal and Maly Vysotsky Island (Ravansaari) in 1963. Finland constructed a deeper 42.9 kilometres (26.7 mi) canal, which opened in 1968. The annual rent during this lease raised only once.
Finland obtained a second 50 year lease from Russia, starting in 2013, in 2010. Maly Vysotsky was not included in the new lease. Negotiations in 2008 raised the annual rent from €290000 to €1.22 million, with revisions every 10 years. The new agreement went into effect on 17 February 2012.
Regulations pertaining to maritime rules and employment of canal staff fall under Finnish jurisdiction; in all other cases Russian laws apply. Passports are required at the international boundaries, but Russian visas are not required for just passing through the canal.
- "Russian-Finnish agreement on the lease of Saimaa Canal ratified". President of Russia. 20 Nov 2011. Retrieved 27 April 2019.
Media related to Saimaa Canal at Wikimedia Commons